Study Guide

Catch-22 Chapter 30

By Joseph Heller

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Chapter 30

  • The men bomb the village, but Dunbar drops his bombs far from the village itself so that they don't harm anyone.
  • After this, Dunbar "wastes away."
  • We discover that the chaplain's visit to Wintergreen has proven futile.
  • Yossarian channels his frustration into thoughts about taking a machine gun and killing all his oppressors – the Germans, Havermeyer, and Appleby.
  • We learn that Orr crash-landed in the water because Havermeyer and Appleby insisted on flying straight to the target with no evasive action.
  • Yossarian replays the first Avignon mission in his mind. We learn that when Yossarian treated Snowden, he cared for the wrong wound.
  • Thanks to the disastrous Avignon mission, Yossarian feels safer flying with McWatt than Dobbs or Huple, even though McWatt has a love of flying dangerously. Basically nothing is safe anywhere.
  • When training the replacement crew (to replace Orr), McWatt flies dangerously close to the ground, hugging every hill and valley with his plane.
  • Yossarian, scared out in mind, gets McWatt in a chokehold and threatens very seriously to kill him if he doesn't bring the plane to a safer altitude.
  • McWatt complies.
  • Yossarian feels guilty for threatening McWatt.
  • But McWatt seems OK with it. And it hasn't stopped him from flying over the beach where Yossarian and the men relax.
  • One day, Yossarian is on the beach with Nurse Duckett. Apparently they are dating now. He is constantly affectionate with her.
  • Nurse Duckett flirts with all the men and thrives on male attention. Nurse Cramer shadows her, silent and disapproving of Yossarian.
  • Yossarian likes Nurse Duckett because she knows how to keep quiet.
  • He stares at the sea thinking of his friends who have died in it – Clevinger and Orr.
  • One day, McWatt buzzes the beach and Kid Sampson jumps up from his raft to touch the oncoming plane.
  • McWatt's plane, flying too low, slices Kid Sampson in half with its propellers.
  • Everyone on the beach panics. They retreat and watch McWatt's plane climb higher and higher in slow spirals.
  • Sergeant Knight remarks that several other men, including Doc Daneeka, are in the plane with McWatt – he worries for them.
  • But Doc Daneeka is right there on the ground, watching the plane with everyone else.
  • Everyone wonders why McWatt doesn't come down. But Yossarian suddenly realizes why. He runs and shouts hysterically.
  • After all the other men (except Knight's imaginary Doc Daneeka) have jumped out with parachutes, McWatt flies his plane straight into a mountain, committing suicide.
  • Colonel Cathcart, upset by McWatt's death, increases the number of missions to sixty-five.

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