Free Study Guide for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway|
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Vivid details of war are carefully piled up in this chapter. The camaraderie
that exists between officers and their subordinates is brought out very
clearly. This chapter is important because of the realistic portrayal
of combat and of Henry’s wound. It facilitates Henry’s removal from the
battlefront. Then he is moved to a hospital, where the love between Henry
and Catherine is given a chance to grow.
Henry was taken to the field hospital and put in a ward that was hot
and full of flies. In the afternoon, Rinaldi came to see him and brought
a bottle of cognac with him. Because Henry was gravely wounded, Rinaldi
informed him that he would get a bronze medal. If he had done any heroic
act, he would have gotten the silver. But Henry was wounded while he was
in the midst of eating a meal. Rinaldi asked him if he heroically carried
dying soldiers on his back, to which Henry replied that he couldn’t have
with his own legs broken. Rinaldi informed him that the offensive was,
however, successful and nearly a thousand enemy soldiers were taken prisoner.
He talked a lot and asked an orderly to bring a corkscrew to open the
bottle of cognac. He offered to bring Catherine to his side but Henry
refused. The town of Gorizia was its normal self but Henry made fun of
Rinaldi for being alone, without any new girls. At Rinaldi’s suggestion,
Henry drank some wine and felt warm. He said that he missed Henry very
much because there was no one to make fun of or to lend money to, no “blood-brother
and room-mate.” Henry suggested that the priest would be a good substitute
for him, but Rinaldi said that it was the captain who enjoyed poking fun
at the priest. He enjoyed teasing Henry, for he was an Italian underneath
that tough American exterior. He promised to send the “lovely, cool .
. . English goddess,” Catherine, to him. Rinaldi and Henry teased each
other for some time, and later, Rinaldi left after kissing him and wishing
him speedy recovery.
In this chapter, the friendship between Henry and Rinaldi is established. They are actually polarized in their thinking and behavior. Rinaldi is talkative, even garrulous, while Henry is not; Rinaldi is a skillful, dedicated, and committed surgeon, but Henry is easy going. Rinaldi is demonstrative in his affection for Henry whereas the sentiment is not reversible. They are roommates and “blood-brothers.” The light-hearted banter between them mutes the gloom and tragedy of the previous chapter.
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. 09 May 2017