© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Joseph Heller

The hospital as a symbol of shelter and safety

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Yossarian and the other men use the hospital as an excuse to avoid combat duty. Yossarian comments that the hospital has learned to tame death so that men can die with dignity. However, the hospital is not completely exempt from the madness that pervades the rest of the base or the battlefield. The soldier in white, the censored letters, and Yossarian's pretense of being someone else's dying son reveal the absurdity that still exists within the hospital walls.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...