Catch22 and My antonia contrast
Perhaps the most directly conflicting characters in Catch-22 and in My
Antonia are Colonel Cathcart and Antonia. Both of these characters are ambitious
and each sees a road that runs ahead toward something called success or
wealth, but the roads that they see are constructed differently. Colonel
Cathcarts road is paved with feathers in his cap and it is not cratered
with black eyes. Antonias road is paved with the results of hard work
and it sometimes has potholes they are due to her inability to see the bad in
The underpavings of the roads of the two people are quite different as well.
Colonel Cathcarts road is built on a foundation of the unreasonable, and
sometimes irrational, demands that he can place on those serving under him in
order to please General Dreedle. The constant in creases in the number of
required missions and his planning of useless missions which he believes will
demonstrate what a good job we are doing are all that this limited,
insecure man can think of to form the foundation for his road.
Antonia, on the other hand, builds her road on a base of an invincible
pioneer spirit that is characterized by the generosity with which she trys to
give Jim her ring and her compassion for the little green insect that will not
survive the winter. Throughout the book, she demonstrates that while her road
may have some potholes caused by her naivete, as with her disasterous romance
with Larry Donovan, she has self-esteem and the ability to deal with whatever
life has to offer.
Thus, these two novels depict two people who are traveling on roads through
life that could not be more different. Colonel Cathcarts road is all about
appearances with no regard for substance, while Antonias road is so
unconcerned with appearances that she allows the local photographer to display
her illegitimate babys picture in his shop window. Antonias road is
clearly the superior one; she becomes the strong mother of a large loving
family. We can only imagine where Colonel Cathcarts road will lead.