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Ernest Miller Hemingway was born in 1899 to a young doctor and his wife, a professional singer. He was the second of six children. His first short story was published in 1916 as part of his high school anthology. Two years later, he enlisted in the reserves for World War One. He was stationed in Italy. After the war, he spent many years of his life as an expatriate between France, Italy, Spain, and Cuba where his wife lived after his death. His first serious novel, The Sun Also Rises, was published in 1926. His father, who had spent most of his life wrestling with depression, committed suicide in 1928. Hemingway was divorced and married several times and sired a couple of children. He won the Nobel prize for literature in 1954 for The Old Man and the Sea. Seven years later, after a few accidents and sicknesses, Ernest Hemingway took his own life at the age of 62.
Hemingway lived during a tumultuous time period of international conflict (World War I and World War II). . This period saw a new development of prose in the works of James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner, as well as poetry with Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. Hemingway was close associate of Fitzgerald, who often commented on his books. He was also an admirer of Joyce and a financial supporter for an aging Ezra Pound. While other authors, such as George Orwell, were social commentators, Stephen Cooper maintains that "Hemingway seemed to resolutely pursue his own interests" because to him literature was more important than politics. His other novels and short stories such as For Whom the Bell Tolls, and To Have and Have Not, support this focus on the individual. Hemingway flaunted his interest in big game hunting and bullfighting; this was part of what Peter Messent calls "that public persona which the writer himself was only too keen on occasions to foster."
A Farewell to Arms was first published as a series in the United States in 1929. The series was banned in some cities, most notably Boston, for its sexual content. This banning, however, did not affect Hemingway's growing popularity. A Farewell to Arms made its film debut three years later, a debut which Hemingway refused to attend. Hemingway crafted this novel from a wealth of personal experience. He was stationed in Italy in 1918 and wounded that July. During his Hospital stay, he began and ended a relationship with a nurse. Later, when he was free-lance writing in Greece and Turkey, he witnessed the retreat of the Greek army and its civilians.. All of these experiences provided Hemingway with the palette he used to create this tale.
Hemingway's effect on modern American literature is difficult to gauge, but tangible nonetheless. Drastically different authors such as Kerouac have claimed him as an influence. Recent scholarship has panned Hemingway for narrow-mindedness and misogyny, but his work remains indispensable for understanding an important period of our history. As Raymond S. Nelson says, "Hemingway tried to tell the truth about his times, to correct the 'lies' which former generations told, whether wittingly or unwittingly."
Beegel, Susan F. Hemingway's Craft of Omission. Ann Arbor: U.M.I. Research Press, 1988.
Burwell, Rose Marie. Hemingway: The Postwar years and the Posthumous Novels. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Cooper, Stephen. The Politics of Ernest Hemingway. Ann Arbor, U.M.I. Research Press, 1987.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner, 1929, 1951, 1995.
Messent, Peter. Ernest Hemingway. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.
Nelson, Raymond S. Hemingway: Expressionist Artist. Ames. Iowa State University Press, 1979.
Reynolds, Michael. Hemingway: An Annotated Chronology. Detroit: Omnigraphics Inc., 1991.
Frederic Henry is an American serving as a Lieutenant of an ambulance division in the Italian Army. In the first part of the book, Fred goes on leave to Naples and returns. Through his friend, Lt. Rinaldi, he meets a British nurses' aide named Catherine Barkley whose fiancee perished the previous year in the Somme. Fred is immediately smitten with Catherine and he spends a lot of time courting her. At the mess hall, they make fun of Fred's other friend, the priest. As the snows clear, it is time for the offensive to begin again, and Fred goes with his three ambulances to a post in the mountains. During the first night here, there is a bombardment and Fred is seriously wounded in the legs. One of his drivers is also wounded and another is killed. Fred is shipped to a field hospital, but when an American hospital is opened in Milan, he is shipped there.
Fred is not expected by the hospital in Milan, but they receive him anyway. Catherine comes with her friend, Miss Ferguson, to work at this hospital and be close to him. The first estimate for Fred's recovery is six months, but a second doctor operates on him almost immediately. Before long, Fred is walking on crutches and going to restaurants with Catherine. She works the night shift so they can be together at night. Fred has begun to drink too much. Once recovered, Fred is granted a threeweek leave but he loses it because he comes down with jaundice from drinking too much. Catherine confesses to him that she has become pregnant; Fred is not upset with her, only worried. Before he is to return to the front, they spend a night together in a hotel. He leaves on a train in the middle of the night to return to Gorizia.
There are fewer people at Gorizia and the town is not as cheerful. Lt. Rinaldi has become more depressed. He makes a scene in the mess hall and then leaves. The priest and Fred talk about life and war. The next day Fred reports to a mountain post to find his ambulance team. That night there is an Austrian attack and they are forced to retreat.. After a couple of days, a traffic jam is created from all the people retreating. Fred directs his three trucks to take a side road. Soon after, the trucks become stuck. They must continue on foot. At a river, one of the drivers is killed. Soon after, another tries to leave, but is captured. After a day, Fred and his last driver attempt to rejoin the Italian army. The Italian officers, afraid of German spies, are interrogating and shooting anyone who is not Italian. Fred jumps into a river to escape execution,and floats for some time. He jumps a train and rides it to Milan.
In Milan, he finds out that Catherine has gone to a town called Stresa near the Swiss border. He gets some new clothing from a friend and takes a train to Stresa. He checks into a hotel and finds Catherine with her friend Miss Ferguson. They are happy to be reunited. However, Miss Ferguson isn't happy to see Fred because she doesn't trust him. They stay in Stresa for a day, but one night the bartender, who is Fred's friend, warns him that he is to be arrested in the morning. He offers them his boat to row to Switzerland. Fred rows through the night and arrives in Switzerland where he and Catherine are first arrested, but later issued provisional visas.
Together, Catherine and Fred stay in a remote mountain town called Montreux. They spend all of their time together reading, hiking, and talking. Catherine's pregnancy has matured and when the spring comes they move into a larger town. When Catherine goes into labor, they rush to the hospital. Even though it is early in the morning when they arrive, Catherine still hasn't delivered the baby by noon. The doctor suggests a caesarian. The operation seems to go well, but Fred soon finds out that Catherine has hemorrhaged and that the child was born dead, choked by its own umbilical cord. Soon after this, Catherine dies from repeated hemorrhaging.
Frederic Henry: Frederic Henry is the protagonist of the tale. He is an American serving as a Lieutenant in the Italian Army. Hemingway leaves no clue as to why Fred was in Italy at the beginning of the war or how long he has been serving. He commands a group of ambulances. After returning from a leave, he is immediately smitten with Miss Catherine Barkley. Their love affair is passionate and long-lasting. He is seriously wounded in the legs and spends several months recovering in a hospital. When he returns to the front, Italian troops are retreating and he is eventually forced to desert the Army. He flees with Catherine to Switzerland where they spend their last few months together.
Lieutenant Rinaldi: Rinaldi is Fred's companion who introduces him to Miss Barkley. In the beginning of the story, it is Rinaldi who is in love with Catherine, not Fred. Rinaldi is always Fred's close friend. He tries hard to entertain him when he comes back from his prolonged medical leave, but things are different. Rinaldi's last appearance in the novel is that of a manic and possibly depressed drunk. Rinaldi is a surgeon who spends most of his time operating.
Priest: The priest, who is given no other name, is a moral and philosophical force in Fred’s life. Although he appears only a handful of times, these appearances usually end up in long philosophical conversations about war and love. The priest visits Fred when he is wounded and speaks with him when he comes back from his leave. The priest comes from a rural Italian community and is opposed to the war.
Miss Barkley: Miss Catherine Barkley is Frederic Henry's love interest in this novel. She is English and serving as an assistant nurse for the British hospitals in Italy. She originally joined because she was following her fiancee to war. He died a year before in France. Catherine loves Fred deeply and nearly worships him at different moments in the story. She is supportive when he leaves the Army and flees with him to Switzerland, carrying their unborn child.
Captain: This is one of the captains at Gorizia. He is the chief taunter of the priest and disappears by the end of the novel.
Major: This officer is Fred's commanding officer at Gorizia. He is lively and joins the taunting of the priest early on in the novel, but by the retreat from Gorizia, he has become more serious. He defends the priest and is fond of Fred.
Miss Ferguson: She is almost always with Miss Barkley from the beginning of the story until they are separated in Stresa. She is from Scotland and very critical of Fred. She is more serious about Catherine's pregnancy than Catherine, and often criticizes both Catherine and Fred.
Rocca: A soldier who jokes about the priest.
Manera: Fred's driver who is killed in the explosion that wounds Fred.
Passini: One of Fred's drivers before he is wounded. Passini is very much against the war and thinks that everyone should stop fighting.
Miss Gage: Miss Gage is one of the first nurses at the American hospital in Milan. When Fred first sees her, he thinks she is pretty, but he later changes his mind. She often has drinks with Fred and tries to help him hide his drinking from Miss Van Campen.
Miss Walker: The second nurse Fred sees during his stay at Milan. Miss Walker is an older nurse.
Miss Van Campen: The head nurse at the hospital in Milan. She is easily offended and has a great dislike for Fred. She tries to be nice to him when he first arrives in Milan but she gets steadily more frustrated.
Dr. Valentini: The doctor who ends up operating on Fred in Milan. Dr. Valentini operates the next day, rather than six months later as the other doctors had promised.
Old Meyers: An old criminal who is released from prison because of age. He gives Fred gambling advice and appears when they go to the racetrack.
Ettore Moretti: An Italian captain Fred knows and talks to in a bar. He is a genuine hero who has won many medals, but Catherine doesn't like him because he brags. Fred admires him to a certain extent. Ettore makes fun of the American singers, especially Simons.
Simmons: The American studying singing in Italy. He is not a very successful singer in this book. When Fred arrives in Milan after having deserted the army, Simmons gives him clothing and advice.
Crowell Rodgers: A man who accompanies Miss Ferguson with Fred and Catherine when they go to the horse races.
Gino: He is an Italian soldier who Fred relieves when he arrives at Bainsizza.
Bonello: Bonello is another one of Fred's drivers in the retreat from Gorizia. He finishes off one of the engineers, who in an attempt to desert, is shot by Fred. After the death of Aymo, he leaves Fred and Piani to be captured because he thinks he is more likely to survive this way.
Piani: Another of Fred's drivers in the retreat from Gorizia. He is the driver who stays with Fred until he jumps into the river.
Aymo: Aymo is one of Fred's drivers during the retreat from Gorizia. He is the one who picks up the two sisters. His truck is the first to get stuck. As they try and cross a river, and just before he is killed, Aymo admits to Fred that they are all Socialist.
Bartender (Emilio): The bartender, named Emilio, is their friend in Stresa. It is from Emilio that Fred learns where to find Catherine. Fred goes fishing with Emilio. Emilio warns Fred that he is going to be arrested in the morning and he helps them escape, giving them his boat to use to get to Switzerland.
Count Greffi: The count appears in the hotel at Stresa to play billiards with Fred. They talk about politics, war, and love. It is apparent that the pair have played together before. The count is much better than Fred.
Mrs. Guttingen: The woman from whom Catherine and Fred rent a place to stay in Montreux over the winter.
Mr. Guttingen: Mrs. Guttingen’s husband.
