Chapter 18 - The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice
Chapter 18, like many others, is set in the past. Yossarian reminisces that it was squadron calisthenics which first drove him to fake an illness in the hospital. After his first day in the hospital, he is advised by a well-meaning intern to give up faking an appendix disorder and start faking a liver disorder. The appendix, he explains, can be removed quite simply, and the soldier returned to duty. The liver, however, is much more complex.
This advice helps Yossarian stay for five days in the hospital. Just as he is pronounced healthy and set to be discharged, a miracle occurs. A soldier lying opposite him sits up and screams, "I see everything twice!" After the incompetent doctors spend hours examining him, they declare him to have meningitis and put everyone under 14-day quarantine.
Yossarian spends Thanksgiving in quarantine, and considers it the best Thanksgiving he's ever spent. At any rate, he decides, it is better than the preceding Thanksgiving, which he spent in bed with Lieutenant Scheisskopf's wife. That day was spent in a fruitless discussion with her over whether he had more to be thankful for, or more to be angry about. The discussion eventually degenerated into an argument between two atheists about what kind of God they didn't believe in: a gentle benevolent one, or an incompetent, idiotic, and malevolent one.
When quarantine ends, Yossarian acts to prolong it by screaming "I see everything twice!" He is, of course, put into quarantine again. But when the original soldier suddenly dies, Yossarian decides to convalesce quickly. A kindly doctor who knows he's been faking it offers him a deal: he won't expose him, if Yossarian will agree to meet with the family of the dead man. Even though he's not their son, they came all the way from New York and they expect to see someone.
In a truly bizarre scene, Yossarian poses as the dying son of the visitors, who inexplicably have no problem with the fact that he doesn't look like their son; and don't seem to react when he tells them his name is Yossarian, not Giuseppe.
Browse all Studyworld Studynotes|
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