Chapter 41 Notes from A Farewell to Arms

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A Farewell to Arms Chapter 41

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

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