Catch 22(1961) - Joseph Heller Literary Quotes - Quotesmin.com

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Catch 22 Literary Quotes(1961) - Joseph HellerRating Mail
It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain, he fell madly in love with him.
[Chapter 1: Opening Lines]
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Dunbar sat up like a shot. "That's it," he cried excitedly. "There was something missing and now I know what it is." He banged his first down into his palm. "No patriotism," he declared. "You're right," Yossarian shouted back. "You're right, you're right, you're right. The hot dog, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Mom's apple pie. That's what everyone's fighting for. But who's fighting for the decent folk? Who's fighting for more votes for the decent folk? There's no patriotism, that's what it is. And no matriotism, either."
[Chapter 1: P. 9]
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The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likeable. In three days no one could stand him.
[Chapter 1: P. 9]
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"You murdered him," said Dunbar.
"I heard you kill him," said Yossarian.
"You killed him because he was a nigger," Dunbar said.
"You fellas are crazy," the Texan cried. "They don't allow niggers in here. They got a special place for niggers."
"The sergeant smuggled him in," Dunbar said.
"The Communist sergeant," said Yossarian.
"And you knew it."
[Chapter 1: P. 9]
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The colonel dwelt in a vortex of specialists who were still specializing in trying to determine what was troubling him. They hurled lights in his eyes to see if he could see, rammed needles into nerves to hear if he could feel. There was a urologist for his urine, a lymphologist for his lymph, an endocrinologist for his endocrines, a psychologist for his psyche, a dermatologist for his derma; there was a pathologist for his pathos, and cystologist for his cysts. The colonel had really been investigated. There was not an organ of his body that had not been drugged and derogated, dusted and dredged, fingered and photographed, removed, plundered, and replaced.
[Chapter 1: P. 15]
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As always occurred when he quarreled over principles in which he believed passionately, he would end up gasping furiously for air and blinking back bitter tears of conviction. There were many principles in which Clevinger believed passionately. He was crazy.
"Who's they?" he wanted to know. "Who, specifically, do you think is trying to murder you?"
"Every one of them," Yossarian told him.
"Every one of whom?"
"Every one of whom do you think?"
"I haven't any idea."
"Then how do you know they aren't?"
"Because " Clevinger sputtered, and turned speechless with frustration.
[Chapter 2: P. 24 ("Vintage" edition: p. 19)]
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Appleby was as good at shooting crap as he was at playing Ping-Pong, and he was as good at playing Ping-Pong as he was at everything else. Everything Appleby did, he did well. Appleby was a fair-haired boy from Iowa who believed in God, Motherhood, and the American Way of Life, without ever thinking about any of them, and everybody who knew him liked him.
"I hate that son of a bitch," Yossarian growled.
[Chapter 2: P. 25]
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As far back as Yossarian could recall, he explained to Clevinger with a patient smile, somebody was always hatching a plot to kill him. There were people who cared for him and people who didn't, and those who didn't hated him and were out to get him. They hated him because he was Assyrian. But they couldn't touch him, he told Clevinger, because he was Tarzan, Mandrake, Flash Gordon. He was Bill Shakespeare. He was Cain, Ulysses, the Flying Dutchman; he was Lot in Sodom, Deirdre of the Sorrows, Sweeney in the nightingales among trees. He was miracle ingredient Z-247. He was
"Crazy!" Clevinger interrupted, shrieking. "That's what you are! Crazy!"
[Chapter 2: P. 29]
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Gasping furiously for air, Clevinger enumerated Yossarian's symptoms: an unreasonable belief that everybody around him was crazy, a homicidal impulse to machine-gun strangers, retrospective falsification, an unfounded suspicion that people hated him and were conspiring to kill him.
[Chapter 2: P. 29("Vintage" edition: p. 23)]
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"Why did you walk around with crab apples in your cheeks? Yossarian asked again. "That's what I asked."
"Because they've got a better shape than horse chestnuts," Orr answered. "I just told you that."
"Why," swore Yossarian at him approvingly, "you evil-eyed, mechanically-aptituded, disaffiliated son of a bitch, did you walk around with anything in your cheeks?"
"I didn't," Orr said, "walk around with anything in my cheeks. I walked around with crab apples in my cheeks. When I couldn't get crab apples, I walked around with horse chestnuts. In my cheeks."
