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If Yossarian - If Yossarian's assault on Nurse Duckett whom...

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Unformatted text preview: If Yossarian's assault on Nurse Duckett, whom he barely knows at this point, is meant to be amusing, it presents a problem of interpretation unlike any other in the novel. Duckett is angular, ascetic, and proper. If Yossarian gave her a little tweak or even a pinch on the bottom, his behavior might be understood as that of a naughty little boy, an immature man who maybe needs to grow up a little. But what he does is, for many readers, disconcerting. As Nurse Duckett bends over to smooth the sheets, Yossarian slips his hand "stealthily into the narrow space between her knees and, all at once, brought it up swiftly under her dress as far as it would go." The nurse shrieks, squirms, vaults, and seesaws back and forth on what Heller calls "her divine fulcrum" for "almost a full fifteen seconds" before breaking free. With "an ashen, trembling face," she then backs into Dunbar who seconds" before breaking free....
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