“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller (Chapter 2 “Clevinger”)

Here is the notes made during our Zoom discussion. And you are welcome to add your thoughts and/or questions in the comments:

18:02:50 From Vasanth : Looked like Benedict in disguise 🙂
18:03:18 From Vasanth : The guy from BBC Sherlock
18:03:36 From Teacher Lee : I’m on the computer with Zoom.
18:06:58 From Teacher Lee : C.I.D. = Criminal Investigation Department
18:07:11 From Teacher Lee : He’s a faker.
18:08:14 From Teacher Lee : The protagonist is called Yossarian, and he is a fighter/bomber pilot in a war. He has flown 44 dangerous missions. Every mission may be his last.
18:09:10 From Teacher Lee : He is pretending to be sick to avoid flying another mission.
18:09:40 From Teacher Lee : The Colonel wants 50 missions.
18:11:46 From Teacher Lee : They are on the Italian island of Pianosa.
18:12:20 From Vasanth : c
18:12:42 From Teacher Lee : Colonel Cathcart is the one who wants Yossarian to fly 50 missions.
18:12:45 From Thein Lin Aung : I have a pdf.
18:13:28 From Teacher Lee : Original is RTF. Open in Word.
18:14:44 From Thein Lin Aung : All over the world, boys on every side of the bomb line were laying down their lives for what they had been told was their country, and no one seemed to mind, least of all the boys who were laying down their young lives.
18:14:54 From neuromantic : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4Q3UsA3F-k&t=2408s
18:16:12 From Teacher Lee : The nature of war is that innocent people die.
18:17:04 From Teacher Lee : Implies the young soldiers were idealistic and perhaps “brainwashed”.
18:17:50 From Teacher Lee : We draft young kids because they are idealistic and they feel “invincible”.
18:19:07 From Vasanth : c
18:21:14 From Teacher Lee : Britain was bankrupt after WWII and couldn’t afford to maintain control of India and so gave them their freedom.
18:21:19 From Thein Lin Aung : Clevinger really thought he was right, but Yossarian had proof, because strangers he didnt know shot at him with cannons every time he flew up into the air to drop bombs on them, and it wasnt funny at all. And if that wasnt funny, there were lots of things that werent even funnier. There was nothing funny about living like a bum in a tent in Pianosa between fat mountains behind him and a placid blue sea in front that could gulp down a person with a cramp in the twinkling of an eye and ship him back to shore three days later, all charges paid, bloated, blue and putrescent, water draining out through both cold nostrils.
18:23:07 From Teacher Lee : What a great, satirical description of drowning.
18:23:42 From Teacher Lee : The military pays for shipping his body back to the US.
18:24:47 From Vasanth : Putrescent meaning?
18:25:13 From Teacher Lee : Nature shows you no mercy.
18:25:22 From Teacher Lee : rotting
18:25:29 From Teacher Lee : putrid = rotten
18:25:33 From Teacher Lee : decaying
18:25:44 From Teacher Lee : to putrify (verb)
18:26:18 From Thein Lin Aung : Actually, there were many officers clubs that Yossarian had not helped build, but he was proudest of the one on Pianosa. It was a sturdy and complex monument to his powers of determination. Yossarian never went there to help until it was finished; then he went there often, so pleased was he with the large, fine, rambling, shingled building. It was truly a splendid structure, and Yossarian throbbed with a mighty sense of accomplishment each time he gazed at it and reflected that none of the work that had gone into it was his.
18:27:02 From Thein Lin Aung : I can see the chat on mobile.
18:27:26 From Teacher Lee : Speech bubble
18:29:44 From Teacher Lee : Yossarian was proud of TAKING but NOT giving.
18:30:30 From Thein Lin Aung : Q
18:30:52 From Teacher Lee : He was antisocial.
18:31:03 From Teacher Lee : He’s an “anti-hero”.
18:31:19 From Teacher Lee : He’s the worst example of humanity.
18:31:55 From Teacher Lee : He is selfish and self-important.
18:34:10 From Teacher Lee : The characters in the first few chapters are foils for Yossarian.

