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Free Study Guide-Catch-22 by Joseph Heller-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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CHAPTER 42: YOSSARIAN

Summary

Yossarian tells Major Danby that he is breaking his deal with Cathcart and Korn. Danby is surprised and tells Yossarian that Cathcart will initiate court-martial proceedings against him if Yossarian does not accept. They will probably charge Yossarian with incompetence, insubordination, refusal to engage the enemy, and desertion. He tells Danby that he will probably run away.

The chaplain runs in excitedly, carrying news that Orr is safe in Sweden. Orr has rowed all the way; Yossarian realizes that Orr had planned his escape all along and that crashing into the sea was part of a clever plan. Yossarian regrets that he had refused to fly with Orr, when Orr had asked him. Danby tries to dissuade Yossarian from running away, but he has made up his mind to follow Orrís lead. The chaplain is ecstatic and helps Yossarian get ready for the journey . Yossarian decides to go to Rome, pick up the prostituteís sister, and leave for Sweden. Yossarian boards a plane and jumps out with a parachute. Natelyís prostitute is waiting by the plane door and tries to stab Yossarian as he jumps. The knife misses him by inches, and he survives.


Notes

Yossarian finally does the honorable thing. In his case escape is more honorable than accepting Colonel Kornís deal. Yossarian is willing to risk everything for the sake of his ideals. His actions becomes a source of inspiration for Danby, just like Orrís. Yossarianís escape route is somewhat uncertain. At the novelís end the reader does not know for sure whether Yossarian will reach Sweden. The novel ends on a note of hope, which is a sharp contrast to the pessimism and despair that runs through most of the novel.

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