Catch-22 Log Essay, Research Paper
Yossarian He is the protagonist of Catch-22.
Dunbar Yossarian’s friend and roommate when the novel opens
The Chaplain a religious man who comes to visit Yossarian in the hospital
Nurse Duckett Doesn’t appear to have a significant role, except that of Yossarian’s nurse
The Texan A man so nice that everyone hates him
Soldier in white A completely bandaged man who is in the same ward as Yossarian
Lieutenant Nately Yossarian’s commanding officer
The novel opens in a hospital ward with Yossarian meeting the chaplain. Yossarian seems to enjoy confusing the chaplain and causing him trouble although he “fell madly in love with him” (15) We meet a few other characters, none too significant at this point.
The first piece of irony is seen in this chapter in the Texan. He is so nice that everyone hates him. The soldier in white poses an element of mystery thus far in the novel. He is intriguing to the other characters because he is all bandaged. They ponder whether or not he is alive.
We are also introduced to the first setting of the novel; Pianosa which is to be a small island in the Mediterranean Sea.
C.I.D. Man His name is only mentioned once and is thus far insignificant
Clevinger A fellow officer in Yossarian’s squadron
Orr Yossarian’s roommate
Havermeyer A fellow pilot
McWatt A fellow pilot
Milo Assumed to be in charge of the mess hall
Dead man in Yossarian’s tent
Yossarian is out of the hospital and is arguing with Clevinger about how everyone is out to kill him The new characters are mainly other pilots in the military with Yossarian.
Ferrara and the Great Big Siege of Bologna are two events mentioned with no description
This chapter holds the first introduction to the idea of insanity. Yossarian feels that everyone else is crazy, everyone hates him and is trying to kill him as well.
Sergeant Towser Only mentioned very briefly, no apparent significance
Major Major Squadron commander who resembles Henry Fonda
Huple and Hungary Joe Officers under Yossarian’s command
General P.P. Peckem
General Dreedle Possible head man for the war
ex-P.F.C Wintergreen ex-Private First Class
This chapter commences with a bit of confusion. The dead man is re-introduced as a pest. He is spoken of as if he were alive and present. We are introduced to one of the many sides of the relationship of Orr and Yossarian. Orr is telling Yossarian of his past and confusing him just as he confused the chaplain.
Irony has been seen already many times, in addition to this chapter. “I’d be the last colonel in the world to order you to go to that U.S.O show and have a good time, but I want every one of you who isn’t sick enough to be in a hospital to go to the U.S.O show right now and have a good time, and that’s an order.” (37) What is this all about? That doesn’t make any sense.
The idea of missions, which is very key to the story is introduced here. “They were men who had finished their fifty missions.”(36) There is a requirement for the number of missions that one must fly to be released from service, but the number has been raised once already.
Gus and Wes Two medics who have perfected medicine to a science
Colonel Moodus General Dreedle’s son in law
This chapter is very confusing. The whole T.S. Eliot scene is very mind-boggling Ex-P.F.C Wintergreen responds to a question with the answer of T.S. Eliot and the General’s can not understand it and figure he is speaking in some code.
Chief White Halfoat A Native American who rooms with Doc Daneeka
Chief White Halfoat is the only new character introduced in this chapter, and already we are introduced to his personality. It is an awful thing to say, but one of my favorite quotes comes from Chief White Halfoat when he says “Racial prejudice is a terrible thing, Yossarian. It really is. It’s a terrible thing to treat a decent, loyal Indian like a nigger, kike, wop or spic.” (53) If this isn’t hypocritical and ironic, than I don’t know what is.
The idea of Catch-22 is also brought forth in this chapter. “‘Sure there’s a catch,’ Doc Daneeka replied. ‘Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy.’ There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own 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. ” (55)
This introduces one of many catch-22’s that will be seen throughout the novel.
