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by Joseph Heller
Catch-22 Chapter 41 Summary
Yossarian wakes up in the hospital, just as two incompetent surgeons are about to start cutting into him. After he argues with them, they knock him out with anesthesia. Yossarian wakes up to find a strange man with a mean face telling him cryptically, "We've got your pal, buddy. We've got your pal." Yossarian doesn't know what this means or who is pal is. Creepy. The chaplain suggests that maybe he's Yossarian's pal. The chaplain is proud that Yossarian saved Cathcart and Korn from a Nazi assassin. Yossarian realizes this is how the administration is painting the attack from Nately's prostitute. He tells the chaplain the truth and then decides to break off the deal with Cathcart and Korn. We discover that Hungry Joe has died. He suffocated from Huple's cat sitting on his face in his sleep. Then, the strange man with the mean face comes back and repeats his message: "We've got your pal, buddy." Yossarian, scared, tries to strangle him, but the man escapes. Yossarian is afraid. He remembers a time he felt similarly scared and helpless, in the plane above Avignon, as he helped Snowden dress his wounds. Yossarian remembers this painful incident: The morphine has been taken by Milo. All Yossarian has to offer as painkillers are aspirin. Snowden refuses them. Yossarian cuts off Snowden's trouser leg and dresses the wound in his thigh. He gains confidence as he works. He bandages the thigh wound well. Snowden keeps complaining that he is cold and all Yossarian can say to comfort him is "there, there." Then Snowden indicates there is another wound inside his flak suit. Yossarian sees a stain just below Snowden's armpit. He rips the flak suit open to dress it. Then, Snowden's slimy, bloody insides come gushing out. Yossarian freaks out. He considers this to be Snowden's terrible secret – that man is matter. Man is mortal. It is a horrifying epiphany for him. And another hugely important passage. Snowden says he is cold as he dies. Mechanically, Yossarian answers, "there, there."
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