by Joseph Heller
Catch-22 Sex Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Women killed Hungry Joe. His response to them as sexual beings was one of frenzied worship and idolatry. They were lovely, satisfying, maddening manifestations of the miraculous, instruments of pleasure too powerful to be measured, too keen to be endured, and too exquisite to be intended for employment by the base, unworthy man. He could interpret their naked presence in his hands only as a cosmic oversight destined to be rectified speedily, and he was driven always to make what carnal use of them he could in the fleeting moment or two he felt he had before Someone caught wise and whisked them away. He could never decide whether to furgle them or photograph them, for he had found it impossible to do both simultaneously. (6.8)
Hungry Joe has such lust for women that he captures their images forever in photographs. His desire to photograph them is as strong as his desire to take women sexually – he is caught between the two choices indecisively.
"All right, I'll dance with you," she said, before Yossarian could even speak, "But I won't let you sleep with me […]."
She seized Yossarian's hand and pulled him out on the dance floor. She was a worse dancer than even he was, but she threw herself about to the synthetic jitterbug music with more uninhibited pleasure than he had ever observed […]. (16.2-6)
Luciana fascinates Yossarian because of the contradiction between her words and actions. Luciana keeps repeating that she won't sleep with Yossarian, but her actions may indicate otherwise. Luciana is the very incarnation of impulse and desire.
[…] Yossarian hurried as fast as he could all the way back to the cabaret and the bleary-eyed bleached blonde in the open orange satin blouse. She seemed infatuated with Aarfy, but he prayed intensely for her luscious aunt as he ran, or for a luscious girl friend, sister, cousin or mother who was just as libidinous and depraved. She would have been perfect for Yossarian, a debauched, coarse, vulgar, amoral, appetizing slattern whom he had longed for and idolized for months. (16.28)
Despite all Yossarian's claims of falling in love, this quote might reveal that he is more lustful than loving. He sees women as dehumanized objects for sex. Here, he does not even care for the actual girl, but would be fine with her "friend, sister, cousin or mother." Yossarian also seems to have long-standing obsessions with girls; he has been longing for this girl "for months."