Like Yossarian, Lt. Fish sought a medical diagnosis of mental instability in order to ground himself. Such a diagnosis, "aero-anxiety" was received from Dr. Marino, but would this be enough to get Lt. Fish home? Click image to read this post.
"Finito" was how Lt. Fish opened and closed the entry for his 60th mission. With the mission limit was set at 60, this should have been his last. However, later that month the mission limit was again increased by 5, making Fish weary he'd ever be allowed to go home, and leading him to seek alternative ways out. Read full post by clicking image above.
Knowing the risks that would be faced over Bologna, Yossarian takes every effort he can think of to avoid having to fly there. Similarly, Lt. Fish also found a way to avoid the Bologna missions. Click on image to read this post.
Avignon is described as "the mission on which Yossarian lost his nerve." Lieutenants Heller and Fish flew in the same formation on August 15, 1944 on a mission to Avignon that prompted Heller to later state "after Avignon, all I wanted to do was go home." Click on picture for to read further.
Three key missions are used in Catch-22 to plot Yossarian's journey as he morphs from gung-ho soldier to realizing his officers may never let him leave and actively seeking another way out. The Ferrara missions are during the time when Yossarian fully dedicates himself to carrying out the military's objectives. Click image to read more.
Joseph Heller clearly stated exactly which aspects of Yossarian were from his own experiences, and which aspects were not. As he says, “…Yossarian’s emotions, Yossarian’s reaction to the war in the squadron were not those I experienced when I was overseas". Click image to read more.
I began to wonder...if my grandfather's circle of friends inspired some of the characters, could my grandfather have also inspired a character in Catch-22's broad supporting cast? Heller stated that fellow comrade Francis Yohannan only provided the name for Yossarian and that "the rest of Yossarian is the incarnation of a wish.”
Francis Yohannan owned a pet cocker spaniel he bought in Rome, which became Huple’s cat in the novel...in order “to protect its identity”. Click on image to read more.
Asked how he conceived of Catch-22, Joseph Heller mostly stuck to a similar answer as he gave George Plimpton when interviewed by the Paris Review in 1974...
Catch-22 opens with a curious disclosure right before the dedication page stating: "The island of Pianosa lies in the Mediterranean Sea eight miles south of Elba. It is very small and obviously could not accommodate all of the actions described. Like the setting of this novel, the characters too, are fictitious.” Click image to read more...