Chapter 17: The Soldier in White Notes from Catch-22

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Catch-22 Chapter 17: The Soldier in White

Yossarian is determined to remain in the hospital rather than fly the increased missions. He can run into the hospital whenever he wants to by claiming a pain in his liver that confuses doctors. It is better to be in the hospital than in Bologna or flying over Avignon because death is controlled and sanitized:

"They couldn't dominate Death inside the hospital, but they certainly made her behave. They had taught her manners. They couldn't keep death out, but while she was in she had to act like a lady. People gave up the ghost with delicacy and taste inside the hospital. There was none of that crude, ugly ostentation about dying that was so common outside the hospital. They did not blow up in mid-air like Kraft or the dead man in Yossarian's tent, or freeze to death in the blazing summertime the way Snowden had frozen to death after spilling his secret to Yossarian in the back of the plane." Chapter 17, pg.176

Yossarian and Dunbar are intrigued by the silent, plastered soldier in white. The patients complain about the unjust distribution of their illnesses. Yossarian worries like a hypochondriac and he again asks Doc Daneeka to ground him and send him home. Doc Daneeka vaguely promises that maybe he will think about doing something to help Yossarian once he's completed fifty-five. He must also convince McWatt to put Daneeka's name on the flight log so he can draw flight pay without going up in the plane. With all the illnesses and dangers, Yossarian is amazed he's managed to survive for twenty-eight years.

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