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Free Study Guide for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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A FAREWELL TO ARMS CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

BOOK II

CHAPTER 13

Summary

When Henry was taken to Milan in a train, he was shifted to the American hospital in an ambulance. He was taken on a stretcher to the elevator, and when there was no room in it, the attendants carried him. Henry felt pain in his legs when they were bent in the elevator and pleaded to the men to be gentle. He inquired whether he was very heavy, to which they reply no. When he went into the hospital, no room was ready because no patients were expected. The nurses could not speak Italian, but Henry informed them that he could speak English. Henry offered the attendants and the stretcher-bearers some money. Henry finally got a room. The next morning when he awoke, Henry rang the bell, and it was answered by a young, pretty nurse. She informed him that the doctor had gone to Lake Como and they did not know that a patient was coming. Henry asked her if she knew a nurse called Miss Barkley but she said she didn’t. She washed him gently and smoothly. His temperature read normal, though he claimed that a lot of trench mortar fragments, old screws, and bedsprings were lodged in his legs. She told him that if that was the case, then there would be inflammation and fever. Her name was Miss Gage and she treated him well, and provided him with excellent nursing care.

The next afternoon, Henry met Miss Van Campen, the superintendent. She did not like Henry, and he did not like her either. He treated her curtly and was later admonished by Miss Gage for having done so. The doctor had still not come from Lake Como, for he had a clinic there. Henry asked the porter to bring him some wine and the evening newspapers.

Notes

This chapter vividly describes the apathy that is generally found in hospitals dealing with war victims. The staff is skeletal, the nurses are all right, the superintendent is rough, and the doctor is absent. There is little scope for action or plot development in this chapter because we know that Catherine has not yet arrived.



CHAPTER 14

Summary

When Henry awoke the next morning, he felt that he was still at the battlefront. When he saw the two-day old dirty bandages on his legs, he realized where he was. He asked Nurse Gage to bring a barber for him. She told him that she would have given him a glass of wine if he had asked her. She then informed him that Barkley had arrived and that she did not like her much. After cleaning him up, she sent for the barber. The barber was very solemn and refrained from talking while he shaved Henry’s face. He mistook Henry for an Austrian officer and so would not talk to him. He had wielded a very sharp razor and if Henry had moved, he would have definitely killed him.

Just then, Catherine entered the room, said “hello, darling” to him, came across, and sat on his bed. She looked fresh, young, and very beautiful. When Henry saw her, he realized that he was in love with her and everything turned over inside of him. He kissed her and felt her heart beating fast. He told her that he loved her and was crazy about her. Though there were some problems regarding her stay in the hospital, she promised him that she would stay. She told him that she would come whenever she could. Henry thought that God knew he did not want to fall in love with anyone. But, now, he had fallen in love with her. Miss Gage came in and told him that the doctor would be arriving that afternoon.

Notes

This chapter is significant because, for the first time, Henry realized that his feelings for Catherine were very deep. He was afraid of any commitment until, but since he realized that he loved her, he felt better. From then on, battles took a backseat and love played the major role, as Henry realized that he did not lust after Catherine, but genuinely loved her.

 

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