Study Guide

Catch-22 Chapter 31

By Joseph Heller

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Chapter 31

  • When Colonel Cathcart learns of Doc Daneeka's (fake) death, he raises the number of missions to seventy.
  • Sergeant Towser is the first to find out about Doc Daneeka's (still fake) death. He tells Gus and Wes, the Doc's doctors.
  • When Doc Daneeka (who is actually alive) goes to have his temperature taken, they tell him he is dead. He threatens to report them to Sergeant Towser. Needless to say, that doesn't work.
  • Mrs. Daneeka gets a telegram from the War Department that her husband has been killed in action. She and her children grieve tragically.
  • Just as the Doc's family is learning to cope with the catastrophe, a letter arrives from Doc Daneeka telling his wife frantically to disregard any bad news about him.
  • Mrs. Daneeka rejoices, writing back to him and sending a wire to the War Department informing them of their error.
  • They reply that there has been no error. They never send her letter forward to Doc Daneeka.
  • Mrs. Daneeka suddenly starts getting lots of offers of money concerning Doc Daneeka's death: GI insurance, the Veteran's Administration, and Social Security. She starts feeling better.
  • Meanwhile, Doc Daneeka is going crazy waiting for his wife to answer his last letter.
  • Everyone treats Doc Daneeka differently since he is dead. He is alienated from the men and they resent him for giving Cathcart another reason to raise the required number of missions.
  • Nobody consents to see or serve him. At this point, Doc Daneeka realizes that he is, in effect, dead.
  • In despair, he turns once again to his wife, writing a letter to her. He begs her to communicate with Colonel Cathcart and set things straight.
  • That day, she receives a letter of condolence from Cathcart. She is so touched by it that she disregards Daneeka's letter and moves with her children to Michigan, leaving no forwarding address behind.

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