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|“||Aardvaark's my name, and navigation is my game.||„|
|~ Aarfy introducing himself.|
|“||Oh, no. Not me. They aren't going to put good old Aarfy in jail. Not for killing her.(...) Oh, no. They're not coming to arrest me. Not good old Aarfy.||„|
|~ Aarfy's last line, denying he will be arrested for his grisly rape and murder of Michaela.|
Captain "Aarfy" Aardvaark is a supporting villain in the book Catch-22, its 1970 film adaptation and the 2019 Hulu miniseries.
He is a faulty navigator in the 256th US Army Air Squadron who at a glance simply seems to be incessantly jovial before proving to be a sadistic debauchee not above abusing his military position to assault women of the low social class. The protagonist, John Yossarian, comes to despise him.
He was portrayed by Charles Grodin in the 1970 film and Rafi Gavron in the 2019 miniseries.
Aarfy is shown to be power hungry, trying to befriend Nately to get close to his rich father. As shown from his talk with Yossarian of Micaela, he believes that someone hurt someone low on the social ladder has no effects for someone high on it.
Aarfy is sociopathic, as demonstrated by his lack of remorse for rape and later murder. The closest he has shown to guilt is fear for getting arrested for raping and murdering Michaela, which later proves unfounded.
He is also shown as condescending, such as when Yossarian confronts him about murdering Michaela he says in the most condescending way possible, "well I couldn't have say bad things about us'".
Aarfy is mentioned as being pudgy and pale white in the book.
Aarfy starts out as an unassuming captain in the USAAF, as part of the protagonist Yossarian's squad on the Italian Front. He assists his crew in bombing missions, though he often messes up his job and leads to unneeded fatal errors. It becomes increasingly apparent to Yossarian that Aarfy simply does not care about the peril of their missions, as he instead of helping out opts to taunt Yossarian with dissonant serenity, cracking jokes and pretending not to hear his teammate's desperate pleas for Aarfy to leave the cockpit.The captain spends a considerable portion of the story hanging out with Nately, in order to ingratiate himself with the latter's rich father. He ridicules Nately for being in love with a sex worker in Rome, and instead proposes they simply trap her and force her to give up her body and possessions.
Aarfy jovially admits to committing rape in his fraternity days where he and his dorm-mates blackmailed two high-school girls into having sex with them by telling their parents that they had sex with them. When he had secured the girls were trapped, he and his mates kept them there for over ten hours, and Aarfy would gleefully smack them whenever they complained. It also devolved into a robbery, and the girls were stripped of their money and food before being tossed out to the streets.
Later in the book he rapes the innocent Italian maid in his officers' apartment in Rome. In order to hide her, he locks her in a closet for 2 hours while muffling her cries with his hand. Finally, the city's curfew sirens sound, and he tosses her out of the window to kill her so she can't speak out against him.
Yossarian finds out about this and condemns Aarfy, stressing that he will finally be arrested for his crimes with rapturous joy. Though Aarfy keeps insisting he's of the belief he won't be arrested, he shows visible fear when the police burst into the apartment. However, they merely apologise to Aarfy for the disturbance and arrest Yossarian for traveling into Italy without a passport, letting Aarfy off scot-free.
- Aarfy's original name was "Aarky", an abbreviation closer to his full name, Aardvaark. It is unknown why Heller changed this, but in the stage dramatization of the story he has Aarfy maniacally bark, "Arf! Arf!" after being exposed for raping and killing Michaela, lampshading the oddness of his nickname.
- Aarfy's cold-blooded murder of Michaela is commonly recognized as the breaking point of Catch-22. It serves as the powerful conclusion to the 39th Chapter, 'The Eternal City', which notoriously drops the comedic facets of the book in order to better explore the severity of militrary injustice. The fact that Aarfy gets away with his heinous crimes erases any remaining doubt Yossarian might have had that the military and police forces are out to serve no-one but themselves.
- Aarfy can in some ways be seen as a twisted reflection of Yossarian; both soldiers are sorely out of the place in the war and don't actually wish to serve their generals, instead looking for escapist ways of meeting their own desires. However, while Yossarian merely looks for hopeless love, Aarfy takes it much too far and rapes the women he desires, believing (rightly, unfortunately) that since he is a military man and they are poor civillians, he can get away with his crimes as him being outed would reflect poorly on the American Army.