"Death to all modifiers, he declared one day"

By the second page, the reader is treated to another situation that will be repeated many times in the book: arbitrariness. Officers and enlisted men will arbitrarily exercise power over one another, simply because they can, or arbitrary events will happen for no explicable reason.

Here, given the monotonous job of censoring letters written by the enlisted men in the hospital ward, Yossarian assuages his boredom by playing games, such as removing all the adjectives and adverbs, then censoring all the articles (a, an the), or blacking out names and addresses.

Though it seems like somewhat harmless fun, it does affect the lives of other men, and it mimics larger examples of arbitrariness that will govern Yossarian’s fortunes and choices -- one of the most crucial being Colonel Cathcart’s repeated decision to raise the number of bombing missions everyone in his squadrom must fly before being allowed to go home.