Italy: This is where all the action of the novel takes place. Fred is in Italy at the beginning of the war and he joins the Italian army. Italy is allied with Britain and France (and later Serbia and Russia) against Austria and Germany.
World War One: (1913-1918) This was the first 'modern' war in that it saw the disintegration of 'classical' warfare tactics. Technological advances such as the machine gun, airplane, submarine and tank led to the creation of trench warfare. World War I erupted from thea series of events following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in the Balkans. It quickly became a world conflict because of an intricate series of treaties and alliances that polarized the world. The United States joined the Allies late in the war. Germany was forced to pay grave reparations at the end of the war, as written in the Treaty of Versailles. Many scholars believe this may have been one of the largest contributing factors to World War II.
Gorizia: The city in which Fred is stationed throughout most of the book. The retreat from this city ultimately results in Fred's desertion of the Army.
Somme: A bloody front between the Germans and the French. Hundreds of thousands of men are said to have perished in the trenches on both sides.
jaundice: A liver disease often caused or worsened by excessive drinking. It causes a yellowing of the eyes.
San Gabriele: An Italian offensive that fails miserably.
Milan: The city in which the American hospital is located. This is where Fred spends the bulk of his time after his injury.
Stresa: A Northern Italian town that borders a lake that borders Switzerland. As in other wars, Switzerland was neutral in World War One.
Montreux: The Swiss city where Fred and Catherine spend the winter.
Quote 1: "lived in Udine and came out this way nearly every day to see how things were going, and things went very badly." Chapter 1, pg. 4
Quote 2: "I was very glad that the Austrians seemed to want to come back to the town some time, if the war should end, because they did not bombard it to destroy it but only a little in a military way." Chapter 2, pg. 5
Quote 3: "young and blushed easily" Chapter 2, pg. 7
Quote 4: "All thinking men are atheists." Chapter 2, pg. 8
Quote 5: "It was all as I had left it except that now it was spring. I looked in the door of the big room and saw the major sitting at his desk, the window open and the sunlight coming into the room. He did not see me and I did not know whether to go in and report or go upstairs first and clean up. I decided to go upstairs." Chapter 3, pg. 11-12
Quote 6: "had always known what I did not know and what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget." Chapter 3, pg. 14
Quote 7: "Miss Barkley was quite tall. She wore what seemed to be a nurse's uniform, was blonde and had a tawny skin and gray eyes. I thought she was very beautiful." Chapter 4, pg. 18
Quote 8: "American in the Italian Army." Chapter 5, pg. 22
Quote 9: "[E]verybody was in the dugouts. There were racks of rockets standing to be touched off to call for help from the artillery or to signal with if the telephone wires were to be cut." Chapter 5, pg. 23
Quote 10: "You see I've been leading a sort of a funny life. And I never even talk English. And you are so very beautiful." Chapter 5, pg. 26
Quote 11: "We're going to have a strange life." Chapter 5, pg. 27
Quote 12: "I kissed her and saw that her eyes were shut. I kissed both her shut eyes. I thought she was probably a little crazy. It was all right if she was. I did not care what I was getting into. This was better than going every evening to the house for officers where the girls climbed all over you and put your cap on backwards as a sign of affection between their trips upstairs with other officers." Chapter 6, pg. 30
Quote 13: "Thank god I did not become involved with the British." Chapter 6, pg. 32
Quote 14: "good but dull" Chapter 7, pg. 38
Quote 15: "I went out the door and suddenly I felt lonely and empty. I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly. I had gotten somewhat drunk and had nearly forgotten to come but when I could not see her there I was feeling lonely and hollow." Chapter 7, pg. 41
Quote 16: "There were troops on this road and motor trucks and mules with mountain guns and as we went down, keeping to one side, and across, under a hill beyond the river, the broken houses of the little town that was to be taken." Chapter 8, pg. 45
Quote 17: "I believe we should get the war over. . .It would not finish if one side stopped fighting. It would only be worse if we stopped fighting." Chapter 9, pg. 49
Quote 18: "War is not won by victory." Chapter 9, pg. 50
Quote 19: "I ate the end of my piece of cheese and took a swallow of wine. Through the other noise I heard a cough, then came the chuh-chuh-chuh-chuh- then there was a flash, as when a blast-furnace door is swung open, and a roar that started white and went red and on and on in a rushing wind." Chapter 9, pg. 54
Quote 20: "multiple superficial wounds of the left and right thigh and left and right knee and right foot. Profound wounds of right knee and foot." Chapter 9, pg. 59
Quote 21: "I will send Miss Barkley. You are better with her without me. You are purer and sweeter." Chapter 10, pg. 66
Quote 22: "Still even wounded you do not see it. I can tell. I do not see it myself but I feel it a little." Chapter 11, pg. 70
Quote 23: "I would be too happy. If I could live there and love God and serve him." Chapter 11, pg. 71
Quote 24: "Yes. . .You do. What you tell me about in the nights. That is not love. That is only passion and lust. When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve." Chapter 11, pg. 72
Quote 25: "The next day in the morning we left for Milan and arrived forty-eight hours later. It was a bad trip. We were sidetracked for a long time this side of Mestre and children came and peeked in. I got a little boy to go for a bottle of cognac but he came back and said he could only get grappa." Chapter 12, pg. 77
Quote 26: "When I woke I looked around. There was sunlight coming in through the shutters. I saw the big armoire, the bare walls, and two chairs. My legs in the dirty bandages, stuck straight out in the bed. I was careful not to move them. I was thirsty and I reached for the bell and pushed the button. I heard the door open and looked and it was a nurse. She looked young and pretty." Chapter 13, pg. 84
Quote 27: "She looked fresh and young and very beautiful. I thought I had never seen anyone so beautiful." Chapter 14, pg. 91
Quote 28: "God knows I didn't mean to fall in love with her." Chapter 14, pg. 93
Quote 29: "I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another's company and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot take out your appendix properly will recommend you to a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils with success. These were such doctors." Chapter 15, pg. 95
Quote 30: "I don't. I don't want anybody else to touch you. I'm silly. I get furious if they touch you." Chapter 16, pg. 103
Quote 31: "When a man stays with a girl when does she say how much it costs?" Chapter 16, pg. 105
Quote 32: "Catherine Barkley took three days off night duty and then she came back on again. It was as though we met again after each of us had been away on a long journey" Chapter 17, pg. 111
Quote 33: "She had wonderfully beautiful hair and I would lie sometimes and watch her twisting it up in the light that came in the open door and it shone even in the night as water shines sometimes just before it is really daylight." Chapter 18, pg. 114
Quote 34: "there isn't any me, I'm you. Don't make up a separate me." Chapter 18, pg. 115
Quote 35: "Always I wanted to see Catherine." Chapter 19, pg. 117
Quote 36: "was a legitimate hero who bored everyone he met. Catherine could not stand him." Chapter 19, pg. 124
Quote 37: "It's all nonsense. It's only nonsense. I'm not afraid of the rain. I am not afraid of the rain. Oh, oh, God, I wish I wasn't." Chapter 19, pg. 126
Quote 38: "Don't you like it better when we're alone?" Chapter 20, pg. 132
Quote 39: "In September the first cool nights came, then the days were cool and the leaves on the trees in the park began to turn color and we knew the summer was gone." Chapter 21, pg. 133
Quote 40: "great contrast between his world pessimism and personal cheeriness" Chapter 21, pg. 134
Quote 41: "The Chicago White Sox were winning the American league pennant and the New York Giants were leading the National League. Babe Ruth was a pitcher then playing for Boston. The papers were dull, the news was local and stale, and the war news was all old." Chapter 21, pg. 136
Quote 42: "that's what you mustn't do. People have babies all the time. Everybody has babies. It's a natural thing." Chapter 21, pg. 138
Quote 43: "the coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one." Chapter 21, pg. 139
Quote 44: " I wish we could do something really sinful." Chapter 23, pg. 153
Quote 45: "I watched his face and could feel the whole compartment against me. I did not blame them. He was in the right. But I wanted the seat. Still no one said anything." Chapter 24, pg. 158
Quote 46: "It did not feel like a homecoming." Chapter 25, pg. 163
Quote 47: "You are very good to say so. I am very tired of this war. If I was away, I do not believe I would come back." Chapter 25, pg. 165
Quote 48: "I kept this to remind me of you trying to brush away the Villa Rossa from your teeth in the morning, swearing and eating aspirin and cursing harlots. Every time I see that glass I think of you trying to clean your conscience with a toothbrush." Chapter 25, pg. 168
Quote 49: "'It's Germans that are attacking,' one of the medical officers said. The word Germans was something to be frightened of. We did not want to have anything to do with the Germans." Chapter 27, pg. 187
Quote 50: "What does she ride with me for if she doesn't like me?. . .They got right up in the car the minute I motioned to them." Chapter 28, pg. 196
Quote 51: "The sides of the bridge were high and the body of the car, once on, was out of sight. But I saw the heads of the driver, the man on the seat with him, and the two men on the rear seat. They all wore German helmets." Chapter 30, pg. 210
Quote 52: "The hay smelled good and lying in a barn in the hay took away all the years in between. We had lain in hay and talked and shot sparrows with an air-rifle when they perched in the triangle cut high up in the wall of the barn. The barn was gone now and one year they had cut the hemlock woods and there were only stumps, dried tree-tops, branches and fire-weed where the woods had been. You could not go back." Chapter 30, pg. 216
Quote 53: "You do not know how long you are in a river when the current moves swiftly. It seems a long time and it may be very short. The water was cold and in flood and many things passed that had been floated off the banks when the river rose. I was lucky to have a heavy timber to hold on to, and I lay in the icy water with my chin on the wood, holding on as easily as I could with both hands." Chapter 31, pg. 226
Quote 54: "I knew I would have to get out before they got to Mestre because they would be taking care of these guns. They had no guns to lose or forget about. I was terrifically hungry." Chapter 31, pg. 230
Quote 55: "Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation." Chapter 32, pg. 232
Quote 56: "it is now hard to leave the country but it is in no way impossible." Chapter 33, pg. 238
Quote 57: "I know what sort of a mess you have gotten this girl into, you're no cheerful sight to me." Chapter 34, pg. 236
Quote 58: "Take your hand away. . .If you had any shame it would be different. But you're God knows how many months gone with child and you think it's a joke and are all smiles because your seducer's come back. You've no shame and no feelings." Chapter 34, pg. 247
Quote 59: "Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. It has only happened to me like that once." Chapter 34, pg. 249
Quote 60: "I saw her white back as she took off her night-gown and then I looked away because she wanted me to. She was beginning to be a little big with the child and she did not want me to see her. I dressed hearing the rain on the windows. I did not have much to put in my bag." Chapter 36, pg. 266
Quote 61: "I rowed all night. Finally my hands were so sore I could hardly close them over the oars. We were nearly smashed up on the shore several times. I kept fairly close to the shore because I was afraid of getting lost on the lake and losing time." Chapter 37, pg. 271
Quote 62: "If I did. . .life might be much simpler." Chapter 37, pg. 275
Quote 63: "At Locarno we did not have a bad time. They questioned us but they were polite because we had passports and money. I do not think they believed a word of the story and I thought it was silly but it was like a law-court. You did not want something reasonable, you wanted something technical and then stuck to it without explanations. But we had passports and we would spend the money. So they gave us provisional visas." Chapter 37, pg. 281
Quote 64: "The war seemed as far away as the football games of someone else's college. But I knew from the papers that they were still fighting in the mountains because the snow would not come." Chapter 38, pg. 291
Quote 65: "She's been very good. . .She makes little trouble. The doctor says beer will be good for me and keep her small." Chapter 38, pg. 293
Quote 66: "'I wish I'd had it.'
