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CHAPTER 9: Major Major
Major Major was born mediocre, achieved mediocrity, and had mediocrity thrust upon him. In his early years Major Majorís name was a source of great unhappiness to him. In a moment of mischief, his father had given him the name, Major Major. His mother dies of shock after hearing the name; his schoolmates shun him, and elders dislike him.
Major Major is elevated to the rank of Major because the computer reads his name as his rank. He is appointed squadron commander. Major signs "Washington Irving" on official documents because he is bored and dissatisfied. A C.I.D man meets Major Major and questions him about the identity of the man who signs Washington Irvingís name to documents and letters. The C.I.D suspects that it is Tappman who is responsible for tampering with the letters and forging false signatures.
The first C.I.D man, who had been sent to Yossarianís hospital, meets Major Major. Both C.I.D men suspect the other of being "Washington Irving." Major Major now begins to sign John Miltonís name to documents. He begins to add comments on Miltonís character.
Major tells Towser that he does not want to see anyone in his office ever again. He asks Milo to serve him all his meals in his trailer. Major avoids meeting his men and becomes a recluse. One day, Yossarian succeeds in meeting him and tells him that he does not want fly more combat missions because he is afraid. Major tells Yossarian that he will allow him to pick his own missions. Yossarian refuses the offer. He wants to go home. There is nothing Major can do.
Major Majorís dreary life is predestined by his monotonous name. Major has a desire to be liked by his companions, and does whatever they tell him to do. He has no control over his life. Even his appointment as Major is the result of a computer error, and not merit. Like Yossarian, his boring duties make him play silly pranks.
The two C.I.D men are a means by which to attack the working of government. The C.I.D men are inept and stupid. Instead of working together, they work against each other.
Once again, Yossarian is fed up with the war. He tells Major that there are millions of other men who could take his place as a bombardier. Yossarian is afraid of dying, and that is what keeps him alive.