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?
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There's nothing mysterious about it, He's not working at all. He's playing. Or else He's forgotten all about us. That's the kind of God you people talk about, a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?
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What the hell are you getting so upset about?" he asked her bewilderedly in a tone of contrite amusement. "I thought you didn't believe in God." "I don't, " she sobbed, bursting violently into tears. "But the God I don't believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He's not the mean and stupid God you make Him out to be.
Politically, he was a humanitarian who did know right from left and was trapped uncomfortably between the two. He was constantly defending his Communist friends to his right-wing enemies and his right-wing friends to his Communist enemies, and he was thoroughly detested by both groups, who never defended him to anyone because they thought he was a dope.
There was shish-kabob for lunch, huge, savory hunks of spitted meat sizzling like the devil over charcoal after marinating seventy-two hours in a secret mixture Milo had stolen from a crooked trader in the Levant, served with Iranian rice and asparagus tips Parmesan, followed by cherries jubilee for dessert and then steaming cups of fresh coffee with Benedictine and brandy.
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He found Luciana sitting alone at a table in the Allied officers' night club, where the drunken Anzac major who had brought her there had been stupid enough to desert her for the ribald company of some singing comrades at the bar. "All right, I'll dance with you, " she said, before Yossarian could even speak. "But I won't let you sleep with me." "Who asked you?" Yossarian asked her. "You don't want to sleep with me?" she exclaimed with surprise. "I don't want to dance with you.
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The chaplain had sinned, and it was good. Common sense told him that telling lies and defecting from duty were sins. On the other hand, everyone knew that sin was evil and that no good could come from evil. But he did feel good; he felt positively marvelous. Consequently, it followed logically that telling lies and defecting from duty could not be sins. The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous.
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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.
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They were frisky, eager and exuberant, and they had all been friends in the States. They were plainly unthinkable. They were noisy, overconfident, empty-headed kids of twenty-one. They had gone to college and were engaged to pretty, clean girls whose pictures were already standing on the rough cement mantelpiece of Orr's fireplace. They had ridden in speedboats and played tennis. They had been horseback riding. One had once been to bed with an older woman. They knew the same poeple in different parts of the country and had gone to school with each other's cousins.
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His heart cracked, and he fell in love. He wondered if she would marry him. 'Tu sei pazzo, ' she told him with a pleasant laugh. 'Why am I crazy?' he asked. 'Perche non posso sposare.' 'Why can't you get married?' 'Because I am not a virgin, ' she answered. 'What has that got to do with it?' 'Who will marry me? No one wants a girl who is not a virgin.' 'I will. I'll marry you.' 'Ma non posso sposarti.' 'Why can't you marry me?' 'Perche sei pazzo.' 'Why am I crazy?' 'Perche vuoi sposarmi.' Yossarian wrinkled his forehead with quizzical amusement. 'You won't marry me because I'm crazy, and you say I'm crazy because I want to marry you? Is that right?' 'Si.' 'Tu sei pazz'!' he told her loudly. 'Perche?' she shouted back at him indignantly, her unavoidable round breasts rising and falling in a saucy huff beneath the pink chemise as she sat up in bed indignantly. 'Why am I crazy?' 'Because you won't marry me.' 'Stupido!' she shouted back at him, and smacked him loudly and flamboyantly on the chest with the back of her hand. 'Non posso sposarti! Non capisci? Non posso sposarti.' 'Oh, sure, I understand. And why can't you marry me?' 'Perche sei pazzo!' 'And why am I crazy?' 'Perche vuoi sposarmi.' 'Because I want to marry you. Carina, ti amo, ' he explained, and he drew her gently back down to the pillow. 'Ti amo molto.' 'Tu sei pazzo, ' she murmured in reply, flattered. 'Perche?' 'Because you say you love me. How can you love a girl who is not a virgin?' 'Because I can't marry you.' She bolted right up again in a threatening rage. 'Why can't you marry me?' she demanded, ready to clout him again if he gave an uncomplimentary reply. 'Just because I am not a virgin?' 'No, no, darling. Because you're crazy.
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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.
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