Catch-22 Chapters 35-38 Summary

Chapter thirty-one begins with Nately expressing his desire to fly more missions to Yossarian. He wants to fly more missions in order to stay close to his girlfriend. Yossarian tries to dissuade him, because Nately has already met his mission requirement. Yossarian even suggests he apply for the now descesased Chief Halfoat's job. Nately tried to apply for the chief's job, but was turned down.

Yossarian then gave in and turned to the only person he knew could help keep Nately flying, Milo. Milo could get anything done and he did this by making the other person think that Milo's ideas were his ideas. This time the mark was an easy one it was Colonel Cathcart. Milo went to him expressing a desire to fly more missions because he had only flown five missions in the eleven months he had been on Pianosa. The colonel argued that his other contribution of running the syndicate outweighed any contribution he could have made flying missions. But Milo was resolute and Colonel Cathcart was about to give in, when he realized someone would be needed to run the syndicate. This is where Milo's genius comes through. The colonel wanted to run the syndicate himself and asked Milo what needed to be done. Milo made running the syndicate so complicated that the colonel gave up the idea. Then Milo led the colonel to the decision to allow the other pilots to fly missions in Milo's name. He also suggested upping the number of missions needed to go home. He, by his maneuvering, had fixed Nately's problem.

The men were scrambled the next morning to fly a bombing run over a ship the Germans were going to use to blockade a harbor. The men flew the mission with success, but in a midair collision Dobbs plane hit the plane Nately was on and both men were killed.

In all twelve men died in the plane collision that day. When he received the news Chaplain Tappman felt numb and terrified. He was terrified that some of his friends, namely Yossarian and Nately, would be among the dead. His fear was justified somewhat, while Yossarian had survived, Nately had not. While he was walking up to address the men gathered at the field, he was approached by a colonel and a major who told the chaplain to come with them. They put him into a car driven by an MP and took him to Group Headquarters. He was led to a room in the basement and questioned. He was questioned about the supposed stolen plum tomato. Colonel Cathcart even appeared to say the tomato which he had given the chaplain, was stolen by the chaplain. He was told his signature was not his own signature and he was the one signing Washington Irving to documents. He was found guilty of these charges and any other charges they would make up at a later date. Then he was let go and told not to leave the island.

He was incensed by this treatment and by the death of the men on the planes. He met Colonel Korn on his way out and told him he was going to General Dreedle to talk about the number of missions the men had to fly. That is when he found out General Dreedle had been replaced by General Peckem.

General Peckem has arrived at Group Headquarters to take his place at the helm of the bombing group. Only there is a little problem, Colonel Scheisskopf, has been promoted to Lieutenant General and is now General Peckem's superior officer. This is because of General Peckem's own memorandum stating that Special Services should be in charge of combat operations. General Peckem is appalled and stunned by the news. He is even more flabbergasted, to learn the new general's order is to have the men march.

Yossarian and Hungry Joe flew to Rome. Yossarian gave the news of Nately's death to his prostitute girlfriend. She did not take the news well. In fact she tried to kill him with first a potato peeler and then a bread knife, she hit, kicked, clawed, and bit him. It was all he could do to defend himself, then when he felt she was subdued, her kid sister came at him with another bread knife. She somehow followed him back to camp and twice tried to attack him. He and Hungry Joe had to return her twice to Rome. Finally she stopped trying to kill him, but he was always on guard in case she returned. He marched backwards and kept his hand on his gun butt at all times.

The men found out that Yossarian had refused to fly any more missions. Colonel Cathcart was not happy about it, but did not know what to do about it either. It was a ray of hope for the other soldiers, if he could get away with it, maybe they could too. The men would only talk to Yossarian in the cover of darkness in whispered tones for fear of being somehow drawn into the trouble Yossarian was in.

Yossarian found out from Captain Black that Nately's prostitute girlfriend and her kid sister were gone. The MPs had raided the apartment house they lived in and thrown them all out into the streets. Yossarian was upset by this turn of events, somehow he felt in a way responsible for them.

These chapters dealt with Nately's desire to fly more missons and the aftermath of the plane collision in which he dies, also Yossarian's and Nately's girlfriend's reaction to the news of Nately's death. It also focused on the trumped up charges against the chaplain. Heller shows in these chapters how the loss of one individual can set into motion a chain reaction amongst others that is unexpected and sad.

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