Cheat Sheet

The following is a collection of things meant to explain the absurd ?@#? Give helpful hints about important stuff just in case you missed it ?@#? And if you have trouble with the answers, think about the trouble I had with the ?'s.

Chp.1 / Chp.2 / Chp.3 / Chp.4 / Chp.5 / Chp.6 / Chp.7 / Chp.8 / Chp.9 / Chp.10 / Chp.11 / Chp.12 / Chp.13 / Chp.14 / Chp.15 / Chp.16 / Chp.17 / Chp.18 / Chp.19 / Chp.20 / Chp.21 / Chp.22 / Chp.23 / Chp.24 / Chp.25 / Chp.26 / Chp.27 / Chp.28 / Chp.29 / Chp.30 /Chp.31 / Chp.32 / Chp.33 / Chp.34 / Chp.35 / Chp.36 / Chp.37 / Chp.38 / Chp.39 / Chp.40 / Chp.41 / Chp.42

Chapter 1 "The Texan"

(p.7) Yes, officers in time of military actions do censor the mail of the enlisted men. How many enlisted men know military secrets-few. Who censors the mail? Nobody. They are supposed to know better than to blab military secrets.

(p.8) NOTE carefully the discussions of "Catch 22" presented here. What is Catch 22? Remember, this is the title of the book.

Why is Yossarian in the hospital? (p.s. the answer is not because he is sick, really. At least not in the normal sense.)

A literary allusion is a reference to something in literature that you should have read or at least should know about. "Washington Irving" is a literary allusion. This should add a lot to your feelings about something.

(p.9) How did Dunbar plan to increase his life span? Absurd, isn't it?

Yossarian goofs around with censoring mail...because...?

(p.11) Notice the incident of the burning mess hall. How is this an example of black humor, or is it? What aspect of the military code is Heller ridiculing?

In what way is Heller mocking A.T. Tappman? Tappman could represent more that just a man-like? As a character in a microcosm, what is his referent in the macrocosm?

(p.15) "He was kept busy day and night transmitting glutinous messages from the interior into square pads of gauze which he sealed meticulously and delivered to a covered white pail that stood on the night table beside the bed." What is this all about? Check the meaning of the italisized words for a real clue.

VOCABULARY DRILL: (p.15) pathologist, pathos, pendantic cetologist. If you check the meaning of these words and put them in the sentence as used by the book you will discover a very funny joke.

This chapter is the beginning(time-wise). The remaining chapters are not necessarily in chronological order.

Chapter 2: "Clevinger"

(p.16) "Men went mad and were rewarded with medals." Think about it.

(p.17) Here Heller is pointing out one of the basic absurdities of war, i.e., people you don't know are trying to kill you. On the other hand, does war make any sense?

(p.21) With all these counter charges and charges about insanity you can bet this has something to do with the book. Are there any sane people? Are Yossarian's objectives sane?

(p.21) Paskolnikov is another literary allusion. He was a character in a book called Crime and Punishment. He felt it was o.k. to kill the old women because he was better than other people, above the laws which govern others.

Chapter 3: "Havermeyer"

Do the chapter titles seem to have anything to do with what happens in the chapter?

Read this chapter slowly. You will meet many of the central characters and will receive many important hints (foreshadowings) that will help you with later events. Make notes carefully on your character sheets.

HINT: Believe it or not, that nonsense about Orr and the apples in his cheeks will prove to be very important to the entirestory. (This can be said to be a foreshadowing)

Why is Pfc. Wintergreen so powerful? Note that a Pfc is almost the lowest form of millitary life. What is Wintergreen in charge of? (this is a hint and a clue to the answer of the first question asked about Pfc. The actual answer is on p.220)

Watch for other references to the morning Milo Minderbinder bombed the squadron. He really did and it is all tied up in a Catch 22.

HINT: Time in this book is not chronological.

P.H.: Orr is the star of this book.

Chapter 4: "Doc Daneeka"

(p.33) NOTE that Heller's presentation of Doc Daneeka is strangely like that of A.T. Tappman. Again Heller is using the Microcosm to reflect the Macrocosm. As you read consider how typically doctor Doc Daneeka is.

(p.33) Yossarian's automatic "in" to the hospital represents a comment on man and his rules, i.e, that man tends to serve the rule rather than having the rules assist him.

(p.36) Yes, Colonel Korn's rule (nice name, no?) is another type of Catch 22. But then what do you expect from a corny colonel or a kernel of corn.

5 bonus points - who is T.S. Eliot?

