Catch-22 opens in a military hospital during World War II. The protagonist, Captain Yossarian, a bombardier in the 256th squadron, has been pretending to suffer from liver pain in order to escape the dangers of combat. Sharing the hospital room with Yossarian are numerous others, including his friend Captain Dunbar, who has also fabricated an illness, and a man wrapped entirely in gauze and plaster. The patients, all of whom are officers and most of whom it seems are not truly ill, spend their time censoring the letters of enlisted men. Yossarian takes particular pleasure in censoring the letters in bizarre and creative ways; in one instance, he eliminates all words except "a", "an", and "the," producing what he terms "a message far more universal." Because all officers are required to sign their names at the bottom of the letters they censor, Yossarian signs his "Washington Irving."
At this point the reader is first introduced to the term "Catch-22." Yossarian uses the phrase to describe the requirement that officers sign their names at the bottom of each letter. The author doesn't explain what Catch-22 means exactly; but he does hint that it reflects a bizarre or seemingly contradictory situation.
After a few days, Yossarian makes the acquaintance of a visiting chaplain. He also meets another patient, a Texan, who often claims that "decent" people should get more votes than "people without means." The man's repugnant political views and obnoxiously sunny disposition so quickly annoy everyone, that within ten days, most of the patients stop faking their illnesses and voluntarily return to duty.
The only person left in the ward is an under-cover C.I.D. man sent to investigate the mysterious "Washington Irving." He has caught cold and is actually sick.
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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