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A FAREWELL TO ARMS SUMMARY NOTES
The contrast between the characters of Rinaldi and the priest is brought
out very clearly in this chapter. In keeping with Rinaldi’s bubbly and
effervescent character, the previous chapter is light and frothy. This
chapter, however, deals with the serious issue of love in its various
forms. The priest is sincere and grave. He is very much a family man,
but he is equally a man of God. His simple belief in God almost always
is a great assistance and relief to him. He believes in the virtues of
service, sacrifice, and self-denial which men of the world like Henry
and Rinaldi do not agree with. Rinaldi is talkative, demonstrative, and
frank to admit his lust for girls; the priest operates on a much higher
and value-filled plane.
In the field hospital, Henry’s bed was among many beds lined against the wall, to the right of which were a series of windows. When somebody died, a screen was put around the bed and the remaining patients got to see only the doctor’s shoes moving back and forth. There would be whispered conversations, a priest would go in, and later, male nurses carried away the blanket-covered body. Then, the screen would be taken away.
The doctors at the hospital were anxious to move Henry to a hospital
in Milan where there were better x-ray facilities, good surgeons, and
therapy. There was new American hospital in Milan that catered to Americans
wounded in Italy. The United States had declared war on Germany, and Henry
predicted that President Wilson would shortly declare war on Austria too.
The Italians would be at an advantage, since Austria was their enemy too.
Henry got drunk with Rinaldi and the major who had come to see him. Forty-eight
hours later, Henry was shifted to the American hospital in Milan. Catherine
too would go to that hospital as a nurse.
Henry and Catherine now reach Milan, and there will be progress in their love story. Many realistic details of war and war hospitals are expertly presented in this chapter. The conversation between the major, Rinaldi, and Henry are recorded as they talk. They talk of wine, food, politics, women, hospital life, nurses, and life in cities.
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