«A Farewell to Arms»

О романе Хемингуэя "Прошай, оружие".

« A Farewell to Arms »

I chose to read the novel as well as view the 1932 movie staring Gary Cooper to review. As usual, the novel and movie are different in the delivery of the story yet parallel most of the same aspects Hemingway was trying to convey about love and war. The novel was much more in depth than the movie and mostly, the novel focused more on the war than did the movie.

The novel begins describing artillery weary troops marching through the rains of late summer. The main character is an American named Frederic Henry. He is an ambulance driver who is marching with the troops. The American is stationed with the Italian Army, at the front during World War I. Basically, the first few chapters begin when Frederic returns from winter leave in early spring. He has a roommate named Rinaldi who is infatuated with a British nurse by the name of Catherine Barkley. Rinaldi persuades Frederic to visit the hospital where Catherine works. After meeting her, Frederic is attracted to Catherine. After a couple days pass, Frederic re-visit’s the hospital and he and Catherine become affectionate and share a kiss.

Frederic and Catharine become more of an item and their relationship becomes more serious because Frederic begins to pay her regular visits. Catherine recognizes that Frederic is lacking in his love depth and puts an end to the false lovemaking imposed by the not so seriously loving Frederic. On the other issue which of course is the war, the Italian offensive is about to resume. Frederic is sent to the front to drive the wounded back to hospitals in the rear. At the front, Frederic and his fellow ambulance drivers sit in a dugout. They were eating pasta and cheese and waiting for the fighting to start. As they ate and talked, artillery shells were exploding over their heads and then a mortar shell blasted open their dugout. One of the other drivers, Passini, looses his leg and he dies. Frederic takes injuries to both of his legs during the blast. His injuries are that of a serious nature.

Frederic is taken to a field hospital. His first visitor is Rinaldi and then he is visited by a Catholic Priest. Rinaldi jokes about getting medals for bravery from the Italian army, and jokes about other developments. The priest is more serious and explains to Henry about love and people who wage war and those who don’t. After a few days at the field hospital, Henry is shipped to an American hospital in Milan. Catherine is sent there as well as there is an excess of nurses at the front.

Frederic is the very first patient sent to the American hospital and even the doctors have yet to arrive. After a few days the doctor arrives and begins to remove shrapnel from Frederic’s legs. Upon removal of the shrapnel, the doctor discovers a piece of metal that is imbedded very deep and surgery is required. Some doctors hold a meeting and try to determine when the operation should be performed, but Frederic refuses their recommendation to wait six months. Dr. Valentini later declares Frederic is ok to be operated upon the next morning and the operation is then done successfully.

At the same time, Catherine has arrived at the hospital and at this time Frederic states his love for her. Catherine begins to work the night shift and they become very intimate on almost a nightly occasion.

While he waits for his leg to heal during the summer, Frederic is able to spend a vast amount of time with Catherine. The couple does a lot together including going to the horse races. Towards the end of summer, Frederic receives a letter from the army saying that when he is discharged from the hospital, he will be given three weeks leave before he must return. Catherine decides and declares that she will find a way to leave the hospital at the same time as well.

While at the hospital and prior to his departure, Frederic has developed jaundice and has been told he must stay for an additional two weeks. While he is staying his extra two weeks, a lady by the name of Miss Van Campben finds several empty bottles of alcohol in the armoire. She is determined that Frederic has drunk himself sick to avoid going back to the front. She reports this and turns him in. He subsequently losses his leave. Frederic and Catherine stay at a hotel together on the night before he is to go back to the from.

When Frederic gets back to the fron, the war is not going so good and moral about ending the war is low. Rinaldi is pretty depressed and finds only two things interesting at this point: alcohol and sex. Even the priest has given up hoping for victory, but still believes the war will end soon because all involved are sick and tired of it. Frederic has a different oppinion that the Austrians are winning and the war will continue. One Frederic returns to the front, he is ordered to take over the ambulance cars in the mountains on the Bainsizza. They are ordered to retreat after only a couple days of heavy rain and the Germans and Austrians have broken through the line.

Frederic is in charge of a group of ambulance drivers in retreat. They are to moving hospital equipment into Udine. They end up accidentally getting stuck in a bunch of traffic including civilian vehicles and unable to move. He decides to turn off the main road and they take cover off the side of the road. The Austrians were bombing the main road and they could hear it. Not far outside from Udine, the ambulances get stuck in the mud. Frederic he shoots a sergeant who is running away with another because they’re afraid that the Austrians will catch them. Continuing on foot, Henry and the three remaining drivers spot German troops all over the road and realize Udine has been taken.

At this point, only Frederic and a man named Piani are left. They find a column of retreating soldiers and continue on with them. He is noticed by the battle police. They think he is a German hiding in an Italian uniform. As the police are executing all officers they find separated from their troops, Frederic manages to escape into a river and goes downstream. When he reaches a shore, he jumps onto a train and hides under the canvas.

When he gets off of the train in Milan, he visits an Italian he befriended during his stay at the hospital. The friend tells him that Catherine had left to Stresa. After leaving the porter, Frederic visits Simmons, an opera singer and old friend, who gives him some civilian clothes. Having changed, Frederic boards the train for Stresa. He finally finds Catherine at a hotel and they spend a couple days together. A hotel barman comes up to their room to warn Frederic he's discovered that Italian officers are planning to arrest him the next morning. Frederic and Catherine borrow a boat they can take to Switzerland. They arrive in Switzerland just before dawn. They get arrested after breakfast, but have the necessary documentation are sent to get visas. Frederic explains to the officials that they are there to do winter sports. The officials do not believe the story, but let them to stay because they have money to spend.

