Catch-22

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Catch-22 Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
McWatt, Yossarian’s co-pilot, is the “craziest” of all, because he’s sane yet still loves war. McWatt snaps his playing cards loudly and on purpose, in order to frighten Hungry Joe.
Another loud sound that scares Hungry Joe. McWatt loves playing on the fears of his fellow soldiers.
Themes
Paradox and Impossibility Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Gallows Humor Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon
Yossarian is introduced to Milo Minderbinder, a new pilot recently assigned to the group as mess officer (in charge of kitchen supplies). Yossarian has been ordered by Doc Daneeka to be allowed unlimited fruit, because of his liver condition. Yossarian claims never to eat this fruit, since it would help his condition, and he wants to keep it.
Yossarian’s liver condition mostly disappears after this point in the novel. Either Yossarian was mostly making the condition up, or Heller decided it was no longer necessary as a reason to send Yossarian back and forth from the hospital.
Themes
Paradox and Impossibility Theme Icon
War and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Gallows Humor Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon
Nately, Dunbar, and others take Yossarian’s uneaten fruit and give it to prostitutes in Rome, who sell it to buy “cheap perfume and costume jewelry.” Milo is amazed by Yossarian’s story and begins hatching a plan for a business of his own. Yossarian tells how Snark, the previous chef and now Milo’s assistant, once tried to poison the group by putting soap into the sweet potatoes, to prove that the men “had no taste” and were “Philistines.”
The humble beginnings of Milo’s M & M Enterprises. By the end of the novel, Milo appears to be supplying most of the Mediterranean region with all sorts of exotic goods. The Milo sections of the novel stretch the narrative’s realism nearly to the breaking point, for comedic effect. It is clear Heller does not intend for these later sections to be strictly “believable.” Instead, they are comic but also an indictment of all of the ways that people and companies use the war to profit, regardless of the morality.
Themes
War and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon
Milo learns that a CID man is investigating the group, to find the man who’s been signing “Washington Irving” to censored letters. Milo believes the CID man will investigate whatever deals he makes on excess fruit on the black market.
The return of the CID man. As it turns out, the CID men never investigate Milo, or Aarfy for his rape and murder, or Chief White Halfoat for his threat to murder a fellow soldier. Instead, the Army cares more about some minor infraction of its rules.
Themes
Paradox and Impossibility Theme Icon
War and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
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Milo makes a complicated deal with McWatt, wherein he steals McWatt’s bedsheet and returns, later, with half, arguing that McWatt is better off than before, and that “everyone wins” in this scenario. Yossarian and McWatt are confused but assume Milo has some business acumen they do not understand. Yossarian reveals that Milo is buying eggs in Malta for seven cents and selling them in Pianosa for five cents, but somehow making a profit.
The introduction of Milo’s strange business practices. Milo insists that he can make profits despite selling at a loss, and it is apparent that he is making profits throughout the novel—enough to buy planes and trucks for his business. It is implied that M & M operates mostly like a Ponzi scheme, where investors’ money is funneled to one man (in this case, Milo).
Themes
Paradox and Impossibility Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Self-interest, Altruism, and Morality Theme Icon