A Farewell to Arms

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Officers' Stars Symbol Analysis

Officers' Stars Symbol Icon
The stars that military officers wear on their sleeves in A Farewell to Arms represent competence and duty. When Dr. Valentini agrees to operate on Henry's leg in Chapter 15, Henry is comforted not only by Valentini's brash confidence but also by the stars on his sleeve that mark him as a major. When Henry deserts and cuts off the stars from his sleeve to disguise himself, he throws away his former identity and responsibilities.
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Officers' Stars Symbol Timeline in A Farewell to Arms

The timeline below shows where the symbol Officers' Stars appears in A Farewell to Arms. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 15
War Theme Icon
Self vs. Duty Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
...Henry asks for another opinion. A few hours later, Dr. Valentini, arrives. Valentini wears the stars of a major, cheerfully shares a drink with Henry, and tells Henry he will operate... (full context)
Chapter 31
War Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Self vs. Duty Theme Icon
...shore, he grabs a branch and pulls himself out. To disguise himself, he cuts the stars from his sleeve that mark him as an officer. (full context)
Chapter 33
War Theme Icon
Self vs. Duty Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
...news of the front. Henry's vague answers, and the mark on his sleeve where the stars have been cut away, lead the proprietor to guess that he is in trouble. He... (full context)