'No you don't.'
'I do. I wish I'd had it to be like you. I wish I'd stayed with all your girls so we could make fun of them to you.'" Chapter 38, pg. 299
Quote 67: "When there was a good day we had a splendid time and we never had a bad time. We knew the baby was very close now and it gave us both a feeling as though something were hurrying us and we could not lose any time together." Chapter 40, pg. 311
Quote 68: "'I will eat from a tray in the next room,' the doctor said, 'You can call me any moment.' While the time passed I watched him eat, then, after a while, I saw that he was lying down and smoking a cigarette. Catherine was getting very tired." Chapter 41, pg. 318
Quote 69: "I thought Catherine was dead. She looked dead. Her face was gray, the part of it that I could see. Down below, under the light, the doctor was sewing up the great long, forcep-spread, thick-edged wound." Chapter 41, pg. 325
Quote 70: "I sat down on the chair in front of a table where there were nurses' reports hung on clips at the side and looked out of the window. I could see nothing but the dark and the rain falling across the light from the windows. So that was it. The baby was dead." Chapter 41, pg. 327
Quote 71: "It seems she had one hemorrhage after another. They couldn't stop it. I went into the room and stayed with Catherine until she died. She was unconscious all the time, and it did not take her very long to die." Chapter 41, pg. 331
Quote 72: "But after I got them to leave and shut the door and turned off the light it wasn't any good. It was like saying good-by to a statue. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain." Chapter 41, pg. 332
Friendship 1: Supposedly, the priest and Fred are already friends before this harassment from the other officers, but Fred does nothing to stop it. He doesn't exactly participate, but he doesn't try to dissuade the officers from mocking the priest. Part of this could be that two of the officers engaging in this are of a higher rank. Even though the priest encourages him to go to Arbuzzi, Fred doesn't.
Friendship 2: Rinaldi and the priest each have a different sort of a relationship with Fred. The priest is genuinely hurt when he finds out that Fred did not go to Arbuzzi. Lt. Rinaldi immediately tells Fred about some girl he is chasing and then asks to borrow money from him so that he may impress her.
Friendship 3: Rinaldi takes Fred to see Miss Barkley. When it becomes evident that Miss Barkley is clearly more attracted to Fred, Rinaldi tells Fred that he didn't like her anyway.
Friendship 4: Fred wants to help the American with the hernia, but can't without breaking the rules. He advises him to wound himself further, in order to ensure more medical treatment.. His reaction with the priest is still strange, especially since he finds him dull.
Friendship 5: Both Rinaldi and the priest come to visit Fred after he is wounded. Rinaldi arrives with words of praise and a promise of Catherine's visit, while the priest talks to him about the weight of war and love. The priest brings him practical gifts like a newspaper and a mosquito net. Rinaldi returns later with drinks, to celebrate the entrance of the United States into the war.
Friendship 6: In this strange new hospital, Fred is unwilling to compromise about his drinking. As soon as the head nurse has disappeared, he sends someone to buy some alcohol for him. Later on, she sends him a drink as a sign of peace.
Friendship 7: Miss Ferguson, Catherine's friend, does not approve of her relationship with Fred. She thinks it will lead to Catherine's ruin. Even though she helps the pair out by passing their letters, she is a reluctant go-between.
Friendship 8: Rinaldi is overjoyed to see Fred. He talks excitedly, desperately wanting everything to go back to normal. The war has taken its toll, however, and both of them have changed. Rinaldi is crazier than ever, yet Fred seems to have calmed down.
Friendship 9: The priest and Fred are still close despite the time apart. Their conversation is very serious. The priest confides in Fred and talks about the war and its staggering effects.
Friendship 10: Simmons is willing to help out Fred and make sure that he gets along. He gives him advice and clothing so that he can avoid capture and make it to Stresa where he will be reunited with Catherine.
Friendship 11: The bartender, who never got a package of American tobacco from Fred, is still happy to see him and more than willing to help him find Catherine. Miss Ferguson is not at all happy to see Fred. She verbally assaults the couple and releases months of stored worry and anguish. Her outbursts do not upset them. Instead of becoming enraged, Fred and Catherine stay calm and finish their dinner.
Friendship 12: Fred has an amiable relationship with the old Count Greffi. They play a game of Billiards together and discuss the war and other such things. Love becomes another topic of conversation. The count asks Fred to pray for him if he ever becomes devoutly religious.
Friendship 13: The bartender risks his own safety to warn Fred of his impending arrest. He gives Fred wine and brandy, and lends him his boat so that Fred can escape to safety.
Love and Sex 1: When Catherine and Fred meet for the first time, it is not exactly love at first sight, but Fred finds her undeniably attractive. They have a language in common that separates them from most people around them. Catherine definitely catches Fred's attention.
Love and Sex 2: Catherine and Fred become an 'item' almost immediately following their second encounter. Fred's impulse is to kiss her in a very sexual way. Catherine slaps him and he sees this as an opening for him. It is. Once she has given in, Catherine is only interested in whether or not he will take care of her. In two meetings, they went from strangers to lovers.
Love and Sex 3: By their third encounter, Catherine and Fred are having sex, or are in some sort of sexual exchange. During this exchange, Catherine asks him if he loves her and he lies. Catherine is not so naive to believe his response, and after they have sex, she tells him this.
Love and Sex 4: After Fred has foolishly spent too much time drinking, making it impossible for him to see Catherine, he realizes how much he wants to see her. This may be mere sexual yearning, or it may be the beginning of something more serious.
Love and Sex 5: Fred's first thought at hearing of Catherine's arrival, is to make sure he is shaved and decent-looking. When she comes, he can't help but notice her beauty and strong sexuality. He admits that he is falling in love with her. She has completely relocated for him.
Love and Sex 6: Catherine works night shifts to be with Fred and is willing to have sex with him in the open hospital room. He wants to have sex almost all the time and she rarely denies him. She tells him she loves him and he does the same, lying when she asks if he has ever loved any other girls. Even though Fred is badly wounded and they are in a state of war, Fred and Catherine are happy together.
Love and Sex 7: As Fred's legs heal, they spend every night and more days together. Fred wants to get married, but Catherine is hesitant because of the Italian formalities. Their life, however, is little different from that of a married couple.
Love and Sex 8: Fred finds himself thinking about Catherine whenever they are apart, which isn't very often. The pair find that being together alone is more agreeable than being with anyone else in the world.
Love and Sex 9: Catherine's pregnancy is immediately a worry for Fred even though she does not wish to be a burden. Despite her insistence, Fred feels responsible and pledges to stay with her always.He offers marriage as a solution again, but Catherine won't have it.
Love and Sex 10: Before it is time for Fred to return to the front, he and Catherine have one last night together. He spends a lot of money on a hotel room and it makes her feel like a whore. They have sex and talk. Afterwards, she feels better and is in relatively good spirits when they part for an indefinite amount of time.
Love and Sex 11: Fred and Catherine are overjoyed at their reunion. Although they do want to have sex, their feelings of love overwhelm desire and lust. Fred knows that he loves her without any doubts now, and Catherine is happy to be back with him. She does not question his appearance when he comes, but she cherishes his presence.
Love and Sex 12: Fred is really displaying how much he loves Catherine. Simple things like watching her brush her hair, or kissing her neck, make him feel faint. Any worries about their relationship are assuaged by her presence.
Love and Sex 13: Catherine's love for Fred is so naive that she wishes she had the same STD he did so that she would be more like him. She wants to cut her hair to be more like him. She wishes that she had been with the same women so they could make fun of them together. Catherine has a love that makes her want to be one with Fred.
Love and Sex 14: Fred grows a beard to please Catherine. She is upset because her pregancy has made her large and unattractive. Fred thinks otherwise. Catherine doesn't want to get married until she is thin again. She still thinks that his love for her is only on a superficially sexual level. Thus, she must wait until she is 'beautiful' again.
Love and Sex 15: Fred and Catherine never tire of each other. They are always together; and no one else can penetrate their little world. They have learned to make one another happy and there seems to be nothing to detract from this. Catherine worries that Fred yearns for his other life, but he says he doesn't.
Love and Sex 16: Fred's interest in the baby wanes as Catherine's life becomes threatened. The last scene, where he tries to say goodbye to her, is heart-wrenching. He is alone in the dark room with her corpse. He leaves and is unable to do anything. This is where the story ends. Fred is disarmed by her death.
War 1: The war is a part of the landscape as well as an anomaly upon it. This book has very little combat, but it is filled with the effects of war. The town, Gorizia, functions normally even though there are people dying in and around it. More people die from diseases than in combat.
War 2: The war is involved in everything. Even when Fred and the others are eating dinner together and making fun of the priest, the war is always in the background.
War 3: Life goes on through the confusion of the war. Rinaldi and Fred chase women and carry on with their war duties simultaneously. Battles must be fought in the fairer weather and the winter is just about ending. Both sides are preparing for a renewed clash.
War 4: the real business of war starts and the men begin to reveal how they feel about it. The drivers paint the conflict in terms of class struggle. They have no wish to fight at all. The ugly part of war begins with the shelling and the shooting. Fred's legs are torn apart by an explosion that also kills one of his men.
War 5: Even though Fred has been taken away from the front, he is never really away from the war. His wound is a constant reminder of its carnage. The United States entering the war does not change his status, but it brings his country to the war he has been fighting for years.
War 6: Away from the front, where everyone is either a civilian or a soldier on leave, war is no longer a ruinous and painful experience. It has become a contest. Ettore Moretti is proud of his awards and accomplishments; wounds are a special kind of medal. Fred is impressed with Ettore, but Catherine finds him boring.
War 7: Since Fred's injury, the face of the war has changed. The officers are much less optimistic and their hearts have not been lightened by America's entrance to the war. War makes everyone tired.
War 8: The war takes on yet another face during a discussion between Fred and the priest. No longer is it merely a matter of who wins and loses. There is no longer winning or losing. Everyone has lost by being involved in the war. Ending it won't make it that much better.
War 9: Fighting turns into retreat. The Italians are afraid of the German troops in a way they never feared the Austrians. Fred learns the gruesome fact that the wounded must be left behind in the hills. It is hard to defend the mountains against the onslaught and the Italians must begin a multi-day retreat onto the plains.
War 10: The experience becomes more dismal as the retreat continues. Fred shoots at the engineers who are deserting and wounds one of them, ultimately killed by Bonello. There is no doubt that the drivers want nothing to do with the war. They continue to describe the war in terms of class struggles.
War 11: The retreat has plunged everyone into confusion. As soon as Fred realizes they have been outflanked by the enemy, one of his men is shot. Bonello runs off to be captured, as Fred and Piani sneak back into the Italian forces. Here, however, the Italian officers panic, interrogating and executing anyone who is not Italian. Fred must dive into the river to avoid getting shot.
