Study Guide

Catch-22 Chapter 38

By Joseph Heller

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Chapter 38

  • Yossarian has refused to fly any more missions. Go Yossarian! Or possibly "Go Yo-Yo!"
  • The Colonels decide that it is probably because his friend Nately was killed. They give him a rest leave in Rome, hoping he will fly more when he returns.
  • In Rome, Yossarian gives the news of Nately's death to Nately's prostitute. She immediately freaks out and begins attacking Yossarian. It is implied that she blames Yossarian for his death.
  • She tries to stab him with a potato peeler. When that doesn't work, she throws things at him.
  • Yossarian manages to pin her thrashing body down on the bed.
  • She tries to distract him. As she caresses him with one hand, her other hand picks a bread knife off the ground. Yossarian saves himself just in time.
  • Ready to defend himself, Yossarian is taken by surprise when she completely breaks down and starts crying. He starts to comfort her, only to find her still murderous.
  • Suddenly her kid sister comes at Yossarian with another knife. Yossarian gives up. He leaves.
  • After cleaning himself up in a restroom, Yossarian comes out, only to be ambushed by Nately's prostitute with a knife.
  • He escapes and flies back to Pianosa with Hungry Joe. Nately's prostitute is waiting there for him, so he captures her, flies back to Rome, dumps her, and comes back to Pianosa.
  • She shows up at his tent, dressed as a Pianosan farmer. Doesn't this sound like a cartoon?
  • Yossarian shouts at his roomies to hold her. They do. She promises to have sex with all of them if they let her go. So they do.
  • Yossarian escapes. As he wanders, he is approached first by a pilot in Dunbar's squadron, then by Appleby, then by Havermeyer. They all ask him the same questions: is it true that he has refused to fly more missions, is he a coward, is the administration going to court-martial him?
  • It seems like everyone has heard about Yossarian's refusal to fly. News travels fast.
  • At the end of the week, Yossarian discovers from Captain Black that the brothel in Rome where the men hang out has been flushed out by M.P.s. All the prostitutes were driven into the streets, even Nately's prostitute and her kid sister.
  • Yossarian feels bad for the kid sister. But not for Nately's lady.

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