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Catch-22

Catch-22

by Joseph Heller

Catch-22 Chapter 42 Summary

  • Yossarian tells Major Danby that he is breaking off the deal. He tells him that he only accepted in a moment of weakness.
  • Yossarian says Cathcart and Korn wouldn't dare court-martial him because it would look bad after the Nazi-attack incident.
  • Danby answers that they've prepared another report that says Yossarian stabbed an innocent girl during a black market operation.
  • Yossarian realizes that they can prepare as many official reports as they want and pay off as many people as they need to act as witnesses to their story.
  • Yossarian arrives at his solution – to run away. Danby tries to talk him out of it, telling him to accept the deal and be sent home.
  • But Danby is still idealistic and spouts on about morals.
  • Yossarian argues with him, saying that, as his country is no longer in danger, now he is going to look after himself.
  • Yossarian, moved by Danby's plight, tries to name people who could help him – Milo and Wintergreen. But Danby says that they are all pals with Colonel Cathcart now.
  • Suddenly the chaplain comes bursting into the room with electrifying news about Orr.
  • Orr has turned up alive and well in Sweden. Oh my.
  • Yossarian realizes that Orr had planned it all – getting shot down in every flight to make it look real, using his wily wiles, and rowing to Sweden. Orr's not an idiot after all. Yossarian wishes he had taken Orr up on his offer and flown with him. He could've escaped by now.
  • This gives Yossarian hope. He even says that Clevinger might be waiting for the war to stop to come out of his cloud.
  • He plans to run away to Sweden. He asks his friends for help. The chaplain runs off to find Yossarian's clothes. Yossarian asks Danby to keep his mouth shut until he can hitch a ride to Rome.
  • The chaplain successfully obtains Yossarian's clothes. Score one for the team.
  • The chaplain considers the news of Orr a "miracle" and it inspires him. He promises to stay and persevere against his superiors. He practices punching the air in preparation for hitting Captain Black and Corporal Whitcomb.
  • Danby is still doubtful. Yossarian asks him if he plans to rat him out.
  • Danby hesitates, then blurts out no. He gives Yossarian money and hurries him out the door.
  • As he escapes, Nately's prostitute ambushes him at the door. She almost succeeds in stabbing him, but Yossarian manages to escape.
  • He takes off. Free at last.

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