Frederic Henry is an American serving as a lieutenant in the Italian army in Italy during World War One. He describes the beautiful lodgings and the village Gorizia through which troops and guns are being moved. There are soldiers bearing their weapons and officers proceeding through town in automobiles. The fast car usually carries the King, Vittorio Emmanuelle, who "lived in Udine and came out this way nearly every day to see how things were going, and things went very badly." Chapter 1, pg. 4. Seven thousand soldiers die of cholera at the end of the year when the rains come. Fred observes the contrast between the scenery and its inhabitants with a certain irony that pervades his narrative.
Topic Tracking War 1
The following year there are many victories and the fighting is a mile away from the town in which Frederic is stationed. "I was very glad that the Austrians seemed to want to come back to the town some time, if the war should end, because they did not bombard it to destroy it but only a little in a military way." Chapter 2, pg. 5 Fred's thankfulness for the Austrian outlook of Gorizia is a bit ironic: they don't destroy the village because they want it back. He notes that the war has made the landscape and the seasons different. The summer is not green and the oaks have died; before long, the snow falls again. The land is becoming depressed by the conflict. Frederic watches the snow fall and drinks while looking at the mountains, which have not yet been taken by the Austrians.
The priest enters the mess hall and walks by everyone in silence. While they eat, the captain makes fun of the priest who is "young and blushed easily" Chapter 2, pg. 7. The captain maintains that the priest has been spending time with girls, a charge the priest adamantly denies, not quite seeing the humor. Everyone laughs and the major says that the Pope wants the Austrians to win because he loves Franz Joseph. The major says that he is an atheist and a lieutenant agrees with this sentiment, alleging that a book shook his faith. The priest says that the book is a bad book. The lieutenant tells Frederic to read the book but the priest tells him not to. The major chimes in, "All thinking men are atheists" Chapter 2, pg. 8 and frustrates the priest more. Fred is cynical about religion throughout his tale.
They discuss the Free Masons until the door opens revealing the thick snowfall. The poor weather means that the Italian offensive will stop for the season. The Major tells Frederic to take a leave for the winter and they debate where he should go. The captain makes sexual innuendo with shadow puppets on the wall that he should go to Naples. The priest encourages him to go to Arbuzzi where his father is a famous hunter. The captain remarks that they should go to the whorehouse before it closes and they leave.
Topic Tracking Friendship 1
Topic Tracking War 2
When Frederic returns from leave, his regiment is still in the same town, but the town has not really changed:
"It was all as I had left it except that now it was spring. I looked in the door of the big room and saw the major sitting at his desk, the window open and the sunlight coming into the room. He did not see me and I did not know whether to go in and report or go upstairs first and clean up. I decided to go upstairs." Chapter 3, pg. 11-12
He goes to the room that he shares with Lieutenant Rinaldi who is sleeping. He wakes and asks Fred how he has been doing and tells him that he should bathe. Fred says that he had the best time in Milan and he met a girl there. Rinaldi says that he is in love with a certain Miss Barkley. The two banter like old friends and are at ease with one another. Rinaldi is a surgeon and has been busy with many sick men. He supposes that the offensive will begin again soon. Rinaldi asks Fred if he should marry Miss Barkley. Fred tells him to go for it. After Fred washes up, Rinaldi asks to borrow 50 lire so that he can make a good impression on Miss Barkley. Fred gives him the money and they leave.
Fred gets drunk at the mess hall and is upset that he did not go to the Arbuzzi. Despite this, Fred and the priest are still good friends, because the priest "had always known what I did not know and what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget." Chapter 3, pg. 14. The captain begins to make fun of the priest again, saying that he cannot be happy without girls. The priest tries to defend himself but the captain accuses the priest of wanting the Austrians to win. The major tells the captain to leave the Priest alone and they all leave the table. Fred does not defend the priest.
Topic Tracking: Friendship 2
The next morning, Fred wakes to guns firing from the battery. He goes out to inspect the ambulances over which he has command. One of the mechanics explains that the battery will never be hit because it is sheltered by a hill. They talk briefly about his leave and then Fred wanders off. He speaks to the sergeant mechanic and finds he isn't really needed, so he goes to the mess house and then visits some of the mountain posts. He feels useless and does not seem to fit in the surroundings. Rinaldi wants him to meet Miss Barkley and Fred goes with him reluctantly. Before they go, they drink some strong grappa. When they get to the British hospital where Miss Barkley works, she immediately notes that Fred is not an Italian, but is serving in the Italian army nevertheless. Fred finds her very attractive.
"Miss Barkley was quite tall. She wore what seemed to be a nurse's uniform, was blonde and had a tawny skin and gray eyes. I thought she was very beautiful." Chapter 4, pg. 18
Her fiancée was killed in the Somme the year before and she has a stick, sent from his final days, hanging around her neck. Fred and Miss Barkley talk about the war. They are both detached from it and cynical about its outcome. She asks him if he has ever loved anyone--after he says no, he tells her she has very beautiful hair. She tells him that she considered cutting it off after her fiancée's death. She regrets not having married him. During this conversation, Rinaldi is talking to the other nurse, Miss Ferguson. Miss Barkley thinks that the front is silly and she tells Fred that she has been nursing since 1915. Together, they wonder if the war will ever end, implicitly believing that it will not. Rinaldi asks Miss Ferguson if she loves Italy; she says that she loves it more than England. Rinaldi doesn't understand that Miss Ferguson is from Scotland, not England. As they leave, Rinaldi tells Fred that Miss Barkley prefers Fred to him. Rinaldi says he doesn't mind, because he doesn't like her anyway.
Topic Tracking: Friendship 3
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 1
Fred goes to visit Miss Barkley the next day, but she is on duty. The head nurse recognizes Fred as the "American in the Italian Army." Chapter 5, pg. 22. Therefore, he is more acceptable than an Italian. He tells her that he joined because he was in Italy and spoke Italian well. He says nothing about believing in the conflict. She tells him to come back after seven but not to bring any Italians around. It is hot out as Fred goes up near the front to inspect the area in which the offensive is to begin. There is some machine gun fire and the opposing trenches are not far apart.
"[E]verybody was in the dugouts. There were racks of rockets standing to be touched off to call for help from the artillery or to signal with if the telephone wires were to be cut." Chapter 5, pg. 23
Fred thinks the Austrians will make a mess of the road that is being finished. He wonders if it is of any use to build the bridge, or to fight at all. He goes back to Gorizia to see Miss Barkley. She is with Miss Ferguson again and they are happy to see him. After a while Miss Ferguson excuses herself and Miss Barkley tells Fred that she is not a full nurse but a V.A.D.; it takes too long to become a nurse. The women have been instructed to be on good behavior because they are near the front. She says she wants to "drop the war" because it seems so useless. Fred leans forward to kiss her and she slaps him. She apologizes and he, feeling that he has an advantage, tells her it is all right.
"You see I've been leading a sort of a funny life. And I never even talk English. And you are so very beautiful." Chapter 5, pg. 26
She tells him it is all right and that he is sweet. She decides to kiss him but doesn't open her lips when she does even though he kisses hard. She cries on his shoulder and asks if he will be good to her because "[w]e're going to have a strange life." Chapter 5, pg. 27. Soon after this, he goes home and Rinaldi is awake. Rinaldi questions him and makes fun of him. Fred playfully knocks his candle over and goes to sleep.
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 2
Topic Tracking: War 3
Fred goes away for two days and does not see Miss Barkley until the third. He notes the condition of the town and refuses to wear his helmet among the civilians because he thinks it will scare them. He is uncomfortable with the contrast between the military world and the civilian world. Despite this, he wears his gun. He waits for Miss Barkley and they go sit in the garden. She is mad that he didn't send a note saying he was going to be away and she asks if he loves her. He lies and says that he does. She tells him to call her Catherine and she says she loves him and never wants him to leave.
"I kissed her and saw that her eyes were shut. I kissed both her shut eyes. I thought she was probably a little crazy. It was all right if she was. I did not care what I was getting into. This was better than going every evening to the house for officers where the girls climbed all over you and put your cap on backwards as a sign of affection between their trips upstairs with other officers." Chapter 6, pg. 30
He admits that this is a game and that it is hard to make love standing up. Catherine says it is a rotten game and that he doesn't have to pretend that he loves her. She tells him that she isn't mad and that even though he pronounces 'Catherine' funny, he is a good man. They kiss and then she breaks off and runs in. He likes to watch her move. When he gets home, Rinaldi says, "Thank god I did not become involved with the British." Chapter 6, pg. 32.
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 3
Fred returns from a mountain post and watches a young regiment pass him in their oversized helmets. He is upset because they are so young and out of place. He asks a limping soldier what is wrong. The man's hernia has ruptured because he took off its tress himself. He is from Pittsburgh and Fred promises that if he falls down and hits his head, he will be able to circumvent the field surgeon and take him to the hospital. They leave to check another post and return by the same route.
The man with the hernia has actually fallen and Fred and the man exchange glances as he is placed on a horse ambulance. They take him away.
The offensive is to start in two days. Fred says that the bad Austrian army was made to give Napoleon victories. He blames the Italian failure on the fat general in charge and the King. Fred favors the Duke of Aosta, who commands the third army, and thinks he should be king. Although Fred is in the second army now, he had been with the third. He expects the Austrians to crack soon and he thinks about being able to visit the Black Forest and Spain. He wants to see Catherine and wants her to pretend that they are engaged and in a fancy Milan hotel room together. He returns to the mess hall and talks to the priest. They talk about an Archbishop from the United States and Fred thinks that the priest is "good but dull" Chapter 7, pg. 38 like the king. A man named Rocca tells a story of a priest in France who stole bonds. Fred and the major exchange tales. The major compares Fred to Bacchus for his drinking prowess and proposes a contest. Fred decides he wants to go see Catherine, but Rinaldi makes him chew some coffee beans and wait for a moment because he is too drunk. When he gets to the hospital, Miss Ferguson tells him that Catherine cannot come out because she is not feeling well.
"I went out the door and suddenly I felt lonely and empty. I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly. I had gotten somewhat drunk and had nearly forgotten to come but when I could not see here there I was feeling lonely and hollow." Chapter 7, pg. 41
Topic Tracking: Friendship 4
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 4
The next day they hear that there is going to be an attack at night. Fred goes to see Catherine who says she is better. He tells her that he can't come to see her because of the attack. She gives him a Saint Anthony necklace for luck and tells him not to say goodbye. They can't kiss because they are in the middle of the hospital. He leaves and gets into the truck. The driver also has a Saint Anthony. He is in the first of the four cars he commands. He describes the beautiful landscape of rolling hills and stone farmhouses as they ascend the mountain. In contrast:
"There were troops on this road and motor trucks and mules with mountain guns and as we went down, keeping to one side, and across, under a hill beyond the river, the broken houses of the little town that was to be taken." Chapter 8, pg. 45
The world around is always beautiful while the actions of the men within in it are not. Fred repeatedly notes this. They arrive at their destination at dark.
