Study Guide

Catch-22 Chapter 25

By Joseph Heller

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Chapter 25

  • The chaplain begins to doubt his faith in God.
  • We find out that he is painfully shy and insecure.
  • The chaplain thinks that he has met Yossarian somewhere before, at an important occasion, and had told Yossarian that there was nothing he could do to help him.
  • After the weirdly inspirational moment when the chaplain sees the naked man in a tree at Snowden's funeral, he decides that it was either a holy vision or the product of a delusional mind. The fact that it might have been real never occurs to him.
  • We discover that Yossarian and his circle have befriended the chaplain. It is an unexpected blessing for the chaplain, who has always been lonely and ostracized. He meets with them often at the officers' club. One night, Colonel Cathcart tries to throw him out of the officers' club. (This will be explained later.)
  • The chaplain loves and misses his beautiful wife and children profoundly, so deeply that he constantly has nightmares about them dying in horrible ways. He is paranoid for their safety but does not allow his fears to show in the short letters he sends home.
  • The chaplain is embarrassed that he was humiliated by 1) Colonel Cathcart, 2) Colonel Korn, and 3) Corporal Whitcomb. So he decides he needs to win some respect from the men. So he sets out, determined to talk to Major Major about the rising number of missions. Along the way, he almost collides with a figure running towards him but ducks into the woods just in time to evade him.
  • When he arrives, a sergeant lets him in because Major Major was gone. The chaplain thinks the men are playing a practical joke on him, and to avoid the embarrassment of showing his face, he jumps out of the window and runs home. Along the way, he almost collides again with a figure running towards him but evades him just in time.
  • When the chaplain gets home, he finds Corporal Whitcomb relaxing insolently in the chaplain's tent with bad news. Major Major visited while he was gone.
  • The chaplain takes this as a sign of fate and goes off again to find Major Major. At his office, the same sergeant refuses entry to the chaplain because Major Major is in. He finds out from the sergeant that Major Major had spoken to Yossarian about the rising number of missions and had told Yossarian there was nothing he could do to help him. This deflates the chaplain's enthusiasm and he leaves.
  • As he walks back, he runs into a ragged man living in the woods. It's Captain Flume. He has been living in the woods for some time because he is afraid that Chief White Halfoat will slit his throat in his sleep. He has the strange misconception that this is common knowledge to all the men and is surprised when the chaplain has never heard of it.
  • Flume tells the chaplain he will return once Halfoat dies of pneumonia. The chaplain takes his words as a mystical prophecy.
  • When the chaplain asks him where he sleeps, Flume misinterprets it to mean the chaplain wants to kill him too. He flees.
  • When the chaplain gets home, Corporal Whitcomb has been promoted to Sergeant Whitcomb by Colonel Cathcart. He is very proud of himself.
  • It turns out Colonel Cathcart thinks Whitcomb's idea of sending out form letters of condolence to the families of all the deceased or M.I.A. (missing in action) men is a good one. He thinks it will get him into The Saturday Evening Post.
  • He has also requested to see the chaplain.
  • When the chaplain arrives, Cathcart browbeats him and suggests that he hang around the officers' club sometimes to loosen up.
  • Cathcart then has an idea to volunteer his men for another mission to Avignon.
  • That night a drunken General Dreedle sees the chaplain at the officers' club and approves. Cathcart discreetly orders the chaplain to attend the officers club every night.
  • After the fight in the club where Chief White Halfoat punches Colonel Moodus, a drunken Dreedle changes his mind about the chaplain.
  • Cathcart tries to throw the chaplain out of the officers' club, but Yossarian and his boys defend him. He gets kicked out anyway.
  • Two months later, Cathcart raises the number of missions to sixty.
  • Is everyone caught up now?

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