Captain Flume A squadron leader more enthralled with photography than the war
This chapter brings a catch-22 face to face with Yossarian. Yossarian has more than enough missions to be sent home, but his commanding officers will not let him, and that’s the catch. Even though the Twenty seventh Air Force says he has enough missions to go home, he must obey all orders given to him from his commanding officers.
We learn a little more about Hungry Joe in this chapter as well. He apparently has nightmares every night before a day when he does not have to fly a mission. This is a bit puzzling. He seems to have gotten used to the life of flying the missions and can not function rationally unless he is scheduled to do so.
These nightmares of Hungary Joe bring up the theme of being in a new environment, and how it changes the people in that environment. Hungary Joe would not typically have nightmares every night, however, in a war, he does, unless he is to risk his life the next day on a mission.
Corporal Snark Milo’s mess officer
The CID man comes back into the picture in this chapter looking for a Washington Irving, who is a fictitious character that is created by Yossarian. Lieutenant Milo Minderbinder is described a little more in this chapter. He runs a black market operation in many countries. Milo offers to allow Yossarian in on his market and Yossarian rejects the offer. Milo contends that “everyone has a share.”
A possible parody of economics is created in this chapter while Milo buys eggs in Malta for seven cents apiece, and then returns and sells them in Pianosa for five cents, but still turns a profit.
Lieutenant Scheisskopf is introduced into this chapter as a man who loves parades and the entire morale of being in the military. His wife and her friend, Dori Duz are introduced as being women who would have sex with every man in Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s cadet.
There is another scene of confusion between Clevinger, Scheisskopf, Yossarian and a colonel. In this scene, the theme of mistrust, and disloyalty can be scene in Yossarian. Scheisskopf is asking for information and claiming “I won’t punish you” While Clevinger is ready to offer any info he can, Yossarian tells him otherwise, and forces Clevinger to keep quiet. Yossarian is not so quick to trust the Lieutenant with his words.
This chapter is almost entirely dedicated to the description of Major Major Major Major. He was introduced into the novel earlier very briefly, it is here where we truly meet him. His name is Major Major Major, and that is only because of his father’s sense of humor. On his first day in the service, he is promoted to major by an IBM computer. This makes him Major Major Major Major.
This chapter also brings on another great example of irony that remains constant throughout Catch-22. Major Major Major Major reports to Sergeant Towser that no one is to see him in his office, unless he is not there.” ‘From now on,’ he said, ‘I don’t want anyone to come in to see me while I’m here. Is that clear?’”(108) This means that no one is allowed to go into his office while he is there. This comes back into the novel later on when a new cadet tries to make an appointment with Major Major Major Major.
Captain Pilchard and Captain wren Responsible for assembling the crews
Mudd The dead man in Yossarian’s tent
This chapter brings upon many events that occurred in the past. The first one is “Eighteen planes had let down through a beaming white cloud off the coast of Elba one afternoon on the way back from the weekly milk run to Parma; seventeen came out.” (114) This event is the presumed death of Clevinger because in the morning after this occurrence, Clevinger was gone.
Another even that is mentioned in this section is called the Grand Conspiracy of Lowery Field. In this action, “all sixty four men in a single barrack vanished one payday and were never heard of again.” Whether these events will come up in the novel again is uncertain.
A theme in this chapter is loyalty to one’s service. Ex-PFC Wintergreen is an ex Private First Class, he is no longer ranked, yet he still performs duties for the commanders. His duties tend to be fairly ironic, however. “Each time he went AWOL, he was caught and sentenced to dig and fill up holes six feet deep, wide and long for a specified length of time. Each time he finished his sentence, he went AWOL again.” (114)
The dead man in Yossarian’s tent makes his grand entrance and clarifies his whereabouts in this chapter as well. He was never officially enlisted, but was “blown into bits over Orvieto less than two hours after he arrived.” (118) Because he was never enlisted, his presence was never known, and that is why his belongings remain in the tent.