The road is screened with vegetation and Fred can see the Austrian observation balloons. He gets his orders from the major. Nearby, a bridge is to be built for the soldiers to cross. Fred is promised decoration if it is successful. He drinks rum with the major and other officers and then returns and shares cheap cigarettes with his drivers. They are worried about driving the trucks during combat, but they are more concerned about when they are going to eat and whether or not it will be before the battle. Fred discovers that a stew will be brought around. Manera says he hoped it would come before the bombing started. They smoke in their dugout and talk about the battle making distinctions of valor based on regional ethnicity. This region is foolish, these people are cowards, etc. They talk about the conflict and the drivers speak irreverently of the government, but Fred doesn't mind. One of the drivers, Passini, suggests that they stop fighting altogether. Fred replies:
"I believe we should get the war over. . .It would not finish if one side stopped fighting. It would only be worse if we stopped fighting." Chapter 9, pg. 49
They continue to discuss war and Fred says that defeat is the only thing worse than war. Passini doesn't agree and thinks that everyone should defend their own home because there is nothing as bad as war, and there is no end to it. According to Passini: "War is not won by victory." Chapter 9, pg. 50 Fred calls him an orator, but Passini says that he merely thinks and reads. He blames war on the upper class. Manera cautions him to stop. Most of the men in the dugout think that the war is useless and cannot be won. It is dark outside as searchlights scan the mountains. The attack is at first delayed, but then begins. The sound of gun shell bursts is nearby. Fred runs and gets some pasta shells and cheese to feed his drivers from the officers' tent where the major has already begun to tend to the wounded.
He makes it back to the dugout and shares the food. Fred does not need to mention how strange it is that they sit down to eat a meal while the shells explode around them. The war rages on, but the fundamental aspects of life must continue. They wash the meal down with some spoiled wine and talk a lot about what sort of guns might be in use.
"I ate the end of my piece of cheese and took a swallow of wine. Through the other noise I heard a cough, then came the chuh-chuh-chuh-chuh- then there was a flash, as when a blast-furnace door is swung open, and a roar that started white and went red and on and on in a rushing wind." Chapter 9, pg. 54
After the shell hits, there is chaos. He tries to put a tourniquet on Passini's legs but Passini is soon dead. Fred looks around for others as he realizes that he himself is badly wounded in the knees. Some men come to help him and he hears that Manera is all right. They drop Fred once and take him to where the wounded and dead are separated. There is chaos everywhere. There is so much dirt and debris in his knee that there is no hemorrhaging. A British man comes over to him and offers a cigarette. Fred gives the command of his cars over to the British man, Gordini, who is wounded in the shoulder and head.
As they go to the surgeon's tent, the British man exaggerates Fred's importance, calling him the only son of the U.S. ambassador and the son of President Wilson. Fred is wounded badly with "multiple superficial wounds of the left and right thigh and left and right knee and right foot. Profound wounds of right knee and foot." Chapter 9, pg. 59. He also sustained a head injury. The major talks to him and gives him brandy, but then takes it back because his skull might be fractured. He says that Fred will survive and sends him on his way to a camp hospital. In the ambulance the man in the bunk above him is hemorrhaging and the blood drips down on him. He passes out.
Topic Tracking: War 4
In the hospital, Fred lies in a bed and struggles with the flies and the heat. Rinaldi comes by and brings him a bottle of cognac, reporting that he is to be decorated and might be getting the bronze or silver medal depending on how they 'spin it'. Fred is not really interested in the decoration; it seems meaningless. The operation was successful, resulting in the capture of a thousand enemy troops. Rinaldi complains about the work done by the field surgeon on Fred's leg and promises to come back with Catherine. He also complains about the town and the girls there and then they drink to Fred's award. Rinaldi mentions that no one is around, but Fred tells him he can make fun of the priest. Rinaldi says he thinks the priest is gay. Then he leaves, saying: "I will send Miss Barkley. You are better with her without me. You are purer and sweeter." Chapter 10, pg. 66. They end up arguing a little, but they make up. Rinaldi doesn't kiss him good-bye but leaves the cognac behind.
At dark, the priest comes and Fred is feeling juvenile because he is in bed before dark. The priest, looking tired, bears packages: mosquito netting, vermouth, and English papers. He seems embarrassed and says he cannot stay long but he misses Fred. Fred thanks him and offers him a glass of vermouth. They drink to each other's health. Fred asks the priest what is wrong and he says it is the war: "Still even wounded you do not see it. I can tell. I do not see it myself but I feel it a little." Chapter 11, pg. 70--the priest alludes to the evils of war. He is cynical and his tone is indignant. He says he feels like Passini and that the difference in sentiment about war does not come from education or money. He tells Fred that he can't understand it because he is a foreigner, a patriot. According to the priest, the ones who do not want war cannot stop it because their leaders sell them out. Every part of the conflict is useless. The priest tells Fred that sometimes he loses all hope and just wants to return to Arbuzzi. He says about Arbuzzi: "I would be too happy. If I could live there and love God and serve him." Chapter 11, pg. 71. He tries to explain to Fred that it is not a dirty joke to love God. Fred doesn't understand God, and is very skeptical about the priest's sentiments. Fred admits that he fears God but does not love him. Fred says that he does not love much.
"Yes. . .You do. What you tell me about in the nights. That is not love. That is only passion and lust. When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve." Chapter 11, pg. 72
The priest doesn't know if it is possible to love a woman the same way he loves God. He asks Fred if he wants anything else, meaning religiously, but Fred doesn't, and the priest leaves. After he goes, Fred recounts his stories of Arbuzzi, the forest, the peasants, and the flute playing as he falls asleep. Fred wants a little more from his relationship with the priest, but he can't get it without first subscribing to religion.
Fred describes the hospital as a long room with many beds. When someone is close to death they surround him with a screen. The major tells him he is to travel to Milan the next day if he feels up to moving to a nicer hospital with better x-ray facilities. Rinaldi comes by the night before he is to leave, and tells him he should go to an American hospital because the U.S. has finally declared war on Germany. Fred speculates that the United States will declare war on Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Japan as he gets drunk. Rinaldi tells him that they are getting drunk to celebrate the American entrance into the war. This celebration is slightly cynical: more men will die and the tide of war may not change. Rinaldi tells him that Catherine will be in Milan. They go to sleep.
"The next day in the morning we left for Milan and arrived forty eight hours later. It was a bad trip. We were sidetracked for a long time this side of Mestre and children came and peeked in. I got a little boy to go for a bottle of cognac but he came back and said he could only get grappa." Chapter 12, pg. 77
He gets drunk and is sick on the floor of the train. He loses his conceptual understanding of time. Later on, a soldier gives Fred water and an orange to eat. The train continues for a long time.
Topic Tracking: War 5
They arrive in Milan in the morning and enter the American hospital. Fred is crowded into an elevator and his legs hurt very badly because they are in a bent position. When they get to the right floor, there is some confusion because the hospital is not ready for a patient and was not informed of Fred's arrival. They debate where to put him, even though all the beds are empty. They put him down and he falls to sleep. The confusion subsides.
"When I woke I looked around. There was sunlight coming in through the shutters. I saw the big armoire, the bare walls, and two chairs. My legs in the dirty bandages, stuck straight out in the bed. I was careful not to move them. I was thirsty and I reached for the bell and pushed the button. I heard the door open and looked and it was a nurse. She looked young and pretty." Chapter 13, pg. 84
The doctor is not around because no one expected any patients. Miss Gage, the nurse, talks while she bathes him and takes his temperature. He tells her that there is iron in his leg, but she doesn't believe him. Miss Walker comes and helps Miss Gage make the bed while he is in it. He asks a lot of questions and tells Miss Gage that she is pretty and she giggles. The nurses are surprised that he is so active. He sleeps for a while and then eats lunch in the afternoon. He argues with the head nurse, Miss Van Campen, because she won't let him have alcohol. Miss Gage doesn't understand why he wants to upset the head nurse. She tells him that the doctor will come soon. Fred disobeys the head nurse, asking the porter to go out and buy him some wine and vermouth, which he hides under his bed.
Miss Gage brings him some eggnog with sherry from Miss Van Campen and makes excuses for her stinginess. She says Miss Van Campen is trying to make peace in the hospital. This doesn't make much of an impression on Fred. He doesn't eat much and then sleeps.
Topic Tracking: Friendship 6
When we wakes up the next day and sees Miss Gage in the sunlight, he rethinks his comment about her being pretty. She finds him sleeping with the vermouth bottle and scolds him for drinking alone. She tells him that Miss Barkley has arrived at the hospital. He requests a barber as she washes him up. A barber comes and mistakenly thinks Fred is an Austrian officer. He tells him that he could kill him with his razor. The mood is very tense and Fred cannot understand it. When the barber leaves, the porter laughs at the mix up. Catherine arrives. Fred recounts: "She looked fresh and young and very beautiful. I thought I had never seen anyone so beautiful." Chapter 14, pg. 91. They kiss and he thanks her for coming. He wants to have sex even though he's sick. She shuts the door and they do. Afterwards she says that now he should know that she loves him, because that was madness. As she goes out, Fred thinks, "God knows I didn't mean to fall in love with her." Chapter 14, pg. 93 Miss Gage enters and announces that the doctor has arrived.
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 5
The doctor takes out many splinters and inspects his legs. He wants him to have an x-ray. The x-ray doctor asks him several questions to keep in his 'scrapbook' of the war, such as how many Austrians he had killed. He lies. He finds this practice odd, if not morbid. Catherine tries to show the x-rays to Fred but he just wants her to get into bed with him. Fred is more interested in sex than his own well-being. Multiple doctors enter the room. Fred muses:
"I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another's company and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot take out your appendix properly will recommend you to a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils with success. These were such doctors." Chapter 15, pg. 95
He is cynical about the doctors as he is about war. The legs look bad, but there is no infection and they are relatively clean. The doctors confuse the legs looking at the x-rays. They tell him that he will have to wait to be operated on until the projectiles are encased in the knee. This will be several months. The doctors leave. Fred calls the house doctor back in and explains that he can't be in bed for six months. He doesn't want to be operated on by the other doctor because he is just a first captain. The doctor is impressed because he thinks that Fred wants to go back to the front. Fred does not say that he wants to go back to war, just that he doesn't want to be in bed all that time; he doesn't want to be useless. The doctor assures him that he will be able to move around plenty, but Fred is not happy with this. He offers him a drink, but the doctor doesn't drink. He does say that he will bring in another doctor for a second opinion. Dr. Valentini comes in two hours later and talks in a crazy manner. . He has a drink and says he will bring Fred better cognac when he operates the next day. Dr. Valentini is a major. Fred trusts him because of his rank and because he gives him an answer that he wants to hear.
That night, Catherine sleeps in the bed with him. They eat crackers and drink vermouth. She disappears for awhile and comes back all freshened up. Fred wants to have sex again the following night, but she assures him that he will not be in the mood after the operation. Fred tells her that he wishes she didn't have to get him ready for the operation. She responds:
"I don't. I don't want anybody else to touch you. I'm silly. I get furious if they touch you." Chapter 16, pg. 103
Catherine is worried that they will send her away because there are not enough patients. She also asks him not to think about her as they medicate him because people tend to talk under anesthesia. Fred tells her that he won't talk at all and she tells him not to brag. She says she loves him and asks how many people he has loved. He says none and she asks how many people he has 'stayed with'. She asks, "When a man stays with a girl when does she says how much it costs?" Chapter 16, pg. 105 He says he doesn't know because he has never been to a whore. He is lying and admits it to himself, but he is more interested in placating her than being honest. She tells him she will always do whatever he wants. They have sex again.
