Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters
Yossarian's thoughts wander back to cadet school where he
recalls Lieutenant Scheisskopf's was the commanding officer. He was obsessed
with parades and had a strong dislike of Clevinger. The Lieutenant was an
R.O.T.C. graduate who had very poor eyesight and was never sent overseas
in war. He also remembers his love affairs with Dori Duz and having an affair
with Lieutenant Scheisskopf's wife.
Chapter 9 deals with Major Major who is described as being
a very mediocre individual. He received the rank of Major because of a computer
error when his name was mistakenly read as being his rank. He is the commanding
officer of Yossarian's group, but refuses to see his men. One day when Yossarian
meets him accidentally, Yossarian asks him to send him home. He suggests
to Yossarian that he will allow him to pick his missions but he cannot send
him home. Yossarian refuses the offer.
On one of the missions, Clevinger's plane disappears and the
crew is assumed dead.
Thoughts about death occupy Yossarian when he finds out that
his next mission is the Great Big Siege of Bologna. He thinks about Mudd
who died in combat even before reporting for duty. On a lighter note, Yossarian
then remembers ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen who always goes A.W.O.L. and inevitably
The only one who enjoys the news of the forthcoming mission
is Captain Black, the squadron intelligence officer. He apparently gets
pleasure out of seeing the fear on the faces of the men. He also hates the
Major because he fills that he should been named squadron commander. In
an wild attempt to smear the Majors name, he starts a rumor that the Major
is a communist and forces the men to sign a petition by not issuing them
their equipment if they didn't sign. Finally, after things reach an extreme
point, Major de Coverley comes from Rome and puts an end to Captain Black's
When the day on which the mission is scheduled arrives, it
rains and the mission has to be postponed. In addition, Yossarion had put
something into the food and all the men ended up having a bad case of diarrhea.
He also changes the bomb line on the map and confuses Cathcart into believing
that the Allies have already captured Bologna.
Major de Coverly, the squadron executive, has the reputation
of being a noble conqueror even though nobody really knows him. His main
function is to rent apartments for the men's rest leave. Milo, the mess
officer is the only who really gets close to him and convinces him to rent
a plane to that he can fly weekly supply runs to Malta.
The day to fly the mission to Bologna finally arrives and
Yossarian is at a loss as to what to do o avoid going. He finally comes
up with a plan and ruins the intercom. Being the highest ranking officer
on board, he orders the pilot to turn back and his men are overjoyed at
their luck in avoiding Bologna. He is amazed when later all the planes return
and no one is hurt.
These chapters deal with the theme of the insignificance of
human beings on the planet. One can die and the death is hardly noticed
They also present the anti-hero of the text
He has no loyalties to anyone other than himself. However though an anti-hero,
Wintergreen does manage to enter the language games that exist in the novel.
He justifies his service to his country as he does his job well and seemingly
takes pride in the work. The work of digging holes does ensure his safety
and therefore he manages to escape from the war to a certain extent.
Yossarian realizes that men with power will keep power, and
those without power suffer the consequences. As a familiar quote says, "Absolute
power corrupts absolutely." Yossarian learns the hard way that men
with power have a tendency to abuse their authority.