November 12th, 2007
Chapters Read:14. Kid Sampson, 15. Piltchard and Wren, 16. Lucina, 17. The Soldier in White, 18. The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice
Page reached:: 171 of 448 (38.17%).
Status Report: A few welcome diversions in this block of chapters, fueling speculation that this thing might have a plot after all. Piltchard and Wren contains an actual action sequence. Lucina, meanwhile, is a break from the chapters devoted solely to the foibles of the military and the men therein.
Yossarian is shaping up to be a pretty great antihero. Craven, carnal, self-absorbed, and downright dangerous at times, he often reflects on and epitomizes the ridiculousness of the war. The central problem, of course, is that every character is looking out for himself alone, and therefore butting heads with all the other vain and self-serving characters strewn throughout the book. By getting us to sympathize with one, Heller demonstrates that, individually, everyone is acting sanely, insofar as their only aim to to advance their own interests. It’s only when you look at the “Big Picture” that you see that the whole is much, much less than the sum of its parts–a bunch of rational actors to collectively make up the enormous clusterfuck of war..
Favorite Passage:”Don’t tell me God works in mysterious ways,” Yossarian continued, hurtling on over her objection. “There’s nothing so 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?”
“Pain?” Lieutenant Scheisskopf’s wife pounced upon the word victoriously. “Pain is a useful symptom. Pain is a warning to us of bodily dangers.”
“And who created the dangers?” Yossarian demanded … “Why couldn’t He have used a doorbell instead to notify us?”
Words Looked Up:
- Slattern: 1. a slovenly, untidy woman or girl; 2. a slut; harlot.
- Fructified: to bear fruit; become fruitful.
- Effulgent: shining forth brilliantly; radiant.
- Somnolently: 1. sleepy; drowsy; 2. tending to cause sleep.
- Lachrymose: suggestive of or tending to cause tears; mournful.
- Sententiously: 1. abounding in pithy aphorisms or maxims; 2. given to excessive moralizing; self-righteous; 3. of the nature of a maxim; pithy.
- Fillip: 1. to strike with the nail of a finger snapped from the end of the thumb; 2. to tap or strike smartly.