Catch-22 Chapter 42 Summary
by Joseph Heller

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Chapter 42 Summary


Major Danby assures Yossarian that his deal with the colonels is still on, but Yossarian assures him that he is breaking his word because it is an “odious deal.” Yossarian wants to be sent home because he flew his required missions, not because he was stabbed by a crazy girl or because he is stubborn. He assures the nervous Danby that the colonels will not court-martial him because they filed an official report that made Yossarian a hero.

Danby assures Yossarian there are always multiple official reports, some of which make Yossarian a criminal; the colonels can create and choose any official report which suits their needs. If Yossarian is court-martialed, the colonels will accuse him of many crimes he did not commit and will produce false witnesses to testify. Danby is a university professor who encourages Yossarian to hold fast to his ideals and values, despite the fact that people are not always good. Yossarian must think only about what is best for “the welfare of [his] country and the dignity of man.” Being court-martialed will benefit neither and, in fact, damage both.

Yossarian fought to save his country, and now he intends to fight himself. He is confident the war will be over soon; his country is no longer in danger, but he is. When Yossarian asks Danby if he would take the deal, Danby eventually admits he would never let anyone send him home, but he would also never be court-martialed or fly more missions. All those who might have helped Yossarian are now in league with one another and will not help him.

The chaplain bursts into the room to announce that Orr was found washed ashore in Sweden after weeks at sea. Yossarian realizes Orr rowed to Sweden to escape the war. The chaplain is encouraged and resolves to persevere until the war ends. Yossarian hopes Clevinger might have done the same thing and is still hiding in the clouds somewhere.

Orr practiced for...

(The entire section is 505 words.)