Major Duluth Killed over Perugia
Chapter eleven depicts the makings of the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade. We are re-introduced to Captain Black who is a cynical man who has no sorrow for any tragedy as long as he can benefit from it. Major Duluth was killed in a mission and Captain Black was expecting to take over his position. However, a newcomer, Major Major, was selected for the job instead. Because of this Black is determined to prove Major Major as a communist.
The Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was spearheaded by Captain Black. He made everyone sign a loyalty oath in order to do anything. But once again, there is a catch. He was not going to let Major Major sign any of these oaths, and therefore, proving he was communist. His plan is working until Major__de Coverly breaks it up by demanding “Gimme eat.”(126)
This chapter shows another example of irony in the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade, and another example of a catch 22 in it’s greatest form. Major Major was communist because he wouldn’t sign any oaths, but Captain Black would not let him sign any of these oaths.
Kid Sampson An officer under Yossarian
This is the description of the Great Big Siege of Bologna. This mission has been dreaded by the pilots for awhile, and has been built up to be horrible. In this chapter, however, they trick the Captain into thinking that Bologna had already been captured so that they did not have to fly it.
“The more it rained, they worse they suffered. The more they suffered, the more they prayed that it would continue raining.” (128-129) This quote shows how bad the flight to Bologna must have been. The men would rather suffer in the rain than fly the mission.
Clevinger reappears in this chapter during an argument with Yossarian. The theme of roles and loyalty comes up again in this argument between the two men. It is Yossarian’s duty to die over Bologna. Yossarian contests that when he admits to being the cause behind the cancelation of the mission.
Another theme that arises is the idea of God is dead. Repeatedly throughout the chapter, Dunbar says “There is no God,” (135) All of his outbursts seem out of place and irrational, but when one thinks about the horror of war, and the belief in God, it is realized that Dunbar is questioning if God exists, and if so, than why is the situation as horrible as it is. Dunbar also repeats that phrase while riding in a stolen jeep driven by a drunk Chief White Halfoat, who feels that driving without headlights on is the best way.
This chapter portrays Heller’s view of a military bureaucracy. It goes back in time in two different instances. This first is to introduce the beginning of Milo Minderbinder and how he became the mess hall coordinator, along with how is syndicate got started.
The next situation is between Yossarian and Colonel Cathcart while they are discussing Yossarian’s actions during a mission. Yossarian did not drop his bombs on a target the first time around because he would have missed. Instead, he goes around a second time, without cover, and destroys the target. Because the service does not want to take any criticism for this, they give Yossarian a medal for bravery. In addition to the medal, they promote Yossarian to captain, which is how he is introduced in the beginning of the novel.
This chapter once again brings the mission of Bologna into the story line. The fear of this mission is so great that Yossarian fakes a malfunction in the plan and orders his men to turn back. After having to fly over Bologna again, they realize that Bologna was just a milk-run.
After returning to the base, Captain Pilchard and Captain Wren reprimand Yossarian for aborting the mission and order them to fly it again. Assuming that the mission is not dangerous, Yossarian flies in with confidence, but is soon a target for flying shrapnel. He leads McWatt through evasive maneuvers and they finally end the mission and return safely.
One aspect of this chapter I was intrigued about was Aarfy and his actions while in the air. These planes are being shot at by the enemy, and Aarfy is playing games with Yossarian and poking him with his pipe and pretending that he can’t hear orders. Now, during a time of war, and immediate danger, you would think that one would act a bit more serious.
Luciana A whore that Yossarian meets one night in Rome and falls in love with
Yossarian meets Luciana one night in a bar, dances, has dinner with her, and eventually the next morning he sleeps with her. After which he falls in love with her and asks her to marry him. It is here that another example of catch-22 is seen. Luciana says she can not marry Yossarian because he is crazy, and he is crazy because he wants to marry her. She leaves and gives Yossarian her number which he tears up immediately.
Colonel Cathcart then raises the number of required missions to 40, and Yossarian makes a trip to the hospital. I assume that this is where the novel opens up. Yossarian is in the hospital and the number of missions had just been raised.