Part 2:
18:39:53 From Vasanth : c
18:41:07 From neuromantic : Orr?
18:41:41 From Diana Yarmolinska : 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.
18:42:41 From Teacher Lee : Yossarian was paranoid and psychopathic.
18:43:06 From Teacher Lee : They often become serial killers.
18:44:10 From Teacher Lee : He crushed a ping-pong ball that rolled in his direction, rather than kindly return it.
18:44:41 From Teacher Lee : “That Yossarian”.
18:45:36 From Vasanth : infundibuliform, rumpleheaded, quivering , sputtered, squadron , pygmy , hatching, succulent , stupor, ravenously , peril
18:45:54 From neuromantic : smack
18:45:55 From Teacher Lee : bed-head
18:46:42 From Teacher Lee : funnel-shaped
18:46:53 From Teacher Lee : infundibuliform = funnel-shaped
18:47:21 From Teacher Lee : quivering = trembling, shaking
18:48:43 From Teacher Lee : to sputter = to make short bursts of sounds
18:48:48 From neuromantic : t
18:49:00 From Teacher Lee : Similar to stutter, spits saliva
18:49:41 From Teacher Lee : squadron = a unit of planes
18:50:18 From Teacher Lee : squad
18:51:10 From neuromantic : small people
18:51:10 From Teacher Lee : pigmy = midget, stunted growth, miniature person
18:52:40 From Diana Yarmolinska : Orr, who was a grinning pygmy with pilot’s wings and thick, wavy brown hair parted in the middle, furnished all the knowledge, while Yossarian, who was taller, stronger, broader and faster, did most of the work.
18:52:56 From Teacher Lee : Brain (Orr) and brawn (Yossarian)
18:53:36 From Teacher Lee : “wings” = a metal insignia that shows that one has qualified as a pilot.
18:53:55 From Teacher Lee : Submarine officers get “dolphins” to show qualified in submarines.
18:54:39 From Teacher Lee : to hatch = to be born, to be created
18:54:50 From jorgenolsson : shading
18:55:09 From Teacher Lee : When an egg cracks open and a baby steps out, the egg has hatched.
18:55:15 From Teacher Lee : We can hatch an idea.
18:55:23 From neuromantic : t
18:55:47 From Teacher Lee : Noun = hatchery
18:55:51 From Teacher Lee : incubation
18:55:58 From Teacher Lee : is before hatching
18:56:23 From jorgenolsson : juicy
18:56:25 From Teacher Lee : succulent (suck you lent)
18:56:34 From Teacher Lee : delicious, mouth-watering
18:57:11 From Teacher Lee : stupor = confusion, state of “stupidity”, disorientation
18:57:45 From Teacher Lee : lack of movement
18:58:01 From Teacher Lee : to be ravenous = to be famished, very hungry
18:58:15 From Teacher Lee : peril = danger
18:58:26 From Diana Yarmolinska : gorge (yourself) (on something) = to eat a lot of something, until you are too full to eat any more
18:58:31 From Teacher Lee : Old movie series: The Perils of Pauline
18:58:42 From Teacher Lee : I am gorged!
18:58:50 From Vasanth : c
18:58:58 From Teacher Lee : perilous = dangerous, risky
18:59:26 From neuromantic : q
18:59:45 From Teacher Lee : to imperil
18:59:50 From Teacher Lee : to place someone in danger
19:00:19 From Diana Yarmolinska : honest-to-goodness
19:00:26 From Teacher Lee : adjective
19:00:33 From Diana Yarmolinska : humdinger
19:00:38 From Teacher Lee : slang word
19:01:13 From Teacher Lee : a striking or extraordinary person or thing
19:01:18 From Vasanth : c
19:01:23 From Teacher Lee : smack up
19:01:57 From Thein Lin Aung : Smack down?
19:02:18 From Teacher Lee : smack up against = exactly against (touching)
19:02:33 From neuromantic : q
19:02:58 From Teacher Lee : a shingle is a small square tile
19:03:47 From Diana Yarmolinska : tar
19:04:07 From Teacher Lee : http://www.roofpedia.com/images/types-of-roofing-shingles.jpg
19:04:54 From Teacher Lee : 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
19:07:25 From Teacher Lee : provocative
19:07:33 From neuromantic : sorry I have to leave
19:07:37 From Teacher Lee : contrarian personality


  1. infundibuliform (medical word), rumple-headed (aka “bed head”), quivering, sputtered, squadron, pygmy, hatching, succulent, stupor, ravenously, peril

    Let’s see if I can combine this mish-mash of vocabulary words into some kind of coherent story:

             My Dysfunctional Family

    1. Mom woke up today with her hair all messed up and sticking out in all directions. She awoke rumple-headed. Or she had “bed head“, as we say.
    2. My stupid younger brother sits around in a stupor all day.  I tend to imagine him wearing a dunce cap, which I could pompously describe as an inverted, infundibuliform-shaped hat.  He is probably thinking about a squadron of pygmy airplanes flying around in his room.  He’s weird that way.  He’s a dork.
    3. My dad came home from work today, and he was outraged about something that happened at work.  His bottom lip was quivering, and he was sputtering, trying hard to speak coherently while also thinking violently tumultuous thoughts.
    4. My older brother was so ravenous, he hatched a scheme to steal some succulent caviar from the fancy restaurant where he works while trying to avoid the peril of getting caught and fired.

    Would you like to be a member of my family?

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