John Yossarian

John Yossarian

Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew up… in a world torn by war. Although Yossarian is still relatively young, he's already faced a lot in his 28 years: from the Great Depression to WWII, the world has been a dangerous place for the Assyrian since birth.

Visiting... Pianosa, Italy, in order to fight the Nazis. Objectively, it's a pretty place, but Yossarian finds it hard to appreciate the island's natural beauty when everyone around him is trying to kill him.

Profession… lead bomber, and not at all happy about it. Yossarian isn't bad at his job, but he's tired of shooting and getting shot at. Right now "his only mission each time he went up was to come down alive."

Interests… staying alive. After one too many bad missions, Yossarian has decided to "to live forever or die in the attempt." But with everyone from Hitler to military bureaucrats to angry prostitutes conspiring against him, the task's a lot harder than it sounds. When he's not trying to dodge death, Yossarian spends his time trying to forget about it by drinking, eating, and having sex.

Relationship Status… complicated. Yossarian meets Luciana during a visit to Rome, and while he would be glad to settle down, she's not keen on the idea. Well, at least Italy has plenty of prostitutes and alcohol.

Challenge… staying alive. Yossarian is stuck a war he wants no part of, and more than anything, he wants to go home. Unfortunately, getting a discharge is made impossible by the military's policy of Catch-22, which allows people to leave only if they're crazy. The catch? If you want to leave, then you can't be crazy.

Personality… cynical, paranoid, and more sensitive than he pretends. Antisocial and eternally grumpy, Yossarian's not exactly the friendliest person around, describing himself as "a crotchety old fogey of twenty-eight." But considering the fact that the people around him have a nasty habit of dying, Yossarian's reluctance to make friends is understandable.


Fans of him also like:

Find out how you match to him and 5500+ other characters