Free Study Guide for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway|
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CHAPTER SUMMARY A FAREWELL TO ARMS BY HEMINGWAY
In this chapter, we are introduced to a lot of comic, eccentric characters. Mr. Meyers was in a jail and later released when he was about to die. He then came to Milan to live. His wife was voluptuous and referred to the men as “dear boys.” Ettore is a young soldier and “braggadocio,” braggart. He is a brave soldier all right but because he insists on letting everyone know it, he becomes unpopular.
This chapter brings up the symbol of rain again, of which Catherine
is afraid. The author intends to portray rain as a malevolent force, one
that kills, and all major events from now on are going to happen while
it is raining. The incessant rain at the end of this chapter signifies
ominous things to come. It signifies the end of summer and thus, of the
sun and the idyllic life of Henry and Catherine.
One day in the afternoon, Henry and Catherine went to the horse races. They were accompanied by Ferguson and Crowell Rodgers. Rodgers was the boy who was hurt and wounded in the eyes by the exploding shell and admitted into hospital after Henry’s operation. Meyers liked Crowell and gave him tips.
The horse racing was very crooked. Men, blackballed elsewhere in the
world, raced in Italy. Meyer won on nearly every race and gave tips to
Crowell, provided he did not tell his wife. He himself never confided
to his wife about the horses he was betting on, and she usually lost most
races. She talked too much. They collected one hundred lira among themselves
and bet on a horse named Japalac. This horse was to pay thirty-to-one
and would bring thirty-five hundred lira to Henry. Eventually, the horse
won the race, about fifteen lengths ahead of the others. But, at the last
minute, somebody bet a lot of money on it, thereby bringing down the odds.
Catherine and Ferguson found the race crooked and disgusting. Mr. Meyers
refused a drink saying that he never drank. Catherine felt that she liked
it better when she was alone with Henry. She went to the races only to
please Henry; she would actually do anything he wanted. In general, they
had a good time.
The entire chapter is devoted to horse races, which are, strictly speaking, irrelevant to the plot and its development. Catherine is as meek and submissive as ever. Whatever she does, she does only to please Henry. She feels claustrophobic amidst people but puts up with it because Henry loves people. In his turn, Henry is a fun-loving and gregarious man and loves the company of other people besides Catherine’s.
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. 09 May 2017