Snowden Friend of Yossarian’s whom his death Yossarian feels responsible for
This chapter is conformation that the novel started in medias res and has now returned to the beginning. While in the hospital, Yossarian is speaking with the Texan about the soldier in white. Yossarian and Dunbar discuss mortality and the cause of why some people die and some don’t.
Snowden is mentioned in this chapter very briefly and it is puzzling as to why. What was mentioned does not have much to do with the rest of the chapter. We still do not understand how he died. Maybe it was just to remind the reader that his story is still lingering and to refresh the memory of him.
Yossarian also debates with Doc Daneeka about the fairness of war, and how the colonel continues to raise the number of missions as soon as Yossarian nears them. He asks Doc to help him by grounding him and Doc tells Yossarian to fly the 55 missions and then he will think about it.
This is evidence that in war, a person no longer becomes in control of their own life. Yossarian does not want to fly any more missions, but the only person who can keep him from doing so, isn’t himself. Yossarian’s life becomes controlled by another figure, in this case, Doc Daneeka.
In this chapter Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife appears again with Yossarian. Yossarian spends Thanksgiving in bed with her and they discuss God, and the existence of him. “‘And don’t tell me God works in mysterious ways,’ Yossarian continued, hurtling on over her objection. ‘There’s nothing so mysterious about it. He’s not working at all. He’s playing. Or else, He’s forgotten all about us.’” (189)
This entire scene is excellent support for the theme of God and his existence. With a situation so horrible, one can’t blame Yossarian for question God’s existence.
“‘They certainly look beautiful now writhing in agony or stupefied with morphine, don’t they? What a colossal, immortal blunderer! When you consider the opportunity and power He had to really do a job, and then you look at the stupid, ugly little mess He made of it instead, His sheer incompetence is almost staggering. It’s obvious He never met a payroll. Why, no self-respecting businessman would hire a bungler like Him as even a shipping clerk.’” (189) I love this quote for the sheer reason that Yossarian is such a rambler when he gets on to a passionate subject. He is so descriptive in his disgust for God and the work He has done.
God plays a significant role in this novel. Heller portrays many characters with conflicting, or even altering beliefs about God throughout his novel. That is why the idea of God is so important and is one of the main themes of this novel. When Colonel Cathcart demands prayer from the chaplain before each mission, it is apparent that Cathcart is not a God-worshipping man by his motives behind the prayer. Cathcart only wishes to get his name in the Saturday Evening Post. But as soon as the chaplain mentions that God may punish him, his belief in God seems to change, and he does not want to be punished. I pose the question, how does one be punished by someone or something, that they appear not to believe in?
Corporal Whitcomb The Atheist assistant of the chaplain
In this chapter, Corporal Whitcomb accuses the chaplain of holding his career back. He also tells the chaplain that the CID man is after him for allegedly signing Washington Irving’s name to formal papers.
The idea of God is present in this chapter as the chaplain becomes upset because he can not help or improve any person’s situation. The chaplain, a religious man, begins to question the existence of God.
Chapter Twenty One
“Yossarian! The mere sound of that execrable, ugly name made his blood run cold and his breath come in labored gasps.” (219)
“The naked man in formation, he conceded cheerlessly, had been a real black eye for him.”
It appears that Yossarian is not getting on everyone’s good side. Colonel Cathcart, who once helped Yossarian in his problems, is now seeing him in a whole new light. Yossarian and his pranks have made their way to the Colonel and he is not very happy.
“The seven day delay in destroying the bridge at Ferrara.” (219) We also find out that the bridge destroying mission, in which Yossarian made a second pass and was award a medal was at Ferrara.
Chapter Twenty two
This is an integral chapter in understanding many different things in Catch-22. The first thing that arises in this chapter is Snowden’s death. All along we have heard that Snowden was dead and the Yossarian felt responsible, but this chapter describes how Snowden died.
