Free Study Guide for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway|
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A FAREWELL TO ARMS ONLINE BOOK SUMMARY
More light is thrown on Henry’s character in this chapter. He has a humane side to his personality. He seeks to rescue the crippled American soldier, even by bending military rules a little and making him pretend as if he were wounded. This is not just one American showing sympathy to a fellow American; nationality has nothing to do with it. On the contrary, it is the empathy felt by one disinterested soldier trying to rescue another from a meaningless situation like war. These two reluctant soldiers remind us of Yossarian, the protagonist in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, who is a dispirited soldier himself.
This chapter is also significant because it shows that Henry is not one of those men who have misplaced conceptions of honor and glory. He does not believe in “fighting-unto-death” or “honor-before-death.” When it becomes necessary, he is more willing to give up fighting, rather than risk his life.
As his involvement with war becomes less intense, his involvement with
Catherine becomes stronger. He realizes that he is just about a step away
from falling into deep, passionate love. In this chapter, the two major
themes of the novel, war and love, are elaborated upon.
The next afternoon, it was scheduled that the Italians would launch
an attack up the river. Henry took four cars up there in order to bring
back wounded soldiers. Before going there, however, he went to the British
hospital and was able to meet Catherine for a few moments. He referred
to the Italian attack as a show and told her that he would be back the
next day. She gave him an image of Saint Anthony strung on a chain to
ward off evil and bad luck. She begged him not to say good-bye, but say
that he would be back the next evening. The other ambulance driver was
also wearing a Saint Anthony image at his suggestion and then promptly
forgot all about it. When he was wounded later on, he did not find it
on his person. As he was travelling, Henry saw a lot of mountains around
him. He also saw several troops on the road, trucks, and mules carrying
mountain guns. The mountains he saw were on the Austrian side; the Italians
had nothing like them. He could also see a river far down below and an
old bridge across it. It was nearly dark when he arrived at his destination.
The war gears up a little. The movement of troops and guns, the tactical plans, and the ambulances being readied prove that an offensive will be launched soon. The symbol of the mountain again occurs here.
Catherine, we come to know, is not a Catholic. Even though she is not overtly religious at all. She is tremendously concerned for Henry's safety and for that reason, she gives him an image of St. Anthony.
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. 09 May 2017