Chapter 5 - "Chief White Halfoat"

(p.46) While enjoying the take of the chief, consider the bais truth of the story. Such is the nature of black humor. Man laughs at himself so that he won't cry.

Here, Catch 22 is further defined. Read carefully.

The scene of Yossarian in the plane and Aarfy and blocking the way will be repeated many times n the book, but you will earn a little more with each repetition. Collect the whole story. This episode is often called "Snowden's Dream." Why would Yossarian hate Aarfy and why doesn't Yossarian wear a parachute. Be sure and ask for the illustrated lecture on the configuartion of the plane.

(p.61) NOTE that the time changes with Dobb's comments. HINT: the time order of this book is all mixed up. Don't worry about it, Heller will tie it all together someway. The literary term for the device Heller is using to unify this story is MOTIF.

Chapter 6 - "Hungry Joe"

(p.54-55) What causes Hungry Joe's nightmares? Is this normal?

(p.59) How is Major Major made squadron leader? HINT: The squadron leader is supposed to be the most important position. Yet Major is chosen precisely because he doesn't qualify. Why?

(p.60) Watch for later explanations of why Major Major is driven into the railroad ditch "by the kicks and shoves and stones and punches of the men who had almost become his friends"

The men are pretending they don't recognize him, after all he is in disguise, so that they can finally strike back at the power structure.

Note another example of Catch-22

Chapter 7 - "McWatt"

HINT: Take this chapter slowly. Many threads of the story are started here which will be woven in more tightly as the book progresses.

CHEAT: Impress on your mind the way McWatt drives his plane.

(p.61) Why is McWatt "The craziest combatant of them all?"

(p.65) Now for the case of the stolen bedsheet. Is 1/2 or 1/4 of a bed sheet any good - as a bed sheet? Why does it make sense to Milo? Be sure to ask for the documented case history of the Awalt Covered Sidewalks and Rain Schedule Ratio.

HINT: Watch for more syndicated news?

How can Milo "buy eggs in Malta for seven cents and sell them at a profit in Pianosa for five cents???" HINT: Ever bought any stock, sold it at a loss and made a profit?

In every war there is always a group of people who make a huge profit from the misery of others. It is a fact of life. Milo represents this group.

Chapter 8 - "Lieutenant Scheisskopf"

Notice how the action seems to stop here while Heller lets us rest and ties up some loose ends.

Chapter 9 - "Major Major Major Major"

(p.85) With the Alfalfa story, Heller is taking a shot at the Soil Bank program. What was that? The government pays farmers not to grow crops. However it usually pays wealthy farmers rather than poor farmers. Likewise many of the senators who vote for this bill are the farmers who get the money from the bill. It is the truth. Look it up. Try "Life" magazine.

(p.88) Do computers effect you as they did the Major?

(p.95) Herein lies - lays an explanation of the puzzle of the dead man in Yossarian's tent - all tied up in a Catch 22. What has become real - the paper truth.

In addition to the number of missions, Snowden's dreams, and the Catch 22's, what other motifs have you noticed?

Miniver Cheevy is among other things, a poem that begins "Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn..." See the connection between Major Major and the literary allusion?

Chapter 10 - "Wintergreen"

What happens to Clevinger? Why? In terms of "real" time, when did this occur?

The military now has a rule about punishments. "Punishment must serve a useful purpose and be relative to the rule disobeyed." This rule did not exist during the Second World War. Punishments were at the discretion of the officer and were often pointless.

(p.107) Grand Conspiracy of Lowery Field, and (p.110) the Splendid Atabrine Insurrection. Why the fancy names? But then consider the titles given to some of the events you studied in history. The People's Park Riots are an example. The San Jose Riots at the time of Nixon's visit is another. Friends of mine were there and didn't know there had been a riot until they watched the news that night.

(p.109) Kraft's story. Do you see that Yossarian is responsible for Kraft's death in that he didn't hit the target the first time he took the plane over the site and thus had to make a second pass. On the second time over the plane was hit. This is the first installment of Snowden's dream. Watch for more references to Kraft's death and Snowden.

(p.109) Note the added information about Milo's bombing the squadron and the M & M Syndicate.

(p.113-114) Here the Dead Man's mystery is explained.

(p.114) On Dr. Stubbs - What is his problem? NOTE his final comment on page 114. Contrast his presentation with that of Doc Daneeka. How does a sane man react to what is going on?

Chapter 11 - "Captain Black"

HINT: Before getting into this chapter read up on a guy named Senator Joseph McCarthy, his activities with the House Un-American Activities Committee and going's on in the 1950's.