“That was the mission on which Yossarian lost his nerve. Yossarian lost his nerve on the emission to Avignon because Snowden lost his guts, and Snowden lost his guts because their pilot that day was Huple, who was only fifteen years old, and their co-pilot was Dobbs,” (235)
“Yossarian knew, but he was only a kid, and Dobbs had no confidence in him, either.” (235)
These quotes are the first to introduce this mission. We find that Snowden was killed on this mission, and it cause Yossarian to lose his nerve.
The next half of the chapter is dedicated to Milo and his syndicate. It goes into deep description about the complexity of the black market. “‘In Malta,’ Yossarian corrected. ‘You buy your eggs in Malta, not Sicily.’ Milo chortled proudly. ‘I don’t buy eggs in Malta,’ he confessed, with an air of slight and clandestine amusement that was the only departure from industrious sobriety Yossarian had even seen him make. ‘I buy them in Sicily for one cent apiece and transfer them to Malta secretly at four and a half cents apiece in order to get the price of eggs up to seven cents apiece when people come to Malta looking for them.’
‘Why do people come to Malta for eggs when they’re so expensive there?’
‘Because they’ve always done it that way.’
‘Why don’t they look for eggs in Sicily?’
“Because they’ve never done it that way.’” (241)
This passage creates complete confusion in my mind about the black market. It is so odd how people don’t do things because they have never done them that way before. That sort of thing still holds true today. People do like tradition and do not favor change.
“Milo was Major Sir Milo Minderbinder in Malta…..Milo was Vice-Shah of Oran…but also the Caliph of Baghdad, the Imam of Damascus, and the Sheik of Araby.” (247)
This passage illustrates just how much power that Milo had acquired in many different places. He is seen as a god or a superior authority and is followed more than most of the political leaders in the given country. It satirizes how powerful the underground world can truly be if given the means.
Chapter Twenty Three
Natley’s whore is re-introduced into this chapter. Nately meets up with her again in Rome and attempts to persuade Yossarian and Aarfy to take her friends. Hungary Joe’s character is depicted here when he is encountered with a scene and is unsure of how to handle it.
Chapter Twenty Four
In this chapter Milo’s power is shown in full detail. This is also the chapter where Milo becomes hated. He makes contracts with both the Germans and the Americans to bomb each other. Milo’s syndicate, known now as M&M Enterprises is almost shut down, until Milo points out the profit that has been made.
Yossarian has an issue with nudity in this novel. He sits naked in the tree while he watches Snowden’s funeral from afar.
Chapter Twenty Five
The chaplain is shown very complex in this chapter. He is beginning to feel very low down and have very little self confidence in anything he once believed. He has a dream of his wife and kids being violently killed, and somehow this thought calms him down. The effects of a war on this man have been detrimental.
Chapter Twenty Six
This chapter somewhat introduces the character of A. Fortiori into the novel. Yossarian becomes injured and is admitted to the hospital with his friend Dunbar. The two men convince lower ranking officers to switch identities with them and Dunbar becomes a man named A Fortiori. The question is why do they need to switch identities with someone. They have been in the hospital before and it is not as though anything was seriously wrong with them. It is puzzling as to their motives. It is obvious that nothing critical was going to happen, otherwise, why would the tow lower men agree to switching identities, unless it was an order since they were lower ranking officers.
Chapter Twenty Eight
In this chapter the trust factor is a major issue. Yossarian finally gives Dobbs the go ahead to kill Colonel Cathcart. However, Dobbs no longer wants to kill Cathcart because he has attained his 60 required missions and is ready to be sent home. When Yossarian informs Dobbs that Colonel Cathcart will just raise the number again, Dobbs says “we’ll just wait and find out.” Why is Dobbs so trusting of Cathcart now and where did it come from?
Yossarian’s insanity is once again apparent here. During a bombing run, he threatens to kill McWatt for no apparent reason. After the mission, McWatt is nothing but concerned for the well being of Yossarian. Nurse Duckett and Yossarian have become sexually involved and they enjoy making love on the beach.
