Chapter 28 – 30
Yossarian starts a relationship with Nurse Duckett, to whom he previously made inappropriate advances. This does not seem to bother Nurse Duckett, who is serene in her enjoyment of Yossarian and his friends. Her best friend, Nurse Cramer, does not approve and gives her the silent treatment.
General Peckem gets a new colonel sent to his base. Colonel Scheisskopf comes and wants to hold parades like he used to at the training base, but Peckem only allows him to put out announcements postponing parades, not to actually hold them. Peckem is delighted with this idea, knowing it will show that they have to power to hold parades if they like and will make them seem like they are doing something. He also does a good job of turning Colonels Scheisskopf and Cargill against each other almost as soon as they meet, which is “his standard method of operation” (334).
Orr fixes up a great stove in the tent he shares with Yossarian so that they will be prepared for winter. Yossarian admits to Orr that he tries not to fly with him because Orr gets shot down all the time. Orr argues that he is a great pilot to fly with because he is so experienced at crash landings. Orr gets shot down another time and disappears.
McWatt terrifies Yossarian by flying low over the land, and Yossarian threatens to kill him if he does not bring the plane up. McWatt realizes how disturbed Yossarian is and promises to stop “buzzing” Yossarians tent by flying low over it. He continues to “buzz” the beach. One day, he gets thrown off just a little by the wind and Kid Sampson happens to be jumping up. Kid Sampsons whole torso is cut off. McWatt then has his two training pilots parachute out before he intentionally flies into a mountain and kills himself. Since he has put Doc Daneeka on the flight log so that he would get his flight credit, they think Daneeka is in the plane, even though he is clearly standing on the ground in front of them.
Yossarians relationship with Nurse Duckett is significant because he has treated women as mere sex objects. Now, although he still enjoys her physically, he has an actual relationship. On the cold beach at night, he “enjoyed making love to her with most of their clothes on more than he sometimes enjoyed making love to all the vigorous bare amoral girls in Rome” (346). While they are not in love and the relationship has a lot to do with his desire for her, “Yossarian was never lonely with Nurse Duckett” (347) and he treats her with respect. Given that he has not been so respectful to her in the past, it is a sign that he is trying to have a human connection even in all this madness.
Yossarian also has a friendship with Orr. Throughout the book, he has been frustrated by Orrs silliness, but he demonstrates a sincere fondness for his roommate in this section. When Orr disappears, Yossarain waits up expectantly for his roommate, heating up soup to feed him upon his return. He also is ashamed of his threats to McWatt and tries to get him to land the plane instead of committing suicide. There are all signs that Yossarian is not just self-absorbed like so many other characters. It is clear that he does have compassion and human connectedness, despite all his joking around. In fact, it is clear that his humor is connected to his fears and his concern for others.
Yossarian is in stark contrast to Colonel Cathcart, who is still just worried about how he appears to others. Yossarian reacts to the incident with Kid Sampson by helping others off the beach and then trying to get McWatt to land the plane. “Colonel Cathcart was so upset by the deaths of Kid Sampson and McWatt that he raised the missions to sixty-five” (350). Cathcarts response to the incident is to be afraid it will be a “black eye” and to put the men in further danger.
Chapter 28 – 30