Catch-22

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Catch-22 Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Yossarian meets Luciana at a bar in Rome, whisking her away from another Allied soldier. He dances with her, buys her a dinner (which she eats with great gusto), and then she agrees to sleep with him—but later, not that night. Yossarian believes she is lying and drops her off at a bus station.
Although Yossarian later falls in love with Luciana, the beginning of their romance is not promising: it mostly seems that Luciana is flirting with him in order to receive a free meal.
Themes
Paradox and Impossibility Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon
Yossarian walks the streets, alone, and looks for another woman to spend the night with—but finds no one. He returns to the officers’ apartments and finds Aarfy, who had talked to a woman all evening but had not slept with her, since he believed the girl was “too nice.” The other officers are mad at Aarfy for his apparent reserve; they call him “sick and crazy.” Yossarian goes to bed.
Aarfy’s behavior with a woman, here, is at odds with his later violent streak. He pretends that he is too much of a gentleman to take advantage of a woman’s affections after a night on the town. It is ironic that his fellow soldiers call this, purportedly gallant behavior, “sick.”
Themes
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Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon
Yossarian wakes up the next morning to find that Luciana has come to his apartment—she has kept her promise to sleep with him. She cleans his room while he cleans up in the bathroom, and they have sex. He notices a large scar on her back, caused by American shelling, and finds he is falling in love with her.
Luciana’s return the following morning indicates that she did in fact enjoy her time with Yossarian. Yossarian can hardly believe it, and his fixation on her scar shows he has begun to feel for her, as he learns what she has gone through in the war.
Themes
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Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Gallows Humor Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon
Yossarian says he will marry Luciana; she says only a crazy man would marry a non-virgin woman. Because this makes Yossarian crazy, she says she cannot marry him.
A humorous instance of catch-22. Yossarian’s craziness, here, is of course the craziness of a budding infatuation.
Themes
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Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Gallows Humor Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon
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Hungry Joe tries desperately to get into the room and take pictures of Yossarian and Luciana naked. They leave the apartment quickly, passing Nately, who has spent all his money paying for the attentions of his prostitute, with whom he is in love.
Once again, Hungry Joe is thwarted. He is so excited by the thought of Yossarian and Luciana, he cannot get inside their room to snap the pictures he craves.
Themes
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Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Gallows Humor Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon
Outside, Luciana says she will give Yossarian her address, and that she knows Yossarian, feeling cocky after she sleeps with him without asking for any money, will tear it up and throw it away. Yossarian says this is not true, but when she leaves, he does in fact tear it up and throw it away. He has a meal and, realizing his mistake, rushes out to find her, but cannot.
An instance of fatalism—the idea that fate controls the events in humans’ lives. Both Yossarian and Luciana know he will throw away the address, yet Luciana still provides it—and Yossarian still throws it away.
Themes
Paradox and Impossibility Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Gallows Humor Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon
Yossarian is despondent with himself over losing Luciana. He finds the maid in the lime-colored panties and sleeps with her, but is still deeply upset. He returns to the apartment to find Hungry Joe, who tells him the number of missions has been raised to forty—this places all of these events around the Bologna run as happening prior to Yossarian's stay in the hospital at the beginning of the novel.
One of the sadder scenes in the novel. It is implied that Yossarian did not want to feel as close to Luciana as he did—but when he loses her, he realizes how much she means to him. Yossarian will experience loss for the remainder of the novel, especially of his war buddies, and these losses will become more and more difficult for him to take.
Themes
Paradox and Impossibility Theme Icon
Gallows Humor Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon