“Farewell, arms” of Hemingway in brief summary

The novel takes place in 1915-1918. on the Italian-Austrian front.

American Frederick Henry is a lieutenant of the Italian Army’s sanitary troops. Before the offensive in the town of Plavna, where the sanitary units are located, there is a lull. Officers spend time who knows how – drink, play billiards, go to a brothel and drive in the paint of a regimental priest, discussing various intimate things with him.

A young nurse Catherine Barkley comes to the nearby English hospital, where her fiancé died in France. She regrets that she did not marry him before, did not give him any happiness at all.

A rumor spreads through the troops that we must wait for an impending offensive. We must immediately break the dressing station for the wounded. The Austrian parts are close to the Italians – on the other side of the river. Henry brightens up the tension of waiting for courting Katherine, although he is embarrassed by some of the oddities of her behavior.

First, after trying to kiss her, he gets a slap in the face, then the girl herself kisses him, anxiously asking if he will always be kind to her. Henry does not exclude that she is slightly insane, but the girl is very beautiful, and to meet her better than spending the evenings in the officer brothel. On another date Henry comes thoroughly drunk and also very late – however, the meeting will not take place: Katherine is not quite well. Suddenly, the lieutenant feels unusually lonely, in his soul, he is dreary and sad.

The next day it becomes known that at night in the headwaters of the river there will be an attack, ambulances must go out there. Passing by the hospital, Henry jumps out for a minute to see Catherine, who gives him a medallion with the image of Saint Anthony – for luck. Arriving at the place, he is located with the drivers in the dugout; the young Italian guys amicably criticize the war – if deserters did not pursue their relatives, none of them would be here. There is nothing worse than war. To lose it is better. And what will happen? The Austrians will reach Italy, get tired and

return home – everyone wants to go home. War is needed only by those who profit from it.

The attack begins. In the dugout, where there is a lieutenant with chauffeurs, a bomb hits. Wounded at the feet, Henry tries to help the dying driver next door. Those who survived, deliver it to the point of first aid. There, as nowhere else, the dirty side of the war is visible – blood, moans, ragged bodies. Henry is preparing to be sent to the central hospital – in Milan. Before leaving, the priest comes to see him, he sympathizes with Henry not so much because they wounded him, but because it is hard for him to love. Man, God… And yet the priest believes that one day Henry will learn to love – his soul is not yet killed – and then he will be happy. By the way, his familiar nurse – it seems, Barkley? – also transferred to a Milan hospital.

In Milan, Henry suffers a complicated operation on his knee. Unexpectedly for himself, he looks forward to Catherine’s arrival with great anticipation and, as soon as she enters the room, experiences an amazing discovery: he loves her and can not live without her. When Henry learned to move on crutches, he and Katherine begin to go to the park for a walk or have dinner in a cozy restaurant next door, drink dry white wine, and then return to the hospital, and there, sitting on the balcony, Henry waits for Catherine to finish the job and will come to him all night long and her marvelous long hair will cover him with a golden waterfall.

They consider themselves husband and wife, leading the counting of married life from the day Catherine appeared in the Milan hospital. Henry wants them to be married in reality, but Katherine objects: then she will have to leave: as soon as they begin to settle the formalities, they will follow her and they will be separated. She does not worry that their relationship is not officially legalized, the girl is more worried about a vague premonition, she thinks that something terrible can happen.

The situation on the front is heavy. Both sides are already exhausted, and, as Henry said, an English major, the army that is the last to understand that it is exhausted will win the war. After several months of treatment, Henry is instructed to return to the unit. Saying good-bye to Katherine, he sees that she is not telling something, and barely achieves truth from her: she has been pregnant for three months already.

In part everything goes as before, only some of them are dead. Someone has picked up syphilis, someone has washed down, and the priest all as remains an object for jokes. The Austrians advance. Henry now spontaneously turns from such words as “fame”, “valor”, “feat” or “shrine” – they sound simply indecent next to the specific names of villages, rivers, road numbers and the names of the dead. Sanitary cars now and then fall on the roads in congestion; to the columns of the cars, the refugees retreating under the onslaught of the Austrians are nailed, they carry wretched household belongings in carts, and dogs flee under the bottom of the wagons. The car in which Henry goes, constantly gets stuck in the mud and finally gets stuck. Henry and his henchmen go further on foot, they are repeatedly fired. In the end, they are stopped by the Italian field gendarmerie, taking for disguised Germans, especially suspicious they think Henry with his American accent. He is going to be shot, but the lieutenant manages to escape – he jumps into the river with a run and swims under the water for a long time. Having typed air, dives again. Henry manages to get away from the chase.

Henry realizes that this war is enough for him, – the river seemed to have washed off his sense of duty. He’s done with the war, Henry says to himself, he was not created to fight, but to eat, drink and sleep with Catherine. He does not intend to part with her any more. He concluded a separate peace – for him personally the war was over. And yet it’s hard for him to get rid of the feelings that boys have, who have escaped from school, but can not stop thinking about what is happening at school now. When he finally reached Catherine, Henry feels as if he has returned home, so well he is near this woman. Previously, he did not have this: he knew many, but always remained alone. The night with Catherine is no different from the day – it’s always fine with her. But the war was left on edge, and various unhealthy thoughts come into my head, like the world is breaking everyone. Some at the break become stronger, but those who do not want to break are killed. Kill the kindest, and the most affectionate, and the bravest – indiscriminately. And if you do not either, or the other, or the third, then you will be killed too – only without much haste.

Henry knows: if they see him on the street without a uniform and find out, they will shoot him. The barman from the hotel, where they live, warns: in the morning Henry will come to arrest – someone reported on him. The barman finds a boat for them and shows the direction in which to sail to get to Switzerland.

The plan works, and all autumn they live in Montreux in a wooden house among the pines, on the mountainside. The war seems to them very far, but from the newspapers they know that the fighting is still going on.

The term of Katherine’s birth is approaching, with her not everything is all right – she has a narrow pelvis. Almost all the time, Henry and Catherine spend together – they have no need for communication, this war seems to have taken them to a desert island. But here’s the way out to the world, to people it becomes necessary: ​​Catherine begins fights. The labor activity is very weak, and the caesarean section is done to it, but it is too late – the exhausted child is born dead, Katherine herself dies, That’s the way, thinks the devastated Henry, everything always ends with this – death. You are thrown into life and told you the rules, and the first time they are caught unawares, they are killed. No one can hide from life or death.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

“Farewell, arms” of Hemingway in brief summary