Cliff Notes™, Cliffs Notes™, Cliffnotes™, Cliffsnotes™ are trademarked properties of the John Wiley Publishing Company. TheBestNotes.com does not provide or claim to provide free Cliff Notes™ or free Sparknotes™. Free Cliffnotes™ and Free Spark Notes™ are trademarked properties of the John Wiley Publishing Company and Barnes & Noble, Inc., respectively. TheBestNotes.com has no relation.

TheBestNotes.com: Free Summary / Study Guide / Book Summaries / Literature Notes / Analysis / Synopsis
 
+Larger Font+
-Smaller Font-





Free Study Guide for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version


LITERATURE SUMMARY FOR A FAREWELL TO ARMS

BOOK IV

CHAPTER 34

Summary

Henry got off the freight train just outside the Milan station, crossed the tracks, and went into an open wine shop. It was just before dawn. The proprietor was very friendly. He guessed that Henry was in deep trouble and offered him sanctuary. Henry refused the offer. The proprietor advised him to get out of the military uniform and wear some civilian clothes. Henry went out, hailed a cab, and reached the hospital. The porter’s wife was happy to see him safe. Henry asked her to inform Catherine that he was there, but she informed him that Catherine was at Stresa. She went there two days before with Miss Ferguson. Henry asked her not to disclose to anyone that she had seen him. Then, he got into a cab and went to Simmons' place. He informed Henry that his latest concert at Piacenza was a flop. Henry felt sorry about it. He then asked Simmons the procedure for going to Switzerland and disclosed that he did not plan to go back to the front again. Simmons thought that this was a sensible decision. He offered his clothes to Henry. Henry said that he had to go to Stresa first and Simmons suggested that he could just row across the water to reach Stresa.

Notes

Except for the police, Henry has friends and well wishers around him. The only sour note in this chapter, apart from the hounding police, is Catherine’s absence. Henry has to wait some more time before he can be reunited with her. For some chapters now, the story has moved at a brisk pace. The entire novel has small realistic details that lend credence to the story. For example, “A wine shop was open and I went in for some coffee. It smelled of early morning, of swept dust, spoons in coffee glasses, and the wet circles left by win -glasses. . . . [I] drank a glass of
coffee and ate a piece of bread. The coffee was gray with milk and I skimmed the milk scum off the top with a piece of bread.” These details add credence to the situation. They also give a break to the reader, after having been caught up in the suspenseful events.



CHAPTER 34

Summary

In civilian clothes, Henry felt like a masquerader for a long time; he had worn the military uniform, which was very tight fitting. In the civilian trousers, he felt very floppy, as they were too big for him. He caught a train for Stresa and was almost alone in the compartment. His clothes were Simmon’s, but his hat was new. He felt as sad as the Lombard country that he saw outside through the window. He had the day’s newspaper with him but was not inclined to read it since it had lots of war news. He was determined to forget the war because he had made a “separate peace.” He was glad to get off at Stresa.

Carrying his bag, Henry asked a man at the station which hotels would be open then. The Grand Hotel was open. He went in a carriage to that hotel and checked into a room. Later, he went into the bar and recognized the barman from the hotel before. He lied to him that he was there on convalescent leave. He asked the barman if he had seen two English girls in town. The barman said that he had seen two English nurses and that they were at the little hotel near the station. When he questioned him about the war, Henry gruffly told him that he did not want to talk about war because there was no war; it was over, at least for himself. He felt like a truant schoolboy thinking about the goings-on at school.

Catherine and Ferguson were at supper when Henry went to their hotel to see them. Catherine looked happy to see him while Fergy accused him of getting her into a mess. Catherine replied that no one got her into a mess, she got in her own messes. Fergy declares that she could not stand Henry and that he had ruined Catherine. She called him a snake in an Italian uniform, with a cape around his neck. When they told her that they planned to leave together, she accused Catherine of not having any shame or honor. If she had any, she would not have been pregnant with a child and not be all smiles when her “seducer” came back. Henry and Catherine did not mind Fergy’s outburst because they knew that she was a friend. Fergy urges them to get married, not to please anybody, but because it is right. Leaving Fergy behind, Catherine and Henry spent the night together, happy and secure in each other’s company, alone against the others. He felt that Catherine gave him comfort and strength.

They woke up the next morning feeling happy and relaxed. They had breakfast in bed. When Catherine asked him if he wanted to see the newspaper, he said that he did not want to and when he understood it himself, he would tell her about his desertion. Catherine asked him if he would be arrested for not being in uniform. He replied that he would be shot. They decided that Switzerland was very close and safe and that they did not have to live like criminals. She consoled him, saying that he had only deserted the Italian army and so should not be too worried.

Notes

This chapter is one of the most important in the entire novel. Here, Hemingway puts forward his theory of “separate peace.” Countries may be at war, but if a man has made his peace with himself, then the external world does not matter to him. When he abandoned his post, Henry refused to be either angry or cheated and puts it firmly behind him. His defection was impulsive; therefore, he refuses to run into an absurd demonstration against violence or to withdraw into shell shock. He comes to terms with his act, of which he is neither ashamed nor guilty, and makes his separate peace. This peace is very important because it is not made with the world, but with himself. So far as war is concerned, Henry has made his peace, but it remains to be seen whether he can make peace in his love life too.

In this novel, it seems as if both Henry and Catherine have a sixth sense for exactly predicting things that come true in future. Catherine sees herself dead in the rain and so she is afraid of it. It does come true at the end. Similarly, Henry thinks that the world killed the brave, good, and gentle impartially; so Catherine, who is all of this, is killed. He will be broken and shattered but as he predicted, he will still be strong at the broken places. He will live on, waiting for death.

 

Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway Free BookNotes Online Book Summary

Privacy Policy
All Content Copyright©TheBestNotes. All Rights Reserved.
No further distribution without written consent.
114 Users Online | This page has been viewed 2776 times
This page was last updated on 5/9/2017 8:50:17 AM

Cite this page:

TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on A Farewell to Arms". TheBestNotes.com. . 09 May 2017
             <>.