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Free Study Guide-Catch-22 by Joseph Heller-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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CHAPTER 14: KID SAMPSON

Summary

It is the time of the mission to Bologna, and Yossarian is trying to get his pilot, Kid Sampson, to turn the plane around and head back to Pianosa. Yossarian cuts the wires of his intercom system as a pretext to turn back. Sampson and the rest of the crew are only too happy to return.

When they reach Pianosa the men are subdued in spirit. The base is nearly empty since most of the men are on a mission to Bologna.

A sense of desolation is evident as Yossarian walks alone to the empty beach. While on the beach Yossarian watches as the twelve flights of planes return from Bologna. The mission was successful as there was no enemy fire in Bologna.


Notes

After the mission to Ferrara, Yossarian seems to have learned his lesson. He does not want to be over-courageous. He is afraid of being killed over Bologna. Though the men in Sampsonís plane are jubilant when Yossarian orders them to turn back, a sense of desolation and of having betrayed their country overcomes them when they reach Pianosa.

When the majority of the American air men are away, the sights and sounds are those of a nature, and not people. Yet even nature seems to be infused with a sense of decay and death. The necrotic profusion of mushrooms which grow "like lifeless stalks of flesh" and the bloated gurgle of the stream seems to enhance this sense. One begins to feel as if the mission to Bologna is definitely doomed. But the engines of war return with a deafening roar. Yossarianís fears have been in vain. Appearances have once again proved to be deceptive.

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