This mutable reality is also linked to the famous "catch" of the title, which will be discussed later and shows the absurdity of the modern world. In Jazz, the improvisational form of the art is used to suggest how the past is changeable through the perspectives of the couple who are slowly falling out of love with one another. An event in their past, like a theme in jazz music, may be different upon each 'playing' or 'remembering'.
In Catch 22 time is represented as a manipulative continuum in which what occurs depends upon the person seeing it. The very structure of the book seems to reflect the paranoid and near-to-insane characters who inhabit it. Thus the novel starts with ten chapters dealing with the present, before flashing back to the past of the events in the Siege of Bologna for a few chapters. The present appears once again before flashing backwards into the past. The final section of the book is set once again in the present, but with a more formal and linear narrative than the fragmentation what characterizes the other parts.
Slipping backwards in time, the reader learns how the characters avoid the true horror of what occurred on the undefended Italian mountain village with the rape and murder of a completely innocent girl. The soldiers do not want to admit what has occurred and so they at first deny it or obscure it through the various bureaucratic absurdities of the military situation they face. The insanity within both their present and past world is best described by the various 'catches' that the soldiers must face, the most famous of which is the catch 22 of the title:
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
This kind of bizarre circular logic, which is obviously absurd and nonsensical, but is impossible to deny due to its own frame of reference. In the same way a person who tries to fully understand the past must be crazy, but if he is crazy he will then not have a genuine grasp of what happens. Again, a circular logic that wraps around itself and forbids any kind of rational in-roads into comprehension.
The novel revolves around a kind of complex sense of dj vu that many of the characters express. Thus the chaplain has an "impression of a prior meeting was of some occasion far more momentous and occult that, of a significant encounter with Yossarian in some remote, submerged and perhaps even entirely spiritual epoch in which he had made the identical, foredooming admission that there was nothing, absolutely nothing, he could do to help him" (Heller, 1961). The use of the word "foredooming" is integral to this section. The past cannot be understood, but it is most readily available to the characters through the overwhelming sense of dj vu that many of them feel.
The Chaplain is central to this questioning of history, and this is