ever there is a choice between a principle and a person he takes the person

Ever there is a choice between a principle and a

This preview shows page 12 - 14 out of 16 pages.

ever there is a choice between a principle and a person, he takes the person; whenever there is a choice between an institutional value and a human value, he takes the human value. Yossarian 48 terms," as used by the Exploiters, are designed, not for conveying informa tion, but for moving men to action and for inducing attitudes of loyalty for those in authority. Letters of condolence sent out over Colonel Cathcart's signature are not designed for the purpose of conveying information or even of expressing sympathy, but for putting Colonel Cathcart's picture on the cover of Saturday Evening Post (pp. 277, 338). Cathcart informs the chap lain that he has selected a dangerous mission over Avignon to hasten the
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13 achievement of his purpose: "The sooner we get some casualties, the sooner we can make some progress on this. I'd like to get in the Christmas issue if we can. I imagine the circulation is higher then" (p. 277). Official reports concerning Yossarian's wounding by Nately's whore are not designed to convey information concerning the incident. Two reports are filed: one re porting that Yossarian was stabbed by a Nazi assassin who was trying to kill Cathcart and Korn, and another report claiming that Yossarian was "stabbed by an innocent girl in the course of extensive blackmarket opera tions involving acts of sabotage and the sale of military secrets to the enemy" (p. 432). These reports are incipient actions, designed to do what ever Cathcart and Korn want them to do. Non-linguistic "administrative rhetoric" 50 ince much of the absurdity is di rectly traceable to a confusion between the symbol and the things sym bolized (or, to use Burke's terms, between action and motion), as well as the web-like symbol systems people create and impose on society. Spundrift 241 nine, the novel darkens measurably into almost insupportable horror. The crucial episode is the mission against the undefended mountain village, a totally unnecessary mission in which poor people unconnected with the war are to be killed without warning for publicity photos of tight bomb patterns. The tonal shift in'this episode is clear and sharp 242 insulate their effects on him. Not so with the mission against the mountain village. It is immediate; it is probable; it is barren of justification; it is stark murder; it is unspeakable outrage; it is uncushioned horror. Even Dunbar, who has up to this point looked primarily after himself and sought only to lengthen his life span by taking no unnecessary risks whatever, rises in protest, denounces the mission, and risks court-martial by intentionally missing the village 244 The lesser of these is the contest between Generals Peckem and Dreedle for command ot the Wing. The background and opening moves of this contest are suggested in Chapter Three, and Peckem's aims and campaign appear in Chapters Twelve and Nineteen. General Dreedle's position and ultimate defeat are indicated in Chapter Twenty-one, and Scheisskopf joins Peckem and learns of his real war in Chapter Twenty-nine. In Chapter Thirty-six, Peckem
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