Love and Sex 6
He wakes up and his knee is in a cast. Miss Gage tells him that the operation went well. He feels sick and realizes he wouldn't have been able to have sex anyway that night. There are other patients in the hospital now: a Georgian with malaria, and a New Yorker with malaria and jaundice. Catherine takes night duty to spend nights with Fred and they write notes to each other during the day through Miss Ferguson. Fred tries to talk to Miss Ferguson about their wedding, but she thinks they will never get married because they will fight first, or he will die, or he will get her in trouble (pregnant). She is cynical about marriage and even more so about Fred's sincerity. She asks about his head and his knee and advises that Catherine take some nights off because she was getting too tired. She doesn't believe that Fred will let her take nights off. He calls Miss Gage in and tells her to see that it happens and they share some vermouth. She tells him that she is his friend.
"Catherine Barkley took three days off night duty and then she came back on again. It was as though we met again after each of us had been away on a long journey" Chapter 17, pg. 111
During the summer, Fred and Catherine begin to go around the city as his legs heal. One night Fred borrows money from a waiter they know and they buy sandwiches for the night. At night, they have sex after the other patients sleep. Fred likes to watch her sleep.
"She had wonderfully beautiful hair and I would lie sometimes and watch her twisting it up in the light that came in the open door and it shone even in the night as water shines sometimes just before it is really daylight." Chapter 18, pg. 114
Fred wants to get married, but Catherine thinks that if they do she will be forced to leave because of the formality imposed under Italian law. Furthermore, she says it makes no sense because "there isn't any me, I'm you. Don't make up a separate me." Chapter 18, pg. 115. She continues this sort of selfless discussion. They talk briefly about her dead fiancée but it upsets Fred, who then asks to be married privately. Catherine explains that it wouldn't mean anything because she is not religious (she just gave him the Saint Anthony for luck). Religion means nothing to her, just as it is meaningless to Fred. She says she wants to please him and tells him they'll have sex as soon as she's finished her rounds.
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 7
Summer goes well and soon Fred is walking with just a cane. Despite how much time they are together, Fred says, "Always I wanted to see Catherine." Chapter 19, pg. 117. He is never sick of her. He is pleased just being near her. They were no longer allowed to dine together because it is improper now that Fred does not need assistance. Miss Van Campen has accepted Catherine because she works hard and always takes the night shifts. Because the war looks like it will never end, Fred imagines that it will be another hundred year's war. He reflects on how useless it seems and how it has no positive end. He meets a man named Old Meyers who is coming back from the horse races. Fred buys chocolates for Catherine and then goes to a bar where he meets two American singers and an Italian he knows. Ettore Moretti harasses the singers because he thinks that they do not sing Italian well. They discuss Fred's coming medal. Ettore has been decorated on several occasions. He discusses the stripes given out for being wounded. Fred is impressed with him even though the decoration seems meaningless.
Ettore has several wounds. Simmons, one of the singers, is interested in this. Ettore has been a captain for two years while Fred has been a lieutenant for three. According to Ettore, Fred will not get a higher rank because he wasn't educated in Italy. He tells Fred to join the American army because they have more money. To Ettore if you are going to risk your life, you might as well get paid better for it. Fred doesn't agree. Ettore says that he will be a colonel before the war is over. The signers leave and Fred gets up to follow. Ettore stops him and assures him he will get the silver medal. Fred leaves, thinking about Ettore who "was a legitimate hero who bored everyone he met. Catherine could not stand him." Chapter 19, pg. 124 Catherine does not think that he is humble enough. Fred asks her is she would be happy if he had a higher rank. She says his rank is high enough because it gets them into the better restaurants. Other than that, rank means nothing to her because it is a vestige of the war. They talk about Old Meyers who is supposed to be in jail but was let out because of age. Catherine says she is afraid of the rain because it is hard on loving. Fred presses her to find out why and she says that she sees dead in the rain. She recants:
"It's all nonsense. It's only nonsense. I'm not afraid of the rain. I am not afraid of the rain. Oh, oh, God, I wish I wasn't." Chapter 19, pg. 126
Fred comforts her and she stops crying as the rain continues to fall.
Topic Tracking: War 6
One day they go to the races with Miss Ferguson and another man, Crowell Rodgers, having looked at the papers beforehand. In Italy, the racing is very crooked. Old Meyers is a man who always wins because he has the right connections, and he rarely shares information with anyone because he doesn't want to drive down the prize amount. Catherine, Fred, Miss Ferguson and Crowell pool their money and bet 100 lire on a horse whose odds are 35 to 1 because it is dyed a deep dark purple. The horse wins, but they only get a 2 to 1 return because someone bet a large amount of money on the horse at the last minute. The next race, they bet on the same horse as Old Meyers and win, but they make very little money. Old Meyers is frustrated so Catherine and Fred go downstairs. They bet on a horse who gets fourth place out of five and Catherine says " Don't you like it better when we're alone?" Chapter 20, pg. 132. Fred, of course, says yes and they stay apart from the others for a while.
Love and Sex 8
"In September the first cool nights came, then the days were cool and the leaves on the trees in the park began to turn color and we knew the summer was gone." Chapter 21, pg. 133
The fighting at the front went badly over the summer. Fred reads about this in a detached way as he sits in a bar in Milan. He is ambivalent; the war is far away. The racing stops and the offensive begins to slow down. A British soldier tells Fred that the Italians lost 150,000 men in one battle and 40,000 in another. The same soldier predicts that the Allies could be done in another year, but that the last country to realize they were 'cooked' would be the winner of the war. Fred notes that there is a "great contrast between his world pessimism and personal cheeriness" Chapter 21, pg. 134 Fred doesn't disagree with his pessimism, he is just surprised by the contrast.
Fred's leg is better and he can walk without a limp. A man cuts out his silhouette for free. Later, he gets a letter from the army giving him three weeks leave. Fred gets other letters: one from his grandfather, one from a man flying in France and one from Rinaldi asking for news and phonograph records. He also gets the Boston paper, which he reads that night.
"The Chicago White Sox were winning the American league pennant and the New York Giants were leading the National League. Babe Ruth was a pitcher then playing for Boston. The papers were dull, the news was local and stale, and the war news was all old." Chapter 21, pg. 136
Regardless of what is happening with the war, life goes on as usual in Italy and the United States. Catherine comes in late and he tells her about the three weeks leave he has been granted. Fred does not want to go anywhere for it, because he just wants to stay with her. Catherine seems upset and Fred pressures her into telling him that she is three months pregnant. Fred tells her he isn't upset but he is worried about her. She replies, "that's what you mustn't do. People have babies all the time. Everybody has babies. It's a natural thing." Chapter 21, pg. 138 She tells him that she isn't worried. The pair gets quiet and she asks him if he's angry, and he says he feels trapped by biology. She is worried because she has never had a baby before. They agree not to fight and Fred tells her to be brave because "the coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one." Chapter 21, pg. 139. They debate this statement because Catherine thinks it came from a coward. They drink together and talk about their son being in the army and Catherine goes to make her rounds. Their mood is calmed as the night goes on. They seem not to worry.
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 9
The next day it rains and Fred feels sick. He drinks some brandy only to have the surgeon diagnose him with jaundice. Because of this, he is sick for two weeks and cannot go away for his leave with Catherine. One day, Miss Van Campen finds all of his empty liquor bottles and gets angry because she thinks he got jaundice on purpose. Miss Gage comes in and says she'll swear that he never took a drink but Miss Van Campen returns to retrieve the bottles. Fred loses his leave as a result.
It is the night that Fred is supposed to return to the front and he sends the porter to the train to save a seat for him. The train is usually crowded and seats must be saved hours ahead of time. Fred buys some coffee and grappa and then goes to find Catherine. They walk in front of a cathedral and see another couple out for a stroll. They walk in front of a leather shop promising each other to go skiing some time this year. They go to a gun store so that Fred can buy a pistol. He buys one for 50 lire and the lady tries to get him to buy a sword.
Catherine tells him that she feels better than she felt before and they walk into an unlit street to kiss. They decide to go somewhere else and take a cab; on the way to a hotel, they stop and get Catherine a nightgown. Fred orders woodcock from the room service and watches Catherine, who does not look happy. She tells him that she feels like a whore. Fred gets upset when they argue, but soon Catherine's mood changes. They eat and then have sex. Fred keeps repeating that Catherine is lovely and she says, " I wish we could do something really sinful." Chapter 23, pg. 153. They talk about wine and how it gave Catherine's father gout. Fred tries to get serious and asks Catherine where she will have the baby, but she tells him not to worry about it. They leave the hotel.
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 10
They go out to the carriages and Fred sends Catherine off to the hospital. He gets in his own carriage and goes to the train. At the train station, a captain with a scar is upset that Fred tried to have a seat saved, while he waited two hours only to stand.
"I watched his face and could feel the whole compartment against me. I did not blame them. He was in the right. But I wanted the seat. Still no one said anything." Chapter 24, pg. 158
Everything is very tense. Eventually, Fred gives in and sits on the floor. The porter feels bad, but he tells him that it is all right. Fred lies down on the floor and sleeps as the towns pass by.
It is fall and the landscape of the town looks more and more dismal. Fred's mood, like the town, is becoming more dismal and detached. He makes his way back to Gorizia but "[i]t did not feel like a homecoming." Chapter 25, pg. 163. He reports to the major's office and the major tells him to sit down. He tells Fred about the fighting and that his trucks are dispersed at different posts. The major suggests that he go to Bainsizza, one of the posts. They discuss the American troops who are coming to fight, and the major thinks that most of them will go to France. Their tone is pessimistic and cynical. They do not seem to feel that anything will change the war. Fred tells the major that he is glad to see him. The major says, "You are very good to say so. I am very tired of this war. If I was away, I do not believe I would come back." Chapter 25, pg. 165
Fred goes to see Rinaldi but he isn't in his room. Fred lies down on the bed because his foot hurts. He is thinking about Catherine when Rinaldi comes back. Rinaldi is mad that they sent Fred back to the front with less than full articulation. Rinaldi says he is depressed by the war. He tells Fred that there have been so many wounded that he has been working constantly. The war is taking its toll on everyone. Rinaldi is sick of it. Fred gives him the phonograph records he requested. Rinaldi wants to have a drink with him but Fred can't drink much because of his jaundice. Rinaldi convinces him to have one drink and then he makes fun of Fred's tooth-brushing habits.
"I kept this to remind me of you trying to brush away the Villa Rossa from your teeth in the morning, swearing and eating aspirin and cursing harlots. Every time I see that glass I think of you trying to clean your conscience with a toothbrush." Chapter 25, pg. 168
They drink and talk about Catherine. Rinaldi tries to exchange stories about their sex lives, but Fred doesn't want to. Rinaldi tells him that he doesn't want to talk about it because he doesn't want to listen to reason. Rinaldi says he only likes operating and having sex, which is often too short. He wants nothing to do with the war, but is happy when he is operating on the soldiers who are wounded by it.