Kid Sampson is killed in this chapter by McWatt who slices his body in half while buzzing the beach one day. I wonder if there is any significance to having a character die such a horrible death. I mean, Heller could have chosen anything, but to be sliced in half by an airplane propeller is very graphic.
After the tragedy McWatt keeps flying his plane and refuses to land, and winds up committing suicide by crashing his plane into a mountainside.
The number of missions is raised to 65.
Chapter Thirty One
The idea of soldiers losing their identity during wartime is very strongly expressed in this chapter. Doc Daneeka was scheduled to be in the plane with McWatt, but was not. The catch here is that because Doc was scheduled to be, it is assumed he was and now is presumed dead.
How can paperwork hold so much power over a person and their existence. Doc Daneeka was not killed in the plane crash, but it was written down that he was in that plane. As Doc attempts to do many things as a living person, such as write his wife a letter, he realizes that in a sense, he truly is dead, and his identity has been erased from mainstream society.
The theme of de-personalization is also present in the letter that Mrs. Daneeka receives informing her of Doc’s death. The letter is a generic letter that could be sent to anyone. It is as though the soldier never had his own personality and was just another number.
“Dear Mrs., Mr., Miss, or Mr. and Mrs. Daneeka
Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father, or brother was killed, wounded, or reported missing in action.” (355)
Chapter Thirty Eight
Nately was killed in an earlier mission and Yossarian feels it is his duty to inform Nately’s whore of his death. When he goes to Rome, Nately’s whore assumes that Yossarian is responsible for his death and tries to stab him. She will turn up throughout the rest of the novel and random places and attempt to stab him. She succeeds at one point and stabs him several times. It is right after Yossarian refuses to fly more combat missions. Although seemingly unrelated, a possible connection can be made at the end of the novel. Yossarian walks around backward so no one can sneak up on him Does he really think that is going to work?
Chapter Thirty Nine
This chapter is filled with irony. First off, Rome has been bombed and Nately’s whore is no where to be found. An old women informs Yossarian about another catch-22 and that is “They have the right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.” Yossarian wanders around in the dark for quite some time. The darkness might be a symbol for the confusion felt and the ignorance of what course of action to take. When he returns to the apartment, Aarfy has raped and killed a maid. The police break in and arrest Yossarian for being in Rome without a pass.
I am not quite sure what that piece of irony was supposed to have meant. Obviously it is wrong what happened, but I have been unable to make the connection between what happened and any true significance to the novel.
This chapter holds sort of a pseudo ending to the novel. Colonels Korn and Cathcart offer Yossarian a deal which he accepts. One may think that this is how the novel is going to end (with Yossarian following through on his deal) but we are told otherwise in the climactic chapters ahead.
Chapter Forty One
“We’ve got your pal” This phrase is repeated several times while Yossarian is in the hospital. Yossarian is unable to discover who this pal is. While thinking of Snowden, Yossarian remembers a secret he discovered from Snowden. ” The spirit gone, man is garbage.” This quote means that it is both the spirit and the physical body that makes up a man. It is not one or the other. If the spirit is gone, than the body will decompose and doesn’t truly hold significance, just as garbage.
Chapter Forty Two
Yossarian decides that he can not go through with the deal set forth by his commanding officers. He concludes that by following through with his deal, he would be betraying his friends both alive and dead.
We find out that the “pal” mentioned in chapter forty one is Orr and that he has been found in Sweden. Yossarian decides that he is going to desert the army and track down Orr in Sweden.
Yossarian leaves the hospital, evading another murder attempt by Nately’s whore and runs off into the distance.
It was a particularly odd ending to the novel. Nately’s whore was a very persistent one in trying to kill Yossarian. The connection I made between the whore and Yossarian is that every time Yossarian disagreed with the military and his commanding officers, he could escape Nately’s whore unscathed. The one time he is stabbed, it is because he agreed to the deal with Cathcart and Korn. At the end, he escapes her once again, showing his disagreement with military regulations.