Study Guide

Catch-22 Chapter 24

By Joseph Heller

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Chapter 24

  • When spring arrives, Milo tries to convince military personnel to allow him to borrow planes for the syndicate to ship products. He tempts them with offers of fresh fruit and meat. Eventually he succeeds in securing the Air Force's planes.
  • Milo has the military's American emblems and ideals removed and replaced by "M & M Enterprises, Fine Fruits and Produce." The "M & M" stands for "Milo & Minderbinder" to "nullify any impression that the syndicate was a one-man operation."
  • One day, when Milo returns with German bomber planes full of produce, he lands to find Colonel Cathcart and Korn armed and waiting to capture the enemy and confiscate the planes.
  • Milo is indignant, ranting that the planes belong to the syndicate. He recognizes no enemy, only members of the syndicate.
  • Cathcart and Korn back down. Smart move.
  • Soon, Milo has transformed his syndicate into an international cartel whose transport is provided entirely by military planes. Air Force planes are supplying their enemies with food.
  • Soon, Milo turns his enterprising eyes to the military planes themselves. Since he always knows the whereabouts of all the military planes, Milo arranges to profit off of Germany attacking American bases like Pianosa.
  • We learn that Mudd, the dead man in Yossarian's tent, was in the battle the day that Milo's Germans attacked Pianosa. He was killed because Milo warned the Germans that the Americans were coming.
  • When Yossarian confronts Milo about it, Milo denies having killed Mudd. He sees the whole arrangement purely as business and thinks that the attack was inevitable; all he did was make arrangements to profit. He sees nothing wrong with his actions.
  • We learn that M & M Enterprises is on the point of collapse because there is no demand for Milo's Egyptian cotton, which is piling up in his warehouses. Costs skyrocket.
  • To solve the problem, Milo bombs his own base in Pianosa with German planes.
  • Colonel Cathcart, completely bewildered and scared out of his wits by the surprise attacks, looks up into the sky and realizes Milo is bombing them. He races to the control tower and demands that Milo ground his planes.
  • Milo, right there in the control tower, ignores Cathcart and tells his men to do the job right. He points out a supply shed that is still standing and sends the Germans back out to destroy it.
  • Initially, the American media reacts with righteous indignation, condemning Milo for betraying his country. But when Milo reveals the tremendous profit he made off the attack, they back off. Because they all have a share in the syndicate.
  • Doc Daneeka is one of the few people who still sees wrong in Milo's actions. During the bombing, Doc Daneeka did not run but performed his duty – tending to the wounded right there on the ground.
  • Ready for change of topic? We are taken back to Snowden's funeral right after the Avignon mission. After landing, the naked Yossarian is cared for by Doc Daneeka.
  • He continues to go about his business naked and even watches Snowden's funeral in the nude, seated up in a tree.
  • Milo finds Yossarian during the funeral and asks him to taste something. Because Yossarian refuses to come down, Milo climbs up the tree. He gives Yossarian chocolate-covered cotton to try. Yossarian spits it back in his face. Milo is desperate to serve this chocolate-covered cotton to the men and get it off his hands.
  • During the funeral, the chaplain who is performing the ceremony looks up and sees Yossarian naked in the tree. He is incredulous. Yossarian mistakes his gestures of surprise as the culmination of a very emotional funeral.
  • As they watch the funeral, Milo grieves for Snowden, but keeps directing all his grief back onto the dying M & M Enterprises. He begs Yossarian to try the chocolate-covered cotton again, but Yossarian refuses.
  • Finally, Yossarian suggests that Milo sell the cotton back to the government by bribing them. At first, Milo is indignant at the thought of wronging the government. But then he remembers that he's a scum bucket, scalawag, and a ratfink. He realizes that he could make a profit and that making a profit cannot possibly be against the law.
  • Milo leaves to start his bribery but quickly shimmies up the tree again to tell Yossarian to please start wearing clothes again or else it might start a naked trend and then Milo will never get the cotton off his hands.

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