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Free Study Guide-Catch-22 by Joseph Heller-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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CHAPTER 41: SNOWDEN

Summary

Yossarian is in hospital. The prostitute’s attack has left him wounded and unconscious. The chaplain visits him and tells him that he risked his life saving Cathcart from a Nazi assassin. Yossarian asserts that it was only Nately’s girlfriend. Yossarian tells the chaplain about the deal he made to go home. The chaplain thinks it as an odious deal. Yossarian decides not to go ahead with the deal. He would prefer to desert or fly more missions. The chaplain tells Yossarian that Joe died in his sleep.

When Yossarian is alone a strange man with a mean face dressed in a patients bathrobe approaches him and jeers: "We’ve got your pal." Yossarian is unnerved by his presence. He tries to attack the strange man, but the man glides away and vanishes. At night, Yossarian thinks of the death of the young tail-gunner Snowden. He remembers his frantic efforts to dress his wounds and keep him warm. He remembers how Snowden died in his arms.


Notes

Now that Yossarian’s friends are either dead or missing, the chaplain is his last true friend. It is the chaplain who finally sways Yossarian toward what is right. Yossarian realizes that the deal he had made with Cathcart is dishonorable.

The strange man, whose appearance frightens Yossarian, is more spirit than person. Heller blends the supernatural with the real to present a picture of what appears to be death. After the strange man’s appearance, Yossarian thinks about the death of Snowden. Death has claimed his friends, and Yossarian would betray their memory if he accepts Cathcart’s deal.

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