Catch 22 Chapter 5

Explain the two different descriptions of Chief White Halfoat 

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Halfoat is initially described as displaced, resentful, and oppressed. On the other hand, we also meet a man who is proud, and at time, exceedingly honest. His character also provides an opportunity to expose a terrible facet of military life and American culture. While racism was hinted at in the first chapter when the Texan was accused of murdering the soldier in white because he was black, racial discrimination is more directly addressed here. Chief White Halfoat cleverly points out the irony that Native Americans are in a sense the original Americans. Despite his exaggerations, the mood and essential complaints of Chief White Halfoat are not unprecedented. The style in which racial discrimination is described prevents the reader from being offended and lessens the blow with hyperbolic humor. Yossarian claims quite correctly that most of Halfoat's anecdotes are inaccurate or simply made up. Yet this story-telling is funny and even forgivable. Halfoat is not seeking to lecture but is drawing on the ancient oral tradition of his ancestors. As Yossarian remarks, Halfoat is simply retelling what was told him by his family and parents, and he simply does not know the truth.