They drink to Catherine and Rinaldi says that he will get an English girl too. They go to eat but the food isn't ready so they drink more. Rinaldi praises their self-destruction. Only the major shows up by the time the food is ready--the mess hall is no longer noisy. The priest comes and is happy to see Fred. Rinaldi tries to bait the priest but it doesn't work. The major tells him that the priest is a good priest and Fred agrees. Rinaldi tells the priest and everyone else to go to hell. He admits that he is a little drunk. The priest tells him that he should go on leave. Rinaldi thinks they are just trying to get rid of him. He calms down when they have dessert and coffee, and then decides to go to town so Fred can talk with the priest. The major tells them he might have syphilis and then he leaves.
Topic Tracking: Friendship 8
Topic Tracking: War 7
The priest and Fred go upstairs to talk. The priest says he thinks the war will be over soon because it has been such a terrible summer. He also thinks that both sides will stop fighting. He thinks the war is useless. Fred says that the Austrians won the summer because they kept the Italians from taking San Gabriele.
The priest thinks that suffering in war makes them stronger; he wants something to happen. He wants the war to result in something, even though he feels it will result in nothing. He says that the soldiers were already defeated when they were taken away from their farms. Fred admits that he is depressed because they no longer believe in victory or defeat. Fred says he believes in sleep. The priest says he is happy that he is back and he tells him his new room number.
Topic Tracking: Friendship 9
Topic Tracking: War 8
Fred wakes when Rinaldi comes in and Rinaldi refuses to wake when Fred leaves in the morning. He heads for Bainsizza, a place once occupied by the Austrians, and meets a soldier named Gino who informs him that there is still some shelling and an impending attack. He describes the hell of San Gabriele.
The defense looks bad to them as they descend into the cellar of the house. They discuss the possibility of defending a mountainous terrain. Gino says that the Russians used their terrain to defeat Napoleon. Fred points out that that would not work in Italy. Gino complains about the amount of food, but blames that complaint on the fact that he and his countrymen are big eaters. Gino leaves to go back to Gorizia. It storms all day to the sound of a few Austrian guns firing. The sun breaks through but then the rain returns. Fred's mood is ambivalent. There is an attack in the night. The wounded start to pour in and the rain turns to snow. The enemy is attacking all along the front, but Bainsizza is the important point to hold.
"'It's Germans that are attacking,' one of the medical officers said. The word Germans was something to be frightened of. We did not want to have anything to do with the Germans." Chapter 27, pg. 187
Fred discovers that if there is a defeat, the wounded who cannot fit in the vans with the medical equipment are to be left behind. This is a frightening prospect. They end up having to retreat. The mere prospect of fighting the Germans is too much. They retreat through the night and get to Gorizia where the whorehouse is being evacuated. Fred jokes with his driver Bonello about joining their truck. Fred checks on the drivers of the other two cars, Piani and Aymo, and he tells them to get some sleep. He sleeps some himself.
They get up and eat but soon Fred says that it is time to go. He rides with Aymo who is afraid that he will fall asleep. The retreat goes all the way to Pordenone.
Topic Tracking: War 9
They move through the empty town along with many other vehicles. There is a roadblock somewhere further ahead and the convoy stalls for the night. The landscape looks even more dismal as they pull out of it. Everyone is anxious and uncertain. Bonello has given a ride to a couple of engineers. He tries to tell them that Fred is American, but they don't believe him. There are two girls in Aymo's car when Fred gets back from inspecting the others. They are silent sisters who want a ride but they don't want to be touched. Aymo doesn't understand it:
"What does she ride with me for if she doesn't like me?. . .They got right up in the car the minute I motioned to them." Chapter 28, pg. 196
Aymo has trouble understanding a non-sexual relationship with women. The girls cry, but one of the other men give them cheese. The younger one eats it as the older one continues to cry. Aymo asks if they are virgins and they both are. The convoy is still. Fred thinks about Catherine and bids her good night out loud. Piani wakes him when the convoy starts to move. The rain begins to let up as many peasants join the retreat with all of their belongings. Fred takes the cars on a side road to avoid the traffic jam. He is driven to impatience by his anxiety. Aymo says he is hungry and asks how Fred's leg feels. They stop at a farmhouse to service the vehicles. One of the engineers steals a clock from the deserted house but Fred tells him to put it back. He wants order to remain even in the retreat. They find some food and wine and fill their canteens. They get ready to leave again.
They get stuck in the mud ten miles north of Udine. The engineers don't want to help and leave. Fred tries to order them to stop but they won't. He shoots and wounds one of them. Bonello goes out and finishes the wounded one off. It takes some time to move the cars and Aymo's is by far the worst. It gets stuck deeper in the mud. They try everything but must abandon it. They lose the two other cars in another field. Near the town, Fred gives the girls 20 lire to go away and the drivers joke about how much money it would take for them to leave.
Their situation continues to get worse. Bonello brags about killing the engineer. Aymo tells Fred that they are all socialists and always have been. They keep walking up the hill and stop talking.
Topic Tracking: War 10
They come to a long line of abandoned trucks near a river and there is no one in sight. There is an iron bridge that looks too good not to be mined. Fred looks over it, and then down the river, he sees a car crossing another bridge in the distance.
"The sides of the bridge were high and the body of the car, once on, was out of sight. But I saw the heads of the driver, the man on the seat with him, and the two men on the rear seat. They all wore German helmets." Chapter 30, pg. 210
They realize that they are cut off. Fred is upset because there is no one to challenge the invading troops. He calms down after he takes a long drink from his canteen. The Germans are rolling in on bicycles. Fred has his little group stick close to the railroad track and they plan to travel at night. They are all worried and tense. They hear firing ahead of them and Aymo is wounded fatally. Fred blames the Italian rear guard, who are afraid of everything, for the gunfire. They have to leave Aymo in the mud, but Fred takes his papers so that he can take them to his family. He sees a farmhouse and they cross to it. Fred figures they can hide out in the barn. He also thinks that the Italians all around will be as dangerous as the Germans because they are afraid.
"The hay smelled good and lying in a barn in the hay took away all the years in between. We had lain in hay and talked and shot sparrows with an air-rifle when they perched in the triangle cut high up in the wall of the barn. The barn was gone now and one year they had cut the hemlock woods and there were only stumps, dried tree-tops, branches and fire-weed where the woods had been. You could not go back." Chapter 30, pg. 216
Fred remembers his youth and reflects on the past. He worries that he will not back to Milan. Piani finds some sausage and wine. Bonello has left to surrender himself because he is afraid he will die otherwise. They eat and drink but Fred does not feel better. They travel in the night and Fred realizes that the whole country is retreating: the peasants, the army and everyone else. His leg hurts. They join some other Italians and there are many soldiers openly throwing down their weapons and defying officers. Fred asks if Piani did not want to be captured because he is married. The march continues and Fred is surprised that the Germans have slowed their advance. They cross a bridge the next day and they pass a group of officers inspecting the retreat. They send a man to arrest Fred because he doesn't have a native accent. He witnesses a couple of other men who are executed on the suspicion of being German. He understands why they are doing this, but he doesn't want to be killed himself. He knows that they think he is German, and they have shot everyone who has been questioned so far. He jumps into the river. They shoot at him, but he clings to a piece of wood and floats downstream.
Topic Tracking: War 11
"You do not know how long you are in a river when the current moves swiftly. It seems a long time and it may be very short. The water was cold and in flood and many things passed that had been floated off the banks when the river rose. I was lucky to have a heavy timber to hold on to, and I lay in the icy water with my chin on the wood, holding on as easily as I could with both hands." Chapter 31, pg. 226
He floats down the river for some time and refers to himself and the timber as "we." He has trouble getting out of the river because of the current and struggles to finally get to land. While he rests, Fred rips the stars from his jacket. He is desperate and thinks he might not make it home. He limps onward and passes soldiers who ignore him. He scopes out a railroad track and jumps a train that runs from Venice to Trieste. He cuts his way under a canvas and into a cargo car full of guns, bumping his head badly. It starts to bleed. He rests.
"I knew I would have to get out before they got to Mestre because they would be taking care of these guns. They had no guns to lose or forget about. I was terrifically hungry." Chapter 31, pg. 230
Fred decides that Dr. Valentini did a good job on his knee because it survived so much. He tries not to think too much of Catherine because he thinks he'll go crazy. He is finally out of the war and he knows that "Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation." Chapter 32, pg. 232. He is not angry, but tired. The war no longer means anything to him. Fred wonders what others will hear of his vanishing, and his thoughts quickly turn to hunger. He knows that he will never see Rinaldi again, and he wonders where he will go, ultimately, but he can't think of anything.
Fred gets off the train in Milan and goes to a shop for some coffee. There are drunken soldiers at the bar. The owner asks him about the front and tells him that if he is in trouble he can stay with him (many people do). He is quietly against the war and part of a movement to draw support away from it. Fred finds this sentiment welcome, even though the man is annoyingly persistent. He also tells him that "it is now hard to leave the country but it is in no way impossible" Chapter 33, pg. 238. Fred appreciates his advice and invites him to share in a glass of grappa. The man tells him to lose the ripped coat because it is too obvious. He also has papers to sell him if he needs them. Back at the hospital, the porter and his wife embrace Fred. He finds out that Catherine has gone to Stresa. Fred asks the porter to promise that he has never seen him, which the Porter willingly does. Fred then goes to see Simmons the singer and tells him he's in trouble. Simmons tells him that his singing was not received well and he can tell that Fred is in a big mess. Fred asks Simmons to go buy him some clothes, but Simmons offers him his own clothing. Fred plans to go to Stresa and then to Switzerland. He leaves.
It is difficult for Fred to return to the civilian world, even though the war is not something he misses. On the train, some aviators openly glare at Fred. There are no porters from the hotels at the train station because it is the off season. Fred gets a room at a nice hotel he had stayed in before, and tells the bartender he is on leave. He knows the bartender and was supposed to have sent him American tobacco. From him, he finds out that Catherine is in a hotel near the station. He has a couple of sandwiches and some martinis before he leaves. When he arrives at the hotel unannounced, Catherine is very happy to see him, but Miss Ferguson is not. She keeps saying he is a mess because "I know what sort of a mess you have gotten this girl into, you're no cheerful sight to me." Chapter 34, pg. 236. She says she can't stand him because he is sneaky and she thinks he'll leave Catherine. She also says she's ashamed of Catherine. Catherine reaches out to her, but Miss Ferguson turns her away.
"Take your hand away. . .If you had any shame it would be different. But you're God knows how many months gone with child and you think it's a joke and are all smiles because your seducer's come back. You've no shame and no feelings." Chapter 34, pg. 247
The room is very tense. Miss Ferguson wants them to leave. She continues to cry and Catherine tries to comfort her. She tells Fred that she hates him and then tries to calm down while at the same time telling them to get married. Then she tells Catherine to go off with Fred and leave her immediately. Her outbursts are crazy, but Fred and Catherine stay to have dinner despite Miss Fergeson's reactions. Catherine and Fred spend the night together.
"Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. It has only happened to me like that once." Chapter 34, pg. 249
Fred talks about their relationship. She wants to leave the country because she doesn't want him to be in trouble. He tells her that he doesn't want to live like a criminal. Catherine insists that it is all right because his crime was only to leave the Italian army, and he's not Italian. They get into bed and Catherine tells him that she never has morning sickness. They plan to go to Switzerland by crossing the lake.
