Catch-22 | Study Guide

Joseph Heller

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Catch-22 Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 July 2016. Web. 21 Nov. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Catch-22/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2016, July 28). Catch-22 Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 21, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Catch-22/

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Catch-22 Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed November 21, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Catch-22/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Catch-22 Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed November 21, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Catch-22/.

Catch-22 | Chapter 3 : Havermeyer | Summary

Share
Share

Summary

Like Chapter 2, this one opens with Yossarian's post-hospital return to the squadron; but this time the perspective is different. He comes back to find that "the dead man in Yossarian's tent" that he shares with Orr is still there. The dead man's identity is not explained at this point.

Yossarian also finds Orr in the tent, working on one of his endless "home" improvements. In rapid succession, several more characters are introduced. Among them are:

  • Hungry Joe, who screams in his sleep all night
  • General Peckem, who keeps sending USO troupes to the base
  • Colonel Cargill, General Peckem's troubleshooter
  • General Dreedle, who argues with General Peckem about protocol
  • Ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen, the mail clerk at air force headquarters
  • Sergeant Towser, who administers the orders sending airmen home
  • Captain Havermeyer, a lead bombardier who refuses to take evasive action during missions and thereby endangers other airmen
  • Doc Daneeka, who refuses to ground Yossarian from flying additional missions, no matter how many missions he's flown

Analysis

Chapter 3 is loosely structured. Heller devotes more space to introducing new characters than to advancing the plot. It can be hard for readers this early in the book to fish important details out of the chaos. Still, Heller hints at several key themes that will be expanded later.

Colonel Cathcart is responsible for continuously increasing the number of missions the airmen must fly before they can go home.

Milo Minderbinder's name crops up again, this time in an offhand reference to the time he bombed the squadron. Bombed the squadron? Without elaborating, Heller slips this information into a nightmarish description of the camp's appearance the following morning just before dawn, "when tongueless dead men peopled the night hours like living ghosts." Something very wrong is hovering just out of focus.

Heller's abrupt shifts in tone may seem to come out of nowhere; zany sections butt up against important plot points. One minute Orr is rambling on about why he stuffed crab apples into his cheeks as a boy; then the scene shifts to Rome, where he's being beaten over the head by a whore. More space is given to the crab apples than to the beating. Which story matters more is still an open question.

Another tonal shift takes place in this book whenever Heller describes combat missions. The narrative voice always veers from comedy to tense urgency. Heller's battle accounts are marvels of compact detail. Although the world his characters inhabit may be absurd, he never jokes about the work they do.

Documents for Chapter 3

View all
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Catch-22? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!