What is an example of paradox in literature?

The plot of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is a classic example of literary paradox.

The central paradox is that airmen who are considered insane can request to be grounded and thus avoid flying dangerous combat missions. However, airmen who request to be grounded based on safety concerns are not actually insane, having the presence of mind to recognize the danger of their situation. Heller uses this paradox to satirize the circular logic of military bureaucracy.

Heller’s paradoxical narrative is the origin of the term “catch-22,” which describes any situation where contradictory rules or conditions prevent a solution or escape.