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Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22″ Quotes (58 Quotes)


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  • As always occurred when he quarreled over principles in which he believed passionately, he would end up gasping furiously for air and blinking back bitter tears of conviction. There were many principles in which Clevinger believed passionately. He was crazy.
    (Joseph Heller, "Catch-22")

  • I'll tell you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning
    (Joseph Heller, "Catch-22")

  • Only Hungry Joe had something better to do each time he finished his missions. He had screaming nightmares and won fist fights with Huple's cat.
    (Joseph Heller, "Catch-22")

  • What could you do? Major Major asked himself again. What could you do with a man who looked you squarely in the eye and said he would rather die than be killed in combat, a man who was at least as mature and intelligent as you were and who you had to pretend was not? What could you say to him?
    (Joseph Heller, "Catch-22")

  • But Yossarian knew he was right, because, as he explained to Clevinger, to the best of his knowledge he had never been wrong.
    (Joseph Heller, "Catch-22")


  • Impressionable men in the squadron like Dobbs and Captain Flume were so deeply disturbed by Hungry Joe's shrieking nightmares that they woudl begin to have shrieking nightmares of their own, and the piercing obscenities they flung into the air every night from their separate places in the squadron rang against each other in the darkness romantically like the mating calls of songbirds with filthy minds.
    (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 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.
    (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")

  • In short, he was a dope. He often looked to Yossarian like one of those people hanging around modern museums with both eyes together on one side of a face. It was an illusion, of course, generated by Clevinger's predilection for staring fixedly at one side of a question and never seeing the other side at all.
    (Joseph Heller, "Catch-22")

  • She destroyed egos by the score and made men hate themselves in the morning by the way she found them, used them, and tossed them aside.
    (Joseph Heller, "Catch-22")

  • When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don't see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy.
    (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")

  • It doesn't make sense. It isn't even good grammar. What the hell does it mean when they disappear somebody?
    (Joseph Heller, "Catch-22")

  • She was the epitome of stately sorrow each time she smiled.
    (Joseph Heller, "Catch-22")


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