[Chapter 3: P.23]
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Colonel Cargill, General Peckem's troubleshooter, was a forceful, ruddy man. Before the war he had been an alert, hard-hitting, aggressive marketing executive. He was a very bad marketing executive. Colonel Cargill was so awful a marketing executive that his services were much sought after by firms eager to establish losses for tax purposes. Throughout the civilized world, from Battery Park to Fulton Street, he was known as a dependable man for a fast tax write-off. His prices were high, for failure often did not come easily. He had to start at the top and work his way down, and with sympathetic friends in Washington, losing money was no simple matter. It took months of hard work and careful misplanning. A person misplaced, disorganized, miscalculated, overlooked everything and opened every loophole, and just when he thought he had it made, the government gave him a lake or a forest or an oilfield and spoiled everything. Even with such handicaps, Colonel Cargill could be relied on to run the most prosperous enterprise into the ground. He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.
[Chapter 3: P. 27]
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Havermeyer was a lead bombardier who never missed. Yossarian was a lead bombardier who had been demoted because he no longer gave a damn whether he missed or not. He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt, and his only mission each time he went up was to come down alive.
[Chapter 3: P. 29]
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"Sure, that's what I mean," Doc Daneeka said. "A little grease is what makes this world go round. One hand washes the other. Know what I mean? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."
Yossarian knew what he meant.
"That's not what I meant," Doc Daneeka said, as Yossarian began scratching his back. "I'm talking about co-operation. Favours. You do a favour for me, I'll do one for you. Get it?"
"Do one for me," Yossarian requested.
"Not a chance," Doc Daneeka answered.
[Chapter 4: P. 32]
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"Who is Spain?"
"Why is Hitler?"
"When is right?"
"Where was that stooped and mealy-colored old man I used to call Poppa when the merry-go-round broke down?"
"How was trump at Munich?"
"Ho-ho beriberi."
and
"Balls!"
all rang out in rapid succession, and then there was Yossarian with the question that had no answer:
"Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?"
[Chapter 4: P. 34]
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"Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?" Dunbar repeated to Clevinger. "This long." He snapped his fingers. "A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you're an old man."
"Old?" asked Clevinger with surprise. "What are you talking about?"
"Old."
"I'm not old."
"You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow down?" Dunbar was almost angry when he finished.
"Well, maybe it is true," Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. "Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it's to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?"
"I do," Dunbar told him.
"Why?" Clevinger asked.
"What else is there?"
[Chapter 4: P. 39]
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There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.
"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.
[Chapter 5: P. 55 (p. 46 in Simon & Schuster 2004)]
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"Justice?" The Colonel was astounded. "What is justice?"
"Justice, sir "
"That's not what justice is," the colonel jeered, and began pounding the table again with his big fat hand. "That's what Karl Marx is. I'll tell you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning."
[Chapter 8: P. 80]
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"Last night in the latrine. Didn't you whisper that we couldn't punish you to that other dirty son of a bitch we don't like? What's his name?"
"Yossarian, sir," Lieutenant Scheisskopf said.
"Yes, Yossarian. That's right. Yossarian. Yossarian? Is that his name? Yossarian? What the hell kind of a name is Yossarian?"
Lieutenant Scheisskopf had the facts at his finger tips. "It's Yossarian's name, sir," he explained.
[Chapter 8: P. 88]
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"English history!" roared the silver-maned senior Senator from his state indignantly. "What's the matter with American history? American history is as good as any history in the world!"
[Chapter 9: P. 97, paperback]
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"Do you really want some more codeine?" Dr. Stubbs asked.
"It's for my friend Yossarian. He's sure he's going to be killed."
"Yossarian? Who the hell is Yossarian? What the hell kind of a name is Yossarian, anyway? Isn't he the one who got drunk and started that fight with Colonel Korn at the officer's club the other night?"
"That's right. He's Assyrian."
"That crazy bastard."
"He's not so crazy," Dunbar said. "He swears he's not going to fly to Bologna."
"That's just what I mean," Dr. Stubbs answered. "That crazy bastard may be the only sane one left."
[Chapter 10: P. 122]
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"Open your eyes, Clevinger. It doesn't make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead."
[Chapter 12: P. 123]
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"The enemy," retorted Yossarian with weighted precision, "is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on, and that includes Colonel Cathcart. And don't you forget that, because the longer you remember it, the longer you might live."
[Chapter 12: P. 124]
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Yossarian sidled up drunkenly to Colonel Korn at the officers' club one night to kid with him about the new Lepage gun that the Germans had moved in. "What Lepage gun?" Colonel Korn inquired with curiosity. "The new three hundred and forty four millimeter Lepage glue gun," Yossarian answered. "It glues a whole formation of planes together in mid-air."
[Chapter 12: P. 124]
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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: P. 176]
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"And don't tell me God works in mysterious ways," Yossarian continued. "There's nothing mysterious about it, He's not working at all. He's playing. Or else He's forgotten all about us. That's the kind of God you people talk about, a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?"
[Chapter 18: P.179]
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