World War II in “Catch-22”

The story begins when the main character Yossarian, who wants to avoid the violence of World War II, goes to a military hospital claiming that he has pain in his liver. His condition wasn’t quite jaundice so the doctors didn’t know how to treat it. Every morning the doctors would check on him to see if his bowels were moving and if the pain was any different.

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But he would keep saying his bowels haven’t moved and the pain is the same, which irritated the doctors because they suspected that his bowels were moving but he just hadn’t told anyone and they give him another pill. Yossarian likes the hospital because it has everything he needs.

They brought him decent food such as fresh meat and cool fruit juice or milk. In the hospital he has a lot of time that he can spend by himself other than a little time in the morning when he has to censor letters. He is supposed to black out military and strategic details from letters written home by American soldiers. Since Yossarian has to censor letters all the time he gets bored so he plays a game where he’ll delete random words according to however he’s feeling and he puts his signature as “Washington Irving.” Yossarian is in the ward with a few other men including: his friend Dunbar, a man who is completely wrapped in bandages except for a hole for his mouth for fluids to go in and out of him and can’t move who they call “the soldier in white.”

A new wounded officer is admitted to the ward one day and nobody in the ward can stand his cheerful attitude. He tries to convince the other men in the ward that “decent folk” deserve more votes. A chaplain visits Yossarian and he enjoys his company. Yossarian warns the chaplain about the patients in the other wards because they are crazy. After ten days of the Texan arriving at the hospital, almost all of the patients, even Yossarian, leave the ward because they can’t put up with the Texan. When they find that the “soldier in white” is dead Yossarian believes that the Texan killed him.

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