Comprehensive Summary and Review of Chapters
Yossarian is reprimanded for his behavior by the joint squadron
operations officers and is told that he has fly a second mission to Bologna
to hit some targets that were missed. Having seen that the men came back
from the first mission without any mishaps, Yossarian expects the same easy
approach and isn't concerned about this order. He leaves with confidence
but to his surprise his plane encounters heavy fire.
In spite of heavy resistance, he is able to hit his target
and return safely. After this mission he is entitled to a leave and he decides
to go to Rome. There, he meets Luciana, an attractive Italian woman. He
makes love to her and asks her to marry him. She refuses and they part company.
Before she leaves, Yossarian asks her for her address, but as soon as she
leaves he tears it up the paper. He then meets Hungry Joe who tells him
that Colonel Cathcart has again upgraded the number of mission that were
required before a man could be sent home. Yossarian is taken aback by this
news and decides to check himself into the hospital.
Yossarian decides that he will stay in the hospital rather
than fly the additional missions. He feigns a pain in his liver and is able
to confuse the doctors. He again asks Doc Daneeka to ground him so that
he can be sent home. Daneeka vaguely agrees but only after Yossarian will
complete fifty-five missions.
Yossarian thinks back of the time when he first faked an illness
in order to end up in the hospital. At that time he faked an appendix illness
and was advised by a good natured intern to fake a liver illness instead
as it was much more difficult to determine whether it was really true. This
ailment Yossarian used consistently thereafter.
Yossarain spends Thanksgiving in the hospital and exclaims
that it was the best Thanksgiving he has ever had. He is involved in a very
bizarre episode when one of the doctors asks him to meet with the family
of a soldier who has died to give them the opportunity to spend the dying
moments together with their son. Yossarian pretends to be their son and
they don't seem to realize that he is not because his face is totally bandaged
and the lights in the room are dimmed.
The next few chapters discuss some of Yossarian's superiors,
Colonel Cathcart and General Dreedle. Colonel Cathcart's ambitious personality
comes to the foreground when he wants the chaplain to lead the men in religious
prayers before each mission and in that way gain attention for himself from
his superiors. He abandons the idea when the chaplain suggests that God
might punish them for not including the enlisted men..
At another time, Colonel Cathcart's patience is tested by
Yossarian's belligerent behavior of attending a medal award ceremony in
the nude. The day is saved by General Dredel when he intercedes on Yossarian's
behalf. He explains that Yossarian suffered a great shock when Snowden bled
to death in his arms and he couldn't save him.
The hospital, which is usually thought of as a place that
offers hope for life and healing, is presented in a mocking fashion. Even
the sobriety of death is not taken seriously.
The Chaplains ineffectuality is reinforced at this point
through the narrative structure. Following his dismissal by Cathcart in
chapter 19 he is immediately given the opportunity to voice his concerns
to the colonel however he says, Everything is working out.
In conclusion to this chapter we see a seemingly good man
ponder on his helplessness. The chaplain recognizes the unhappiness in the
world and his own inability to do anything about it. The reader became aware
of this earlier in the chapter when he demonstrated his inability to speak
out against the colonels.