Study Guide

Catch-22 Chapter 16

By Joseph Heller

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Chapter 16

  • Yossarian meets a beautiful young Italian girl in Rome named Luciana.
  • She tells him several times that she won't let him sleep with her, but she allows him to dance with her, buy her dinner, and walk her home.
  • After seeing Luciana home safely, Yossarian hurries back to the hotel, hoping to secure the services of a prostitute in Aarfy's company because he's all hot and bothered by this point. No such luck.
  • When he returns, everyone is mad at Aarfy for taking his prostitute safely home and not giving her to any of them. Hungry Joe is particularly distraught.
  • Yossarian goes to sleep only to wake up the morning to find Luciana waiting for him. She yells at him in Italian for living so messily and quickly cleans his place up.
  • In the meantime, Yossarian cleans himself up and when he comes out, they have sex. Yossarian thinks he's falling in love.
  • We discover that the Italians, too, are victims of Catch-22. Luciana and Yossarian argue about why he cannot marry her and Luciana's logic follows the self-defeating format of Catch-22.
  • They go for a second round of sex, but Hungry Joe walks in on them, sees them naked, and bolts to get his camera.
  • Yossarian slams the door shut and urges Luciana to get dressed.
  • Being a man of many talents, Yossarian hurls his body against the door to hold it shut – while he gets dressed. Yeah, we don't know either.
  • When Hungry Joe finally breaks in, the couple scrams.
  • On the way out, they run across Nately, who is depressed because he's spent all his money on the woman he's in love with and now is broke. She abandons him because he can't pay her.
  • Luciana gives Yossarian her name and address so he can find her again when he returns, but he tears it up as soon as she leaves. Then he immediately regrets it and rushes back, trying to find the pieces. Predictably, his search is futile.
  • Yossarian spends his last day searching fruitlessly everywhere for Luciana, and eventually takes out his sexual frustration on an old friend – the maid with lime-colored panties at the hotel. Lovely. We don't know why they're lime-colored. What are your ideas?
  • When he gets back to base, Hungry Joe is smiling. Yossarian's heart sinks. This can only mean one thing. The number of required missions has been raised. It's now forty.
  • This all happens before the Avignon mission. Just to keep you on track with the timeline.

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