Chapter 33 Summary

Nately’s Whore

While in Rome, Yossarian misses Nurse Duckett; he misses her so much that he goes “searching hungrily” for Luciana, the prostitute with a scar. But the more he misses Duckett, the more Yossarian finds other women to have sex with.

He meets others from his squadron. Aarfy refuses to join Yossarian and the others as they drunkenly go to a hotel to rescue Nately’s whore from a group of “middle-aged military big shots” who hired her along with two other prostitutes. They are keeping her captive because she will not say uncle. Actually, she readily says uncle but does not mean it because she does not understand what they are really asking her to do.

Yossarian, Dunbar, Nately, and others make a drunken racket, throwing furniture and uniforms out of the window as the naked officers watch, bewildered. Nately sneaks over to the couch and sits by the woman he loves; she looks blankly at him for a moment before smiling faintly at Nately, sending him into a state of ecstasy because she has never smiled at him before. The officers are glad to let her go, and Yossarian accompanies her and Nately to the woman’s apartment where she sleeps for eighteen hours.

When she wakes up, she is “deeply in love” with Nately. The woman’s little sister again jumps into the bed with them, and Nately begins to plan his future with this woman and her little sister. When he tells his girl friend he does not want other men to see her naked, both she and her sister are disgusted at him and haughtily leave the room. Nately tells his friends they have to look away from now on when she is naked. He sternly tells his girlfriend she must no longer prostitute herself or have “anything to do with” the old man who lives in her apartment. She believes Nately has gone “clear out of his mind.”

Nately is a “romantic idiot” and wants all his friends to fall in love immediately and get married, too. His girlfriend agrees not to sleep with Captain Black (or give him any of Nately’s money), but she refuses to ignore the “filthy-minded old man,” who is watching all of this with “insulting derision.” The woman and her sister are certain Nately is crazy, but the woman misses him when he is away and is furious at Yossarian for punching Nately in the face, breaking his nose, and sending him to the hospital.