Chapter 28 Summary

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Yossarian is still recovering from his wound but flies two missions before he learns of another planned mission to Bologna. That is when he goes to see Dobbs to plan Colonel Cathcart’s murder. Dobbs is appalled at the idea, since he has now completed the two missions he needed and is waiting to go home. He suggests that Yossarian just fly his last two missions or else talk to Orr, who “might be unhappy enough to kill” Cathcart.

Orr’s airplane was “knocked down” again, though he was able to land the craft successfully. The life rafts did not inflate (because Milo Minderbinder stole the carbon dioxide from them in order to make ice cream sodas for the men), but the raft did; however, the aircraft sank quickly and soon the raft drifted aimlessly. A frantic, ridiculous Orr took charge for thirty minutes until the launch picked them up.

Yossarian goes directly back to his tent where Orr is once again working on the heater he is building. Orr has only flown eighteen missions and has had to crash land or ditch his airplane on nearly every one. He tells Yossarian he should fly with him because he has become an expert pilot at crash landing and ditching; Yossarian has requested not to fly with Orr in any circumstances. Yossarian worries about who will watch after Orr, the “warm-hearted simple-minded gnome.” Despite Orr’s many useful talents, no one will protect the small, ugly man once Yossarian has gone.

As Orr works on the heater, Yossarian thinks he will go crazy watching him and listening to him breathe; he even considers, for just a moment, killing Orr. Just then Orr begins a ridiculous conversation with Yossarian about all the women (prostitutes) who hate Yossarian, even if they do sleep with him. Orr ends with a serious question, asking Yossarian directly why he never flies with him.

Yossarian is ashamed and embarrassed and gives the excuse that he usually flies the lead plane; however, Orr knows that Yossarian went to Wren and Piltchard after their first (and only) mission together and requested never to fly with Orr again. Yossarian also asked not to fly with Dobbs or Hope, also. Now he lies, denying everything, but Orr will not be dissuaded. He knows Yossarian does not want to fly with him because he has no confidence in his ability to pilot a plane; he is not bitter or angry, just hurt, making things even more painful for Yossarian.

During the mission to Bologna, Orr gets ”knocked down into the water again.” He is late getting out of the plane and ends up in a separate raft from his men; his raft drifts away and is not rescued with the others. Yossarian is worried about Orr being on the sea overnight alone but envisions him, with his diverse skills, catching fish and having a great time. Yossarian is certain Orr will walk into his tent at any moment, but he does not. 

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