is a recurring symbol of death in A Farewell to Arms
. From the first chapter, when rain is associated with the cholera that kills 7,000 soldiers, to the last sentence, where it is raining outside the hospital where Catherine
has died, the reader is reminded that during wartime, tragedy can fall as randomly and unstoppably as rain. Whenever Henry
makes a significant nighttime transition from one place to another—the night that he leaves Milan to return to the front, the night of the large-scale Italian retreat, and the night that he and Catherine row across the lake from Italy to Switzerland—it is pouring rain. The presence of the rain shows that no matter how hard Henry tries to escape death, he can never outrun it.