Topic Tracking: Friendship 11
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 11
Fred reads the paper and finds out that the army is still retreating. The bartender tells him that a man named Count Greffi wants to play billiards with him. The bartender and Fred go out to fish but catch nothing. While fishing, Fred asks the bartender if he will go to war when they call up the old men. The bartender says that he will leave the country. He does not support the war and thinks it is useless. In this war, Fred feels his desertion is supported. They row back to shore because it is cold and the bartender has to go back to work. Catherine has been to see Miss Ferguson who is in a better mood. Catherine asks Fred what he thinks about when he's not with her. He tells her that he thinks only of her. They pledge to have sex after their lunch with Miss Ferguson. Later in the afternoon, while they're in bed, there is a knock at the door. It is someone requesting that Fred come to play billiards with the count. Catherine tells him it is all right for him to leave for a while.
Fred is in a sublime mood. He goes down and finds Count Greffi who is practicing his shots. The count says he is getting old because it is easiest for him to speak Italian. He gives Fred a handicap of 18 points and they bet by the points. Fred still loses by six. They talk a little about death and war. The count also feels that wars are useless, but thinks that Italy will win because it is the younger country and more vital. Fred tells the count that he is wise, but the count says no. Both the count and Fred are skeptical of accepted wisdom. They both agree on what they value most: the one they love. From the count's perspective, the war is stupid. Fred wants to go back to his room even though the count wants to drink more. As he leaves, the count asks Fred to pray for him if he ever becomes devout. He reminds him that love is a religious feeling.
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 12
Topic Tracking: Friendship 12
The bartender comes to Fred in the night and warns him that some men are planning to arrest him in the morning. Fred asks him what to do and Emilio, the bartender, advises him to go to Switzerland in his boat once the storm has cleared. Fred tells Catherine that they have to leave immediately and she asks him to look away as she dresses.
"I saw her white back as she took off her night-gown and then I looked away because she wanted me to. She was beginning to be a little big with the child and she did not want me to see her. I dressed hearing the rain on the windows. I did not have much to put in my bag." Chapter 36, pg. 266
Emilio waits in the bathroom while they dress, and takes their bags down. Catherine thanks him and he tells them to go out front, as if they are taking a walk, and he will meet them at his boat. The porter at the door gives them an umbrella, surprised that they are going out in the bad weather. Emilio gives them a bottle of brandy and wine and tells them that it is 35 kilometers to Switzerland and that they should go with the wind. They shove off and row.
Topic Tracking: Friendship 13
The rain stops only occasionally while he rows. He knows that his hands will blister, but it is hard to save them on the rough water. They miss the town they are supposed to pass as a landmark. Catherine worries about Miss Ferguson and Fred is worried about getting into Switzerland before dawn.
"I rowed all night. Finally my hands were so sore I could hardly close them over the oars. We were nearly smashed up on the shore several times. I kept fairly close to the shore because I was afraid of getting lost on the lake and losing time." Chapter 37, pg. 271
It is cold and the visibility is bad. Nevertheless, Fred stays calm. He has to pull out into the lake later on to avoid soldiers. They try to use the umbrella as an improvised sail while Catherine steers, but it doesn't work well. Catherine makes him rest and have a drink and she rows for a bit. She is in good spirits and laughs at the spectacle of Fred holding the umbrella. It is early before the dawn and they are about five miles from Switzerland. Fred warns her not to hit herself in the stomach with the oar and she quips "If I did. . .life might be much simpler." Chapter 37, pg. 275 Fred doesn't react to this comment and there is a silence after she speaks. Soon he takes the oars again and it begins to rain as daylight begins to show. He rows away from a motor boat carrying Italian guards who don't seem to take serious notice of him. Soon Fred thinks that they must be in Switzerland. They come near a town that seems to be a good spot to land, and they ashore. They leave their bags in the boat and go to a café for breakfast. Fred knows that they will be arrested after breakfast, and they are. They show their passports and Fred tells the officers that he is pursuing 'winter sport'. The soldier tells him he will have to go to the larger town, Locarno with a soldier as an escort. The soldier is happy when he sees how much money they have.
"At Locarno we did not have a bad time. They questioned us but they were polite because we had passports and money. I do not think they believed a word of the story and I thought it was silly but it was like a law-court. You did not want something reasonable, you wanted something technical and then stuck to it without explanations. But we had passports and we would spend the money. So they gave us provisional visas." Chapter 37, pg. 281
They debate where to go next and two officers offer their hometowns as possible destinations.. One tells him to go to Montreux for the luge. Fred tells him that he is interested in toboggans. The other officer tells him to go to another city, but reminds him to report to the police wherever he goes. Catherine is sleepy, and she tells Fred that she had a wonderful time the night before. They are not worried for the first time in several days. They go to a hotel to sleep.
In Montreux Catherine and Fred live on the top floor of a brown house. Their woman landlord brings them food. The house is in the mountains near a lake. The snow comes late in the fall. They learn many card games and buy many books to read. The woman who helps them is named Mrs. Guttingen and she lives with her husband. They operate a café on the first floor where they sell wine and beer.
"The war seemed as far away as the football games of someone else's college. But I knew from the papers that they were still fighting in the mountains because the snow would not come." Chapter 38, pg. 291
The war has become something distant and inconsequential. Fred is at ease in this new world. They often go on walks to pass the time, in the forest and through the towns. It is the off season and many of the shops are closed. Catherine goes into town to get her hair cut and Fred watches her. Afterwards, Catherine wants to go have a beer and she calls the unborn baby 'young Catherine'. She says, "She's been very good. . .She makes little trouble. The doctor says beer will be good for me and keep her small." Chapter 38, pg. 293. She thinks they should be married but doesn't want to get married while she's showing. She says they will get married when she's thin again, but she wants to be married under American law because it would make the child legitimate. She speaks of all the places she would like to see in America. They have another beer before they go home.
Snow comes after Christmas and Catherine is upset because she can't ski. There is a big storm outside and Mr. Guttingen talks about going skiing. Catherine thinks that Fred would be happier if he could be skiing with a bunch of men and he tries to convince her otherwise. He tells her that he likes seeing only her. She tells him that it would be fun if he grew a beard. He tells her that sometimes he thinks about Rinaldi and the priest and wonders if Rinaldi has syphilis. She asks him if he has ever had it and he tells her that he has had gonorrhea. She says:
"'I wish I'd had it.'
'No you don't.'
'I do. I wish I'd had it to be like you. I wish I'd stayed with all your girls so we could make fun of them to you.'" Chapter 38, pg. 299
She tells him he should grow out his hair and she should cut hers and then they would look alike. They talk about playing chess and then having sex. One night he wakes up and Catherine is awake too. She talks about when they first met and how she was crazy. They go back to sleep. He does not regret losing his other life and he is happy to be with her.
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 13
By January Fred has a beard. The country is covered in snow. They still go for walks, but Catherine gets tired easily. They go to a bar and meet a hunter with earrings. They talk about a fox they saw on their walk. They sit down in the tavern for a while and Fred talks about his family. He hasn't called them, but he keeps drawing money from their accounts. Catherine decides that she won't cut her hair again until she's thin.
Topic tracking: Love and Sex 14
Fred says that they have a good life and soon spring comes again. They are excited about the coming birth of their child. They decide to move into the town for the spring. It is about a month before Catherine is due. Mr. Guttingen is not upset when they tell him they're leaving, because he figured that they would depart when the season changed. They stay in a hotel the first night.
Catherine realizes that she has not bought any baby clothes and tells Fred that even though she worked in a hospital, she had no experience with babies because she was always working with men. Fred tries to get her to come to bed but she tells him that she's too fat. He doesn't think that she's too fat and is still very interested in having sex with her. He tells her that she is beautiful. He has another drink and Catherine has some wine. They order some food. They stay at the hotel for a while and Fred starts to box at the gymnasium for exercise. Catherine gets what she needs for the baby. Fred wants to shave the beard, but Catherine asks him not to. On some days they go for a ride in a carriage in the countryside.
"When there was a good day we had a splendid time and we never had a bad time. We knew the baby was very close now and it gave us both a feeling as though something were hurrying us and we could not lose any time together." Chapter 40, pg. 311
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 15
Catherine wakes Fred at three in the morning with pains that hit every half-hour. They go to the hospital and she is very excited. She tells them her name is Catherine Henry. Fred goes out as she changes but the nurse calls him back.. Catherine has frequent contractions and she tells Fred to go away and get some breakfast. He lingers for a while and soon the contractions fall off. Catherine is ashamed and she makes Fred leave. He has some bread and wine and watches a dog rustle through the trash. When he returns to the hospital, Catherine has been moved to the delivery room. The doctor is giving her gas for the pain. At noon she is still in the delivery room. Fred is very worried about her, but he is not panicking. The doctor wants to eat lunch so he shows Fred how to operate the gas.
"'I will eat from a tray in the next room' the doctor said, 'You can call me any moment.' While the time passed I watched him eat, then, after a while, I saw that he was lying down and smoking a cigarette. Catherine was getting very tired." Chapter 41, pg. 318
At two, Fred goes out to eat lunch and the street is cleaner than it was in the morning. Catherine is fully intoxicated by the gas when he returns. She asks the doctor if she is going to die and he tells her to stop being silly. He tells Fred to go away so that he can examine her. Fred starts to get anxious because the doctor doesn't come for a while. When the doctor comes he tells him that there are two options: a forceps birth or caesarian. Fred decides that she should have the caesarian because it is safer for mother and child. When Fred goes in to see her, she is hysterical from the pain. He gives her a good amount of gas and is worried that she is getting too much. The doctors take her away on the stretcher and she is screaming from the pain. Two nurses hurry in to watch the operation. Fred sees the doctor carry a son away from her. Fred is not interested in the child, only in Catherine's safety.
"I thought Catherine was dead. She looked dead. Her face was gray, the part of it that I could see. Down below, under the light, the doctor was sewing up the great long, forcep-spread, thick-edged wound." Chapter 41, pg. 325
Fred goes to see Catherine and she is in bad condition. A nurse tells Fred that she should be left alone. He learns that the baby didn't live because he was choked by the umbilical cord.
"I sat down on the chair in front of a table where there were nurses' reports hung on clips at the side and looked out of the window. I could see nothing but the dark and the rain falling across the light from the windows. So that was it. The baby was dead." Chapter 41, pg. 327
Fred is very upset and worried about Catherine. He thinks about a log full of ants that he burned in a campfire when he was younger and how the ants looked when they were dying. He sits there for a while, but a nurse comes along and makes him get some supper. He goes to the same place he went for lunch and has a couple of beers. He hurries back when he realizes that he has been gone for a while. When he gets to the hospital, he finds out that Catherine has had a hemorrhage and it is very dangerous. She knows she is going to die, but tells him she isn't afraid. The doctor asks Fred to leave and reassures him that she isn't going to die.
"It seems she had one hemorrhage after another. They couldn't stop it. I went into the room and stayed with Catherine until she died. She was unconscious all the time, and it did not take her very long to die." Chapter 41, pg. 331
Fred stays at the hospital for a while and the doctor offers to take him to his hotel, but he refuses to go. He makes the nurses leave the room so that he can say goodbye to Catherine. The book ends with this:
"But after I got them to leave and shut the door and turned off the light it wasn't any good. It was like saying good-by to a statue. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain." Chapter 41, pg. 332
Topic Tracking: Love and Sex 16