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Free Study Guide-Catch-22 by Joseph Heller-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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CHAPTER 28: DOBBS

Summary

Yossarian meets Dobbs and agrees to kill Cathcart. This time, Dobbs refuses to join Yossarian since he has completed sixty missions and is hoping to be sent home. He tells Yossarian to ask Orr to help him kill Cathcart.

Orr, meanwhile, has been shot down in the water again. The life jackets in his plane fail to inflate because Milo has removed the carbon-dioxide cylinders from the inflating chambers in order to make ice-cream sodas for the officerís mess hall. Milo has left notes in the jackets that read: "Whatís good for M&M Enterprises is good for the country." Orr is adept at surviving in difficult conditions, and brings his men back safely to Pianosa.


Yossarian is secretly hoping that on his next mission to northern Italy, he will be able to divert the plane to Sweden or Switzerland and escape. He gets irritated when he sees Orr repairing a stove in their tent. Yossarian even thinks, momentarily, of killing Orr because he finds his breathing repulsive and his stove-repair work disturbing. Orr begs Yossarian to fly with him on his next mission, but Yossarian refuses. On his next mission, Orr gets knocked down into the water again. This time he drifts off alone, while his crew members are on another raft. There is no further news about Orr. Yossarian has no doubt that Orr will survive, but Orr does not come back.

Notes

Although the chapterís title is "Dobbs," this chapter is really about Orr. At the beginning of the chapter, Yossarian and Dobbs have undergone role reversals. Now Yossarian wants to kill Cathcart and Dobbs doesnít.

While Yossarian is contemplating drastic action, Orr is practicing how to land his plane on the water in order to make a much more subtle escape. It is believe that Orr is missing in action or dead. Orr tries to give Yossarian some idea about what he is planning to do, but Yossarian misses the hint .

It is also obvious that Yossarrian is becoming a nervous wreck. The slightest sound that Orr makes upsets Yossarian, and he even thinks of killing Orr. Orr gives the appearance of being a bungling pilot, but in reality he is a brilliant schemer; Yossarian realizes this later, and it is then that Orrís action become an inspiration for him.

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