16 October 2009

An innocent victim of circumstance

Captain John Joseph Yossarian of the 256th Squadron of the US Army, stationed in Pianosa in Italy in the Second World War, was a man who was cursed with common sense in a time and place where nonsense and absurdity reigned supreme. Consider this conversation with one of his fellow officers, Clevinger:
'They're trying to kill me,' Yossarian told him calmly.
'No one's trying to kill you,' Clevinger cried.
'Then why are they shooting at me?' Yossarian asked.
'They're shooting at everyone,' Clevinger answered. 'They're trying to kill everyone.'
'And what difference does that make?'
Yossarian spends his days trying as hard as possible to stay as far away as possible from the people who want to kill him. If that means that the bomber plane he flies in drops its bombs in the Adriatic Sea, he's perfectly fine with that.
Fortunately for Yossarian, some people around him agree with him on the important point that people are, in fact, trying to kill him, but unfortunately for Yossarian, those people are not the people who can get him out of this war. The only way to get out of it (other than getting killed), as far as Yossarian knows, is to be insane. But there's a catch: men who are insane would never want to leave the army, as it is the perfect place for them. Everything Yossarian experiences confirms this idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment