Study Guide

Catch-22 Chapter 29

By Joseph Heller

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Chapter 29

  • The next day there is still no word on Orr, and the administration considers him dead. They arrange for Sergeant Whitcomb to send a form letter of condolence to Orr's family.
  • But there is other news that is exciting the men. The parade for Sunday has been cancelled.
  • We discover that General Peckem has declared war against General Dreedle. Colonel Scheisskopf has been sent overseas to help Peckem.
  • Peckem is widely known as a highly educated but also highly stuck-up commander. He likes to use big words when talking and writing.
  • He welcomes Colonel Schiesskopf mainly because he wants someone to impress with his linguistic skills.
  • But Scheisskopf is not as educated as Peckem and doesn't laugh at any of Peckem's witticisms. Disappointment follows.
  • We find out that Scheisskopf's job is to produce memoranda – but he is terrible at writing. So Peckem, unperturbed, tells him to pass the job along down the line until someone completes it.
  • Scheisskopf keeps asking about parades. Peckem is not interested.
  • We learn that Peckem's mission is to capture every bomber in the Air Force to defeat Dreedle. He justifies it by saying that conquering Dreedle will give the Air Force the necessary aircraft to carry out their other operations.
  • Scheisskopf still pushes the issue of parades. Finally, Peckem allows Scheisskopf to schedule parades then send out memoranda canceling them.
  • We discover that Peckem has made up a term called a bomb pattern in which the bombing planes fly in interesting and close formations to create spectacular aerial pictures when they drop their bombs.
  • Peckem orders his men to bomb a tiny Italian mountain village under the pretext that it will form a roadblock against the Germans.
  • The men don't want to do it because they are concerned for the safety of the innocent villagers. This is one of the few times that the men actually rebel against the administration.
  • Korn comes in and bullies the men. He reveals that they don't care about the roadblock but only the bomb formation.
  • Cathcart orders the men to do it anyway.

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