The photo collage above shows three different answers to a question which we posed to the students in our highest-level course, who are reading Joseph Heller’s phenomenal 1961 novel Catch-22. Here’s the question:
You have been furnished with a small blob of putty and a 1:200-scale diecast toy B-25, the plane crewed by Yossarian and his colleagues. Based on the information provided in Catch-22, gently press your spherical bit of putty against the spot on the toy closest to Yossarian’s location within his aircraft during a bombing run. Use enough force to ensure that the putty won’t easily fall off, but not so much that you flatten it on the toy’s surface.
Each student was gifted the diecast toy B-25 bomber they used, regardless of how they fared on the quiz. That being said, only one of the pea-sized putty blobs is correctly placed. If you’ve read the novel (or you’re a World War II buff), you likely know which one is right. If not, then you’ve just lucked out and stumbled onto an excellent pretext for buying a copy and digging into one of the most widely acclaimed novels in English literature.