A Farewell to Arms


Ernest Hemingway

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A Farewell to Arms: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

When apart from Catherine, Henry