NaNoReMo – Catch 22: Chapters 6-10
A big thanks to Matthew Baldwin at Defective Yeti for the link, and for letting me know that I am now offically 23.44% of the way through this exercise. It does help to have a signpost like that every so often when I’m struggling through Chapter 9 (Major Major Major Major) like nobody’s business.
The whole story halts at that point, and I can see where less-driven, less-stubborn readers would take it as their cue to exit stage left. I remember loving this diversion when I first read the book, because it allowed me breathing room to actually start understanding ONE character and his motivations more fully. This time, however, I feel it’s just slowing me down. Major Major, in my recollection, is a minor minor character, and even though his tale is engaging, it also feels out of context, stepping aside to explain who he is and how he got there. For the entire chapter I’m really just scanning for any mention of Yossarian to pop up to keep what little story there is on track.
Package it with the previous chapters and perhaps it’s a microcosm of the book to this point. Reading passages of maddening behavior is freeing and laughable to a degree, until one realizes that it’s also a lesson in frustration. Is the reader’s experience mimicking Yossarian’s, alternately bemused and perplexed by the lack of sanity?
The death toll keeps rising (the dead man in Yossarian’s tent, Clevinger) and right with it go the amount of missions required by Col. Cathcart. In the face of such doom, who wouldn’t rather concern themselves with an escape like planning parades as Lt. Scheisskopf does? Or digging and refilling ditches — or are they graves? — like ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen?
Perhaps the ballad of Major Major is a warning. Perhaps it’s a signpost to mark where we stand so far. 76.56% to go and counting…