Book 5, Chapter 38 Notes from A Farewell to Arms

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A Farewell to Arms Book 5, Chapter 38

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

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