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Free Study Guide-Catch-22 by Joseph Heller-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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CHAPTER 5: CHIEF WHITE HALFOAT

Summary

Chief White Halfoat is Daneekaís roommate. He is a "handsome, swarthy Indian from Oklahoma" who hates foreigners. Though he can barely read or write, he is appointed assistant intelligence officer to Captain Black. Chief Halfoat tells Yossarian and Daneeka about his family, who had an uncanny knack for finding oil. Oil prospectors would follow his family everywhere they went. This caused the familyís destruction.

Yossarian asks Dareeka whether he can ground someone in the affirmative. Yossarian asks the doctor if he would ground Orr since he is "crazy." Dareeka says he would if Orr asked him to. But, there is a catch, which the doctor calls "Catch-22": "Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isnít really crazy."


Notes

Chief White Halfoat is a bewildering character. His story sounds false and concocted. It is just one of the many tall-tales that Heller tells in this novel. Heller seems to retell the story of the displacement of the Native Americans in a comical and absurdist manner.

Daneeka has Yossarian in a spin with his explanation of "Catch- 22." "Catch-22" is an absurd paradoxical rule that is dreaded because it leaves them in a no-win situation.

At the end of the chapter we are given a description of Snowdenís mission over Avignon.

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