ch. 9-10 - just Yossarian though). Heller uses Mudd as an...

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Chapters 9-10 “Yossarian, on the other hand, knew exactly who Mudd was. Mudd was the unknown soldier who had never had a chance, for that was the only thing anyone ever did know about all the unknown soldiers—they never had a chance. They had to be dead. And this dead one was really unknown, even though his belongings still lay in a tumble on the cot in Yossarian’s tent almost exactly as he had left them three months earlier the day he never arrived—all contaminated with death less than two hours later, in the same way that all was contaminated with death the very next week during the Great Big Siege of Bologna when the moldy odor of mortality hung wet in the air with the sulphurous fog and every man scheduled to fly was already tainted.” (p.108) This passage seems to deal a lot with the prospect of death and fate. The base is overrun with fear of becoming lost and unknown like how Mudd was treated. His life was treated like it never existed and all that matters about him is that he is dead and a burden on the living (mostly
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Unformatted text preview: just Yossarian though). Heller uses Mudd as an example and reinforcement of the fact that almost every soldier or pilot will probably die, and have many close calls where their life could end very easily. This fear caused by Mudd’s corpse spreads like a cancer and harms the morale of the base. For Mudd he is never lived and never did anything now that h has died. He represents all those who have died and become lost souls without an identity. What I found as particularly interesting is the sentence “They had to be dead”. The novel seems to be about how you can’t escape insanity or death due to the war. When you have “to be dead” does that mean anything you work for an do will be forgotten just like Mudd? I think that Yossarian sees this on a base level on not only just trying to avoid death, but also trying to not fade into nothingness like Mudd’s actions and life has....
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENGL 1105 taught by Professor Skholloway during the Fall '08 term at Virginia Tech.

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