(p.117) "Without realizing how it had come about, the combat men in the squadron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them." Can you imagine such a silly thing?

(p.117) Did you know what pledge and allegience meant when you first said them? Do you now?

Chapter 12 - "Bologna"

(p.121) What did Sergeant Knight do that caused the rest of the men to fear so greatly the raid on Bologna?

Read page 127 carefully. Does Yossarian seem "insane" to you now?

(p.131) HINT: Notice the Chief's decision to die of pneumonia. What does this tell you about the time of this sequence?

Chapter 13 - "Major _____ de Coverley"

Ask for the illustrated lecture on ____________ names.

(p.141) What part did Yossarian have in Kraft's death? See page 107.

Chapter 14 - "Kid Sampson"

Notice the difference in tone in this chapter. Why does Heller include this at this point? What has he done to the story and the action?

Chapter 15 - "Piltchard and Wren"

What is the relationship between Orr and Yossarian? Why does Yossarian wait until Orr returns before leaving?



Literary Allusion




Black Humor

Dr. Stubbs


Havermeyer and Yossarian are both bombardiers but differ greatly in their approach and attitude. What man do the drews prefer? Why?

In what sense could Heller be ridiculing Senator Joe McCarthy through the character of Captain Black?

What part did Yossarian have in Draft's death?

5 point bonus - Who is T.S.Eliot?

Chapter 16 - "Luciana"

HINT: Notice carefully Aarfy's attitude toward women. This will prove to be of major importance later in the book.

(p.169) HINT: 40 missions? When does this episode take place? Therefore when does the bombing of Bologna take place? Timewise?

Chapter 17 - "The Soldier in White"

HINT: This chapter, like the one before it, is a return to an earlier time.

(p.177) "That was the secret Snowden had spilled to him on the mission to Avignon - they were out to get him; and Snowden had spilled it all over the back of the plane." What this is all about will be explained in full later on, but basically it is here that Yossarian really comes to the realization that if he stays here and continues to fly - the enemy - will get him.
It is also part of "Snowden's Dream."

(p.179) "It is not my business to save lives." If this is not a doctor's job as Doc Daneeka suggests, then what is his job?

Why is this chapter called the "Soldier in White?"

Chapter 18 - "The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice"

(p.185) Although Mrs.Scheisskopf claims she is an atheist, Yossarian and Heller prove she is not. She is offended by his statements which prove she does care. Are you an atheist?

(p.188) "We're all in this business of illusion together." On one level the doctor is talking about the illusion of sickness that keeps the men out of fighting. What other illusions are the characters involved in?

This entire chapter has to do with what we see. Don't see. Want to see. What are Heller's apparent comments?

Chapter 19 - "Colonel Cathcart"

(p.192) "Colonel Cathcart was impervious to absolutes(Check the dictionary for a good joke.)

(p.199) Notice Heller's parody of prejudice. All the old trite sayings are here in a new light. Hopefully some transference is made to your own feelings about prejudice, i.e. it is absurd.

Did you know that most "snack" foods have no nutritional value and some advertise the fact.

(p.202) The chaplain's comments about Yossarian's doing something desperate can be considered a foreshadowing. He does.

Chapter 20 - "Corporal Whitcomb"

Corporal Whitcomb = A.T. Tappman's conscience.

(p.207) The stranger = the CID man

(p.210) Naked man = Yossarian

Chapter 21 - "General Dreedle"

HINT: The naked man in formation (p.214) is also the naked man in the tree at Snowden's funeral(p. 210). How is this a form of rebellion and rejection? (p.223) Yossarian refuses to wear the uniform of the military. In this way he is rebelling against the rules and rejecting the army. By casting off the symbol of the military, he is denying his part in it and all responsibility for their actions, and for Snowden's death(p.223).

(p.224) Notice that Peckem, like many of us, is far more concerned with how he appears. He cares little for the practicality of his orders or to what really happens as a result of them. Like Scheisskopf and his parades.

(p.215) Can you guess who is the ultimate source of the Colonel's tomatoes? If these guys are supposed to be fighting a war, why are they messing around with tomatoes and eggs?

(p.218) The squadron benefits from the bombing because the men all own stock in M & M.

(p.223) That man was Snowden.

(p.231) Here the Snowden episode is repeated. Note carefully the new details.

Read carefully and see if you can figure out how Milo makes a profit on eggs.

Chapter 23 - "Nately's Old Man"

This is one of the central chapters of the book. All major themes are touched on.

(p.246) Why does Aarfy treat Nately so well? Again, Heller has shown us in a humorous way the truth about many people and the motivation for friendships.

(p.250-253) This episode between Nately and Nately's Whore's Old Man is one of the most important passages in the book. Here Heller presents us with two different attitudes toward life and war. Think carefully about the two and ask yourself which you feel should be your attitude and which actually would be if you were confronted with a life or death choice.

Chapter 24 - "Milo"

This chapter has a lot to do with people's value systems. Why is Milo not punished for the bombing of the squadron? Why is this not investigated? Why does he do it? (p.261) Why doesn't he bomb the bridge?

Read carefully the last paragraph on page 272. Heller is again commenting in an ironic fashion about enterprise. P.S. He doesn't like our attitude.

Chapter 25 - "The Chaplain"

(p.275) ontology - the study of the nature of being.

(p.280) The naked man and the man with the mustache are Yossarian and Milo.

(p.285) The return of Flume. Remember he disappeared in the early chapters.

(p.289) deja-vu - Yes, it happened that morning.

(p.291) Consider briefly the reality of Colonel Cathcart's desire for personal publicity. Riots and demonstrations which were postponed because the T.V. cameras were late. Agnew's charges of biased news casters. It happens. Witness the election of Eisenhower, a war hero.

Chapter 26 - "Aarfy"

NOTE: The tone of the novel is beginning to shift.

(p.295) Nately cannot accept the reality of the girl's profession. He does love her. She feels nothing. Like Milo, she seeks thrills and money.

Aarfy is further characterized in this chapter. HINT: He can't hear because of altitude pressure.

(p.297) Yossarian is wounded. The remainder of the chapter he floats between reality(?) and a drug induced fantasy.

Chapter 27 - "Nurse Duckett"

(p.302) Dr. Sanderson Heller is mocking the Freudian School of Psychiatry in which personality disorders are related to problems in sexual adjustment.

(p.304) Notice that Yossarian constantly reverses roles. He consoles the Chaplain, analyzes the analyst, etc.

(p.311) The source of Wintergreen's power is revealed.

(p.312) Read carefully the conversation between Sanderson and Yossarian. Does Yo Yo sound so crazy? Who else but a crazy man would fly missions?

Chapter 28 - "Dobbs"

HINT: This is a major chapter. Read carefully.

(p.315) NOTE: Yossarian is desperate enough to consider killing Colonel Cathcart.

(p.316-318) HINT: Read carefully and consider how Orr performs.

(p.318) MAJORCA?

(p.320) Orr offers Yossarian a chance.

NOTE: Herein is the essence of Orr.

Where is Orr? The clues have all been given.

Chapter 29 - "Peckem"

(p.327) This chapter begins with a time shift to the period before the war.

(p.329) Herein begins the circle of paperwork Major Major gets caught in.

(p.331-333) The essence of war is explained. Read carefully.

(p.336) Who do you kill in war time? Note Korn's use of the old argument "We have to kill them or they'll kill us." Is he absurd? (See "Slaughterhouse 5" and Truman's logic)

Chapter 30 - "Dunbar"

(p.339) Dunbar takes a stand. He choses to drop his bombs "hundreds of yards" past the village.

(p.341) Again, finally Snowden's dream.

(p.347) Recall Mcwatt's favorite pastime - buzzing people. This time he zapps. Kid Sampson.

(p.349) NOTE: 1) Doc Daneeka is loggen in on the plane but isn't there.

2) McWatt's choice - Now he is "The craziest combatant of them all."

Chapter 31 - "Mrs. Daneeka"

(p.350) Why must Doc Daneeka be dead if he isn't?

Doc also ceases to exist existentially. The again, he never was.

Chapter 32 - "Yo-Yo's Roomies"

(p.355) What is Snowden's secret?

(p.355) NOTE: Replacements are possible. Why then hasn't Cathcart gotten more before?

(p.358) Doc Daneeka is killed by his own greed. He earned extra money if he flew regularly. Since he was afraid to fly, he simply logged his name on the list and didn't go. Hot a bad idea - unless you are dealing with a group of people whose reality is military records.

(p.360) NOTE: The Yo-Yo's new roomies dispose of the dead man. Why can't Yossarian do this?

Why do the characters seem to accept the written "truth" when it contradicts what they should be able to see?

Chapter 33 - "Nately's Whore"

(p.364) "We'll never be able to convince anyone we're superior without our uniforms." Do clothes make the man?
P.S. the military just (1972) passed a rule that officers must be treated as officers even out of uniform.

Chapter 34 - "Thanksgiving"

A rather interesting chapter title, don't you think? Why do you suppose, Heller called it that?

(p.371) Note that it is Dunbar and Yossarian who react with anger to the prank. Why? Was it funny?

(p.372) A.T. Tappman has adopted Yossarian's method of dealing with the war. He also has mastered the art of protective rationalization. Why does this require "no character?"

(p.376) Who "disappears" Dunbar? Why? Why does Duckett warn Yossarian?

Chapter 35 - "Milo the Militant"

NOTE: Three very important deaths. Why do these people die? Add them to your list - include notes on how they go.

(p.391) F.O.B. = Free On Board

E.O.M. = End Of Month

(p.385) Why were there no parachutes? Ask Milo, it's his chapter.

NOTE: It isn't as funny now, is it?

Chapter 36 - "The Cellar"

(p.387) Our friends are dying. The ones who see the reality are now into it.

(p.397) After his interrogation, Tappman resolves to do something. See what happens.

Chapter 37 - "General Scheisskopf"

Total absurdity. All the loose ends are starting together.

Chapter 38 - "Kid Sister"

(p.401) Now why is Nately's Whore or Nately's Whore's sister trying to kill Yossarian? Because she blames Yossarian for his death.

(p.407) Note that Hungry Joe's worst fears are realized. Huple's cat does sleep on his face.

(p.410)Havermeyer identifies Yossarian's dilemma, i.e. if Yossarian flies and flies only milk runs, then his friends would have to fly more of the dangerous missions.

(p.411) Yossarian's offer "Put a gun on and start marching with me" is only slightly in jest. As in CUCKOO'S NEST and GRAPES OF WRATH, the weak will wait to see what happens before they follow through in their support.
Havermeyer, Appleby, and the others want to gain but not to loose.

(p.412) Note the reasons that the general staff does not want to court martial Yossarian.

(p.413) Captain Black = Paul Lazaro

NOTE: This is the thematic center of the book!

Chapter 39 - "The Eternal City"

(p.414) "The country was in peril; he (Yossarian) was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them." Think about it.

(p.414) "Every victim was a culprit, every culprit a victim, and somebody had to stand up sometime to try to break the lousy chain of inhereted habit that was imperiling them all."
Like Jim Casey, Tom Joad, Randall McMurphy. The essence of freedom is the risk.

(p.418) Does Catch-22 exist? Why is it important?

(p.421-427) As Yossarian begins his surrealistic journey throught the eteranl city make a list of the 12 different vignettes he sees. This chapter isn't, nor is it intended, to be funny. Like the film "Night in Fog," Heller serves to remind us of man's inhumanity.

(p.427) Remember Aarfy's attitudes towards women? Note how his double standard permits cruelty and that he kills her so she won't tell.

(p.429) The culminating irony of the chapter is that Yossarian is arrested instead of Aarfy. Heller's point is clear.

Chapter 40 - "Catch 22"

(p.433) "I'm afraid he's got you... You're either for us or against your country." Yossarian's dilemma is further defined. It's a Catch 22. He can't win in this situation.

(p.439) Note that Nately's Whore attacks each time, it seems to us at least, that Yossarian has made the wrong choice. Nately's Whore = conscience?

Chapter 41 - "Snowden"

(p.440) "Where were you born?"

"On a battlefield."
"No, no. What state were you born in?"
"In a state of innocence"
Somehow this exchange makes sense to the reader.

(p.445) Yossarian realizes that all of his pals are gone. Note the various forms of "death."

(p.446) The final telling of the story of Snowden's death. Yossarian can finally tell the whole, horrible story. Man's greed (Milo), the absurdity, indifference, are all responsible.

(p.450) Yossarian discovers Snowden's secret "Man is matter." Consider the importance of this to the thematic statement of the book.

Chapter 42 - "Yossarian"

Now Yossarian knows he's experienced it all. Orr couldn't tell him. No one could. But now he knows. Watch how he acts.

(p.454) "Between me and every ideal I always find Scheisskopf's, Peckems, Korns and Cathcarts."
The exchange between Danby (the professor) and Yossarian (me?) reveals the essence of the battle for life. "I must fight for me."

(p.458) See, I told you Orr was the star of the book. He saw early the alternatives.

(p.460) Orr has his girl with the shoe, Yossarian has his whore with the knife. (But then, he always needed more help)

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