Frederic and Catherine live in the mountains of Switzerland during the winter enjoying life together. They discover that Catherine is pregnant In the spring the couple moved into a nearby town. Catherine experiences pain after a few weeks and is admitted to the hospital. She is in labor for hours. The baby hay yet to be born. The doctor tells them that he must perform a Caesarian. Unfortunately, the baby dies during the operation. Also, Catherine died soon after the operation because she had severe hemorrhaging. The novel ends with Frederic walking through the rain back to the hotel.

The main character is Frederic Henry. The novel is loosely based on actual life events Hemingway experienced. Frederic is an American ambulance driver Italian army. He is also narrates the novel. The novel basically is focused around his love with Catherine Barkley and the war. Frederic feels he has nothing to do with the war initially and feels detached. When he falls in love with Catherine he begins to realize the nature of the world. The one thing that can be taken by the character is that no matter where you are taken in life, tragedy still follows.

Another main character is Catherine Barkley. Catherine is an English nurse serving at the Italian front. Catherine had a fiancй who had died prior the events of the novel. She has an unparalleled love and devotion for Frederic which is expressed in the novel.

Frederic‘s roommate is named Rinaldi. Rinaldi is a surgeon at the Italian front. Rinaldi seeks immediate pleasures and sensual relationships. Rinaldi eventually comes to realize the futility of the war and his own actions of sending patients back to the front lines. In an attempt to deal with the war and everything that is going on, Rinaldi resorts to sex as a scapegoat.

The Priest was a good friend of Frederic's. He is a young priest of the army division who keeps the faith in God while war rages on. Where the priest is concerned with higher values this contrasts vastly with Rinaldi and his way of life and dealing with situations. The priest explains to Frederic the difference between love and lust as well as the futility of the war. The priest makes a conscious choice in faith rather than using it as a cruch.

Although called the Great War, World War I was very much undefined a war as such an example of World War II was. There are was a incredible sequence of events leading to the war as one thing led to another.

Austria-Hungary - declared was on Serbia 28 July 1914 after they were unsatisfied with Serbia's response to their ultimatum

Russia, was bound by treaty to Serbia and therefore mobilized it’s vast army in the defense of Serbia

Germany was an ally to Austria-Hungary by treaty. They viewed the Russian mobilisation as an act of war against Austria-Hungary and declared war on Russia 1 August 1914.

France was bound by treaty to Russia and responded by declaring war against Germany and on Austria-Hungary on 3 August 1914. Germany responded by invading Belgium so they would be able to reach Paris by the shortest possible route.

Britain was allied to France by a loose worded treaty to defend France. They declared war against Germany on 4 August 1914. The actual reason for entering the conflict was based on an obligation to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of 75 year old treaty.

Britain's entry into the war had help from the British colonies and dominions abroad as well. They offered military and financial assistance and they included: Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa.

United States President Woodrow Wilson declared the U.S. would be absolutely neutral when in 1917 when Germany's policy of unrestricted submarine warfare seriously threatened the U.S. commercial shipping forced the U.S. to enter the war on 6 April 1917.

Japan had a military agreement with Britain and therefore declared war against Germany on 23 August 1914. Two days later Austria-Hungary responded by declaring war on Japan.

Italy was allied with both Germany and Austria-Hungary and was able was to initially avoid war citing it‘s alliance with both countries. In May 1915, Italy finally by siding with the Allies against her two former allies.

One of the most important outcomes of the war was the Treaty of Versailles signed on 28 June 1919. The following are terms of the treaty:

The treaty can be divided into a number of sections; territorial, military, financial and general.


The following land was taken away from Germany :

Alsace-Lorraine (given to France)

Eupen and Malmedy (given to Belgium)

Northern Schleswig (given to Denmark)

Hultschin (given to Czechoslovakia)

West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia (given to Poland). The Saar, Danzig and Memel were put under the control of the League of Nations and the people of these regions would be allowed to vote to stay in Germany or not in a future referendum.

The League of Nations also took control of Germany's overseas colonies. Germany had to return to Russia land taken in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Some of this land was made into new states : Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. An enlarged Poland also received some of this land.


Germany’s army was reduced to 100,000 men; the army was not allowed tanks and not allowed an airforce. They were also allowed only 6 naval ships and no submarines

The west of the Rhineland and 50 kms east of the River Rhine was made into a demilitarised zone. No German soldier or weapon was allowed into this zone. The Allies were to keep an army of occupation on the west bank of the Rhine for 15 years.


The loss of vital industrial territory would be a severe blow to any attempts by Germany to rebuild her economy. Coal from the Saar and Upper Silesia in particular was a vital economic loss. Combined with the financial penalties linked to reparations, it seemed clear to Germany that the Allies wanted nothing else but to bankrupt her. Germany was also forbidden to unite with Austria to form one superstate, in an attempt to keep her economic potential to a minimum.


There are three vital clauses here:

1. Germany had to admit full responsibility for starting the war. This was Clause 231 the "War Guilt Clause".

2. Germany was therefore responsible for all the war damage caused by the World War 1. Therefore, she had to pay reparations, the bulk of which would go to France and Belgium to pay for the damage done to the infrastructure of both countries by the war. Quite literally, reparations would be used to pay for the damage to be repaired. Payment could be in kind or cash. The figure was not set at Versailles it was to be determined later. The Germans were told to write a blank cheque which the Allies would cash when it suited them. The figure was set at 6,600 million well beyond Germany’s ability to pay.

3. A League of Nations was set up to keep world peace.

The Novel of A Farewell to Arms touched on one mans experience during World War 1. There seemed to be a wonderful blend of the aspects of love and relationships and the cost of war both physically and mentally on ones phsyc.