Study Guide

Catch-22 Chapter 12

By Joseph Heller

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Chapter 12

  • The men are beside themselves with fear of Bologna. They give thanks for the incessant rain, which delays their takeoff.
  • They stare with hatred at the maps where the bomb line is marked by a red ribbon. In a trancelike state, they converge around the map even at night, trying to move the bomb line so that it rises above Bologna.
  • Clevinger remarks to Yossarian how illogical the men are. They believe that if the bomb line were moved above Bologna, the mission would be cancelled.
  • So Yossarian sneaks up to the map at night and moves the bomb line up.
  • The next morning, the mission is cancelled.
  • General Peckem is awarded a medal for the Bologna mission because he was the only one with the nerve to request one. Everyone agrees that he is a jerk.
  • We go back to the period right before the Bologna mission when Yossarian had a talk with Wintergreen. Wintergreen tells him to prepare to die.
  • Clevinger gives the same advice.
  • Yossarian, in a defining moment, tells Clevinger that the enemy is anybody who is going to get you killed, no matter what side he favors. That includes Colonel Cathcart. This sounds significant to us.
  • Clevinger isn't convinced.
  • Yossarian tries to convince his friends to steal a car and make a run for it to avoid Bologna. Chief White Halfoat arrives in his car and the men (Yossarian, Chief White Halfoat, Dunbar, and Nately) take off.
  • Unfortunately, Halfoat is drunk and doesn't turn on his headlights. They crash into an embankment and the car starts sinking into the mud.
  • Clevinger and McWatt arrive in time to rescue them.
  • We find out that Chief White Halfoat got into a fight with Colonel Korn, but we aren't told why.
  • Hungry Joe isn't enlisted to go to Bologna but is scared that he'll be called to replace someone. He has a nightmare that Huple's cat is sitting on his face and suffocating him.
  • When he wakes up, Huple's cat is sitting on his face and suffocating him. Hungry Joe creates an awful racket trying to shoot the cat (and to miss his face in the process). Yossarian intervenes; obviously, he says, Hungry Joe should take on the cat in a fair fight.
  • But the cat chickens out and runs away.
  • Hungry Joe goes back to sleep.

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