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            OnMay 1, 1923, Joseph Heller was born on Coney Island to Isaac and Lena Heller,two Jewish immigrants from Russia (Daugherty). Born into a family living in asmall apartment, Heller would continue to write numerous books including hismost notable novel, Catch-22. His experiences would shape his own style of writingand influence those of future satirical writers. Heller’s dark and wise humorwas shaped by his own life and would be the defining factor in his form ofsatire.

            Hellerlived on the upper floor in a small building on West Thirty-first Street with hisparents, his half-brother, Lee, and his half-sister, Sylvia (Daugherty). However,his life would drastically change as his father died from surgery to treat astomach ulcer when Heller was just five years old (Nichols). After Isaac Heller’sdeath, the Heller family began to struggle with poverty as Lena did not speak Englishwell and Lee, only 14 years old, became a surrogate father of the family(Nichols). Lee’s self-contradiction after a long day’s work would intrigueJoseph and become an early introduction to his own satirical nature (Daugherty).            In1930, Heller entered first grade and was a “bundle of anxiety” (Daugherty) thatconstantly checked his own physical features. From a young age, Heller’swriting and imagination were praised by teachers and would only continue toimprove as he aged. In 1942, Heller would graduate as an honors student fromAbraham Lincoln High School and take a job at an insurance firm (Nichols).

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However, he would soon leave his job to enlist in the Army Air Forces in 1942(Daugherty).            Twoyears after enlisting, Heller was sent to Corsica where he flew sixty bombingmissions as a second lieutenant between May and October 1944. After flyingsixty missions, Heller left Corsica for Naples on January 3, 1945 and was thenshipped back to the States on January 28 (Daugherty). 

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