Catch-22 Quotes

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Catch-22 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
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Catch-22 Quotes (showing 31-60 of 456)
“He was never without misery, and never without hope.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“Let's take a drive into the middle of nowhere with a packet of Marlboro lights and talk about our lives.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“Prostitution gives her an opportunity to meet people. It provides fresh air and wholesome exercise, and it keeps her out of trouble.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“What would they do to me," he asked in confidential tones, "if I refused to fly them?"
We'd probably shoot you," ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen replied.
We?" Yossarian cried in surprise. "What do you mean, we? Since when are you on their side?"
If you're going to be shot, whose side do you expect me to be on?" ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen retorted”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“Who's they?" He wanted to know. "Who, specifically, do you think is trying to murder you?"
"Every one of them," Yossarian told him.
"Every one of whom?"
"Every one of whom do you think?"
"I haven't any idea."
"Then how do you know they aren't?"
"Because..." Clevinger sputtered, and turned speechless with frustration.
Clevinger really thought he was right, but Yossarian had proof, because strangers he didn't know shot at him with cannons every time he flew up into the air to drop bombs on them, and it wasn't funny at all.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“Where were you born?"
"On a battlefield," [Yossarian] answered.
"No, no. In what state were you born?"
"In a state of innocence.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
tags: humor
“There was no telling what people might find out once they felt free to ask whatever questions they wanted to.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“Sure, that's what I mean,' Doc Daneeka said. 'A little grease is what makes this world go round. One hand washes the other. Know what I mean? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.'

Yossarian knew what he meant.

That's not what I meant,' Doc Daneeka said, as Yossarian began scratching his back.”
Joseph Heller, Catch 22
“Surely there can't be so many countries worth dying for.'
Anything worth living for,' said Nately, 'is worth dying for.'
And anything worth dying for,' answered the sacrilegious old man, 'is certainly worth living for.”
Joseph Heller, Catch 22
“Catch-22 did not exist, he was positive of that, but it made no difference. What did matter was that everyone thought it existed, and that was much worse, for there was no object or text to ridicule or refute, to accuse, criticize, attack, amend, hate, revile, spit at, rip to shreds, trample upon or burn up.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“-You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You're dangerous and depraved, and you ought to be taken outside and shot!”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“To Yossarian, the idea of pennants as prizes was absurd. No money went with them, no class privileges. Like Olympic medals and tennis trophies, all they signified was that the owner had done something of no benefit to anyone more capably than everyone else.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“Men," he began his address to the officers, measuring his pauses carefully. "You're American officers. The officers of no other army in the world can make that statement. Think about it.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“She was the epitome of stately sorrow each time she smiled. ”
Joseph Heller, Catch 22
“Whatever his elders told him to do, he did. They told him to look before he leaped, and he always looked before he leaped. They told him never to put off until the next day what he could do the day before, and he never did. He was told to honor his father and his mother, and he honored his father and his mother. He was told that he should not kill, and he did not kill, until he got into the Army. Then he was told to kill, and he killed. He turned the other cheek on every occasion and always did unto others exactly as he would have had others do unto him. When he gave to charity, his left hand never knew what his right hand was doing. He never once took the name of the Lord his God in vain, committed adultery or coveted his neighbor's ass. In fact, he loved his neighbor and never even bore false witness against him. Major Major's elders disliked him because he was such a flagrant nonconformist.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“Clevinger had a mind, and Lieutenant Scheisskoph had noticed that people with minds tended to get pretty smart at times.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
tags: humor
“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 a truly splendid building, 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.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“I am miracle ingredient Z-247. I'm immense. I'm a real, slam-bang, honest-to-goodness, three-fisted humdinger. I'm a bona fide supraman.”
Joseph Heller, Catch 22
tags: humor
“Nately was instantly up in arms again. "There is nothing so absurd about risking your life for your country!" he declared.

"Isn't there?" asked the old man. "What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England, Americans are dying for America, Germans are dying for Germany, Russians are dying for Russia. There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Surely so many countries can't all be worth dying for."

"Anything worth living for," said Nately, "is worth dying for."

"And anything worth dying for," answered the sacrilegious old man, "is certainly worth living for.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“When people disagreed with him he urged them to be objective.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
tags: humor
“So many things were testing his faith. There was the Bible, of course, but the Bible was a book, and so were Bleak House, Treasure Island, Ethan Frome and The Last of the Mohicans. Did it then seem probable, as he had once overheard Dunbar ask, that the answers to riddles of creation would be supplied by people too ignorant to understand the mechanics of rainfall? Had Almighty God, in all His infinite wisdom, really been afraid that men six thousand years ago would succeed in building a tower to heaven?”
Joseph Heller, Catch 22
“History did not demand Yossarian's premature demise, justice could be satisfied without it, progress did not hinge upon it, victory did not depend on it. That men would die was a matter of necessity; WHICH men would die, though, was a matter of circumstance, and Yossarian was willing to be the victim of anything but circumstance. But that was war. Just about all he could find in its favor was that it paid well and liberated children from the pernicious influence of their parents.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
tags: death, war
“Major Major had been born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“I’m not running away from my responsibilities. I’m running to them. There’s nothing negative about running away to save my life.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“When I was a kid," Orr replied, "I used to walk around all day with crab apples in my cheeks. One in each cheek."

... A minute passed. "Why?" [Yossarian] found himself forced to ask finally.

Orr tittered triumphantly. "Because they're better than horse chestnuts... When I couldn't get crab apples," Orr continued, "I used horse chestnuts. Horse chestnuts are about the same size as crab apples and actually have a better shape, although the shape doesn't matter a bit."

"Why did you walk around with crab apples in your cheeks?" Yossarian asked again. "That's what I asked."

"Because they've got a better shape than horse chestnuts," Orr answered. "I just told you that."

"Why," swore Yossarian at him approvingly, "you evil-eyed, mechanically aptituded, disaffiliated son of a bitch, did you walk around with anything in your cheeks?"

"I didn't," Orr said, "walk around with anything in my cheeks. I walked around with crab applies in my cheeks. When I couldn't get crab apples I walked around with horse chestnuts. In my cheeks.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity trust upon them.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“I used to get a big kick out of saving people’s lives. Now I wonder what the hell’s the point, since they all have to die anyway.”
“Oh, there’s a point, all right,” Dunbar assured him.
“Is there? What’s the point?”
“The point is to keep them from dying as long as you can.”
“Yeah, but what’s the point, since they all have to die anyway?”
“The trick is not to think about that.”
“Never mind the trick. What the hell’s the point?”
Dunbar pondered in silence for a few moments. “Who the hell knows.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
“Major Major never sees anyone in his office while he's in his office.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
tags: humor, war
“where are the snowdens of yesteryear?”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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