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Why Not Catch-21?

The Stories Behind The Titles

Gary Dexter


Yossarian looked at him soberly and tried another approach. "Is Orr crazy?"
"He sure is" Doc Daneeka said.
Can you ground him?"
"I sure can. But first he has to ask me. That's part of the rule."
"And then you can ground him?" Yossarian asked.
"No. Then I can't ground him."
"You mean there's a catch?"
"Sure there's a catch." Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."

More books on Mind

Joseph Heller wrote whole book as Catch-18, but just before it was due to be published, best-selling author Leon Uris came out with Mila 18, also about World War 2. So Heller had to change. But in the end 22 fitted the book better, because the double digits emphasised one of the book's major themes of duplication and repetition. (Characters come in pairs, episodes are told and retold - idea being that reality always has at least two sides - nothing free of ambiguity).

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The play is about an educated and articulate couple named George and Martha who's disintegrating marriage is played out in front of dinner guests. The title was a major part of play's success. It started out as Exorcism with WAOVW? as just a line in the play. Edward Albee explained that it meant "Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? who's afraid to live life without delusions?" In the case of George and Martha, their main delusion is that they have a pretend son, but who is never to be mentioned in company. After being humiliated and lacerated by his ball-breaking wife, George takes his revenge by 'killing' him off. They both must live without their delusion.

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