Summary — Chapter 38: Kid Sister
In order to avoid anyone being able to sneak up on him, Yossarian marches around backwards. He refuse to go on any additional combat missions. When Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn told about Yossarian’s defiance, they opt to take pity on him because of Nately’s death. They send Yossarian to Rome for some rest. While in Rome, he tells Nately’s prostitute about the death. She is so upset that she tries to kill Yossarian with a potato peeler. Her little sisters shows up and tries to stab him. Yossarian is covered with wounds and goes to get cleaned up at a Red Cross building. When he comes out, Nately’s prostitute is waiting for him. She wants to ambush him. She tries to stab him yet again. She follows him as he walks, including back to Pianosa. He gets revenge by bringing her by plane to a distant spot. He drops her from the plane in a parachute. Yossarian continues to walk backwards. The story about him refusing to go on any more combat missions spreads. Men start to come up to him at night to ask if the story is true. They say that they hope they can get away with it, too. Yossarian’s superior officers are worried. They offer to give him only non-dangerous missions if he will consent to fly. Captain Black one day informs him that the military police (M.P.’s) have forced Nately’s whore and her little sister out of their apartment. Yossarian feels concerned about them.
Summary — Chapter 39: The Eternal City
Yossarian and Milo travel to Rome. Milo is disappointed in Yossarian for refusing to go on any more combat missions. Having been bombed, Rome lies in ruins. The apartment complex which housed the prostitutes is rubble. Yossarian comes across the old woman who resided in the building. Sobbing, she informs Yossarian that the sole right that the soldiers had to force the girls away was the right provided by Catch-22, which declares that “they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.” Yossarian inquires if they had a written copy of Catch-22 and if they had let her see it. She says that Catch-22 indicates that they have no obligation to show her Catch-22. Yossarian is aware that Catch-22 does not exist. However, this fact is irrelevant. This is because everyone believes that it exists. That’s all that matters. Milo says that he will assist Yossarian in finding the little sister. However, he gets distracted when he finds out about the large profits that are to be made in trafficking illegal tobacco. He sneaks away. Yossarian wanders the dark streets. The night is horrific with terrible sights: men beat children and dogs, a woman is raped, a soldier convulses violently, and the sidewalk is covered with broken human teeth. He goes back to his apartment to discover that Aarfy has raped and murdered a maid. The M.P.’s come in. They offer their apologies to Aarfy for the intrusion. They put Yossarian under arrest for not having a pass to be in Rome.
Summary — Chapter 40: Catch-22
In Pianosa, Colonel Korn and Colonel Cathcart wish to send Yossarian home. However, they are prevented from doing this by Catch-22. They make Yossarian an offer: They will allow him to be grounded and send him home if he will consent to like them. He will be promoted and made a major. The only thing he will need to do in return is support the two colonels. Yossarian knows that this would constitute a terrible betrayal of his squadron’s man, as they will still need to fly eighty missions. However, he convinces himself to accept the deal anyway. The idea of going home makes him very happy. As Yossarian leaves Colonel Cathcart’s office, Nately’s whore shows up. She is disguised as a private and stabs him. He loses consciousness.
Summary — Chapter 41: Snowden
Some doctors argue over Yossarian in the hospital. In the meantime, the fat and angry colonel, the one who interrogated the chaplain, interrogates him. The doctors finally knock him out and operate. When he awakens, the hazily perceives being visited by the chaplain and Aarfy. He informs the chaplain about the deal he made with Korn and Cathcart. He then tells him that he isn’t going to go through with it. He has a vague memory of a hostile, even perhaps supernatural men jeering at him. This figure said “We’ve got your pal” soon after his operation. He tells the chaplain that the “pal” must have been one of the friends who lost their lives in the war. He recognizes that the only friend he still has living is Hungry Joe. However, the chaplain informs him that Hungry Joe has passed away. It happened in his sleep. Huple’s cat was on his face.
Yossarian later awakens to discover a hostile-looking man wearing a hospital gown who is leering at him. The man is saying, “We’ve got your pal.” Yossarian asks who the pal is. The man says that he will find out. Yossarian lunges in his direction. The man easily moves away and disappears. Yossarian experiences a flashback to Snowden’s death. He relives it acutely and feels emotional pain. Snowden is smiling at him weakly, saying “I’m cold.” Yossarian attempts to mend the wound in his leg, reassuring him. He thinks that he will be okay. Yossarian finally opens up the flak suit that Snowden is wearing. Snowden’s insides come out, getting all over him. Yossarian recalls the secret he saw in the entrails: “The spirit gone, man is garbage.” He ponders that man is matter. He thinks that without the spirit, man is destined to rot like garbage.
Summary — Chapter 42: Yossarian
While in the hospital, Yossarian tries to make Major Danby understand why he will no longer go through with the deal he made with Korn and Cathcart. He refuses to sell himself short in this way. He will not betray his dead friends’ memories. Yossarian informs Danby that he plans to flee. Dancy, however, communicates that there is no hope. Yossarian has to agree. The chaplain comes in with new: Orr has washed ashore. He is in Sweden. Yossarian recognizes that Orr must have intended to escape all along. He feels joyful as he realizes that there is hope despite what anyone else says. He asks the chaplain to get his clothes and resolves to desert the army and flee to Sweden. It is there he feels he will be able to save himself from war and its madness. When he goes outside, Nately’s whore tries to kill him again. He runs away.