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by Joseph Heller

Catch-22 Absurdity Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

After he made up his mind to spend the rest of the war in the hospital, Yossarian wrote letters to everyone he knew saying that he was in the hospital but never mentioning why. One day he had a better idea. To everyone he knew he wrote that he was going on a very dangerous mission. "They asked for volunteers. It's very dangerous, but someone has to do it. I'll write you the instant I get back." And he had not written anyone since. (1.10)

Yossarian is mad because he deliberately cuts himself off from all outside contact in the hospital by lying to his friends and family and letting them all think he is dead.

Quote #2

[On the soldier in white]: Sewn into the bandages over the insides of both elbows were zippered lips through which he was fed clear fluid from a clear jar. A silent zinc pipe rose from the cement on his groin and was coupled to a slim rubber hose that carried waste from his kidneys and dripped it efficiently into a clear, stoppered jar on the floor. When the jar on the floor was full, the jar feeding his elbow was empty, and the two were simply switched quickly so that stuff could drip back into him. (1.19)

The jar holding the contents of the soldier in white's groin is presumably waste, and the fact that the two jars are switched means that waste drips out of him only to go back in. This is an unhealthy and illogical procedure. No wonder the poor man dies.

Quote #3

"You killed him because he was a nigger," Dunbar said.

"You fellas are crazy," the Texan cried. "They don't allow niggers in here. They got a special place for niggers." (1.31-32)

The Texan is so blinded by his bigotry that he completely misses the point. Instead of defending himself rationally, saying that he did not kill the soldier in white, the Texan instead goes off on a tangent, spurred on by his prejudice against African-Americans.

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