By Lindsey Wallace, Period 3
Differences in Theme:
- In the novel, Yossarian, the main character feels strongly against flying more missions because he does not want to confront his fate so he tries to avoid this ultimate reality. This is an important idea because we all want to find ways of extending our life span but death is something inescapable and unavoidable. We simply have to deal with it: there is no way out. However, this key issue was not expressed in Mike Nichols' film and which is important because this idea gives insight to Yossarian's character and the reasons behind his actions.
- Catch-22 is expressed as a paradox in the novel but was only merely mentioned as a phrase in the movie which completely changes the story line because the entire novel is written around the whole "Catch-22" predicament that Yossarian finds himself in in.
Differences in Plot & Tone:
- At the end of the novel, Yossarian leaves the hospital, deciding to flee the Air Corp and had to Sweden so he is described to "walk into the distance". However, in the movie, Yossarian jumps out of a window, starts running on the beach, and eventually starts paddling a life boat to Sweden. This whole ending scene was played out almost comedically as if it were to leave the audience feeling a tone of lightheartedness and comedic relief after the previous gore. Unfortunately, Heller wrote the ending in an impending serious manner and this was not translated into the movie.
- Mike Nichols' film was above about a hellish war. It seemed to be completely catered to the entertainment of the audience and less about what actually was found in the true plot line which was frustrating to see because it strayed from the novel in that aspect.
- The movie also exaggerated Yossarian's madness quite a bit and truly portrayed him as a man that had gone crazy when in reality, he was completely sane and acting that way on purpose. The reasons behind his actions would have been explained in the novel. If a person were to view the movie without even reading the book, they would have a completely different perception of Yossarian than what was intended.