A Farewell to Arms

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Hair and Beards Symbol Analysis

Hair and Beards Symbol Icon
Catherine's hair, and Henry's beard (grown in Book 5), symbolize Catherine and Henry's temporary insulation from the world. Early in their relationship, Henry loves to remove Catherine's hairpins so her hair surrounds him, like being "inside a tent or behind a falls," both images of shelter and protection. When Henry and Catherine are living an isolated life in Switzerland, Henry's beard grows longer, an implied layer of defense.
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Hair and Beards Symbol Timeline in A Farewell to Arms

The timeline below shows where the symbol Hair and Beards appears in A Farewell to Arms. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
War Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
...him to the British hospital to meet Catherine Barkley. Catherine is beautiful, with long blonde hair, and she and Henry begin flirting as soon as they're introduced. At one point, Henry... (full context)
Chapter 38
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
...suggests Henry change something in his life to reinvigorate it. Henry agrees to grow a beard. For her part, Catherine wants to get her hair cut short to become even more... (full context)
Chapter 39
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Self vs. Duty Theme Icon
In January, the weather turns sharp and cold. Henry's beard has grown in. One day, as they rest at an inn during a walk, they... (full context)
Chapter 40
War Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Self vs. Duty Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
...begun. He drinks a lot and, in deference to Catherine's wishes, continues to grow his beard. He begins to box at a local gym and she buys baby clothes, but they... (full context)