Free Study Guide for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway|
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From a responsible, quick-thinking officer, Henry turns into a fugitive,
for no fault of his own. Once, Catherine had said that they had each other
while “they” were against them. Ironically, her statement comes true,
as Henry runs from the police.
Henry was cold, wet, and hungry. His knee was stiff but okay. He remembered Dr. Valentini, who had done the operation on his knee. He felt dismembered and confused in his thinking. Henry refused to think about Catherine because he thought he would go crazy if he did. He longed to see and lie beside her, but at that moment, he did not know when he would see her again. He thought that he would have to seek other employment now, if there was any other employment, and if the police did not get him.
His anger at the injustice handed to him by the police and his obligation
to the army were washed out in the river. He no longer wanted to wear
the uniform. He had taken off the stars on the collar, for convenience,
not because of a sense of honor. He realized that he was not against them;
he was just through with them. Other soldiers may be good, brave, calm,
and sensible, but it was not for him anymore. Piani would tell them they
had shot Henry and since they would not find the identification papers,
they would assume that he drowned. He wondered what his colleagues would
think about him. The priest and Rinaldi were now part of his memory; he
would never go back and see them again. He wanted only to eat, drink,
sleep with Catherine, and avoid thinking . They could get together and
go someplace where they would not be found. There were many such places.
The entire chapter is stream of consciousness. Memories and wishing for the future tumble together in the painful present. Henry feels that his plunge into the river is a sort of absolution of duty, commitment, and even anger. He has turned his back permanently on the army. He was forced to become a deserter and he defiantly wishes to stay one.
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. 09 May 2017