Hemingway A Farewell to Arms (34 essential pages )

Book One Gorizia, Pava, Isonso River.

  • 50 -57 Hit by trench mortar. Portrayed as loved and respected.

Book II Milan

After Frederic is wounded he is sent to the American Hospital in Milan, central Italy, far from the conflict. There he meets Miss Barkley again and they fall in love

Ch 14 82-85 Catherine appears. In love, in bed.

Ch 16 92-96 They are passionate in ‘our’ room.

Catherine finds that she is pregnant. This is a huge problem for them both although they don’t really express their anxieties. For Catherine, it is unacceptable for a young woman of her status in society to be pregnant and unmarried and pregnant to someone her family doesn’t even know. For Frederic, the fear is that he may die in battle and leave his beloved and their child to fend for themselves in the war because Catherine’s family back in Scotland may well reject her. In many scenes the actions of people the reader barely knows suggest that Frederic has had another life as a rich playboy.

Ch 18 101-105 The waiter loans 100 lire. They think about the future. He is worried about a baby and wants to marry. Catherine doesn’t want to marry. She comes across as sensible and mature fatalistic and brave. He is vowing love. This chapter hints at darker themes.

Ch 19 Catherine. (112-114) Her fear of rain. (Note how the novel ends.)

Although Frederic contracts jaundice – a liver disease he contracts probably as a consequence of the amount of alcohol he consumes, he is eventually well enough to be ordered back to the front. It is hard for him to leave Catherine. from the large amount of secret drinking he does page 123 ‘I’ve never had a baby and I’ve never even loved anyone.’ ‘I could cut off my tongue.’ ‘Life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose.’ C.

Book 111 Gorzia, Udine and Caporella

Back at Gorzia Fred meets his Italian surgeon friend who in his absence has become bitter and self-destructive – either working or drinking and seeing girls. Read page 153

The Austrians begin an advance and a decision is made by the Italian high command to pull back all the Italian troops – a retreat. P167. ‘In a retreat what do we do with the wounded? ‘They take as many as they can and leave the rest.’ Fred makes no comment.

They begin the retreat in the rain. One of Fred’s ambulances picks up two young frightened girls (of course the civilians in the area retreat with the soldiers). The retreat is chaotic.

Ch 29 181-185 Bogged and Fred shoots a sergeant. Why? Gives the two frightened civilian girls a ten lira note and tells them to go.

Ch 30 The retreat. Aymo, one of his men is randomly shot and his body left on the river bank. Fred is halted after crossing a bridge and is captured with other officers who are being summarily shot. He fears that they will mistake him for a spy because of his English accent. They are shooting officers who have left their men. Escape. Read page 197-200

Book IV Milan


Frederic jumps a freight train and makes his way back to Milan to find Catherine.

Ch 34 At the hotel he meets up with Catherine and Ferguson. Ferguson very upset with him. Fred. ‘But we were never lonely and never afraid when we were together. They decide to flee to Switzerland. They escape on a wet night helped by Emilio in the hotel. Emilio says he can return the money later. Emilio clearly knows Frederic well and likes and trusts him a great deal. Fred will be arrested as a deserter.

Ch 37 They row up Lake Maggiore and into the Swiss part of the lake.30 kilometres. Umbrella. Brandy and sandwiches. Land in Brissago. Breakfast. Arrested. They sweet talk the guards and are not arrested. Taken to Montreux Catherine is relentlessly cheery.

Book V Switzerland Autumn

Catherine and he stay in a Swiss chalet (mountain house) Discuss marriage. Catherine is realistic. Hints of her narrow hips which may cause birthing problems. Fred, is a little anxious despite their blissful love. They move to another city, Lausanne, to be closer to hospital.

Ch 41 Read all this chapter. Catherine in labour. Positive, cheery comments with the early pain. He thinks she may die. So, finally, does she. Last sign of their love, a wink. She has no religion but F. prays for her survival. Caesarian Hemorrhage. Boy dies just before her. Stoic farewells. He leaves alone in the rain.