Chapter 17 - The Soldier in White
Upon Yossarian's return to Pianosa, he learns that the Colonel has yet again raised the number of mission each man must fly. Each time the Colonel raises the requirements, Yossarian runs into the hospital with a pretended ailment. The irony here is that is he would simply fly the missions instead of wasting time in the hospital, he would complete his quota and possibly go home. But because of the time lost in the hospital, he can never meet the mission requirements in time.
Yossarian ruminates on how neat death is in the hospital, as opposed to how messy it is in combat, or in the outside world in general. However, he remarks, the closer he got to combat areas, the messier and less pleasant the hospitals became. The best example of this is the "soldier in white" from the first chapter of the book. He is so seriously injured, that he is wrapped from head to toe in gauze and plaster casts. There is a hole around his mouth, where his temperature is taken; there is a tube running into his elbow; and there is a tube running out of his groin. The tubes, one which pours fluid in, and one which removes fluid, run into stoppered jars, which are simply switched every hour, so that the empty one collects, and the full one dispenses.
Yossarian remarks to himself that Nurse Duckett is really the one who murdered the soldier in white, because she took his temperature one day and discovered that he was dead. Had she not, the soldier in white would have continued his everyday existence with no discernable difference.
Yossarian and the others in the war discuss how in life, people often receive the punishments and the benefits that were meant for others. The rich, spoiled pilot remarks that he is spending $300,000 that probably was meant for someone else; Dunbar suggests that it might have been meant for his father, who worked hard and died penniless. Yossarian states that he is suffering from a case of the clap that was meant for the warrant officer immediately opposite his bed; but no one can figure out whose malaria the warrant officer has.
Yossarian thinks to himself of all the innumerable dangers surrounding him in the war, and in life in general. He is an extreme hypochondriac, though not quite on the level of Hungry Joe, who keeps lists of all the diseases that exist so that he can decide at any moment what to worry about. Doc Daneeka, it turns out, is also terribly afraid of diseases, and in a discussion with Yossarian, becomes convinced he suffers from "Ewing's tumor." Yossarian wrings a faint promise out of the doctor to do something to help him avoid combat, if Yossarian finishes 55 missions and puts the doctor's name on the flight logs one more time.
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Chapter 11 and 12
Chapter 14, 15, and 16
Chapter 19 and 20
Chapter 26 and 27
Chapter 28 and 29
Chapter 30 and 31
Chapter 32 and 33
Chapter 35 and 36
Chapter 37 and 38
Chapter 40 and 41