The bad weather has rolled in to Pianosa, and officers, who once went down to the beach to spy the stumps of Sampson’s legs, still on the shore, no longer do so. Yossarian begins thinking of the men who’ve been killed or who have disappeared: Sampson, Orr, Snowden, Clevinger.
Yossarian’s first acknowledgment of the men who have died. He begins counting and realizes that nearly half of his close friends have died or disappeared at this point in the campaign.
It is discovered that Yossarian has been living in a tent alone, after Orr’s disappearance, although Yossarian claims that the dead man, Mudd, is still in the tent as well. The group assigns four young recruits to bunk in with Yossarian, and Yossarian becomes frustrated by their insistent good cheer and camaraderie.
The young recruits are brought in as an ironic counterpoint, or juxtaposition, with Yossarian. Where Yossarian is “old” and grizzled by years of battle, these young recruits are still excited to be fighting, and they seem less aware of the dangers of combat. As a result, they seem almost inhuman.
Yossarian walks away from his tent one night, to avoid his new tent-mates, and runs into Chief White Halfoat, who is drunk and complaining about Flume. Flume has recently moved back into their tent, because he expects that Halfoat is about to die of pneumonia. Halfoat agrees—it is nearly winter, and therefore time for him to die.
Halfoat’s fatalism is once again on display. He decided long ago that he would die of pneumonia when the winter arrived, and as of this conversation, he is on track to do so. It is not clear whether he has actively courted the disease in order to die of it “on time.”
Yossarian returns to his tent and finds that the four young roommates are burning some of Orr’s special reserve of birch logs in the stove. They have also moved the dead man’s footlocker out of the tent, “just like that,” dispelling the notion that there is a dead man at all. Yossarian becomes upset, finds Hungry Joe, and flies to Rome for another rest leave.
The young roommates have no concern for the dead man—to them, he does not exist, and his stuff is merely a nuisance in the tent. But to Yossarian, the dead man’s stuff symbolizes the military’s official negligence of some of its men, especially after they die. The young roommates' "sanity" of just taking out the dead man's stuff seems like an insane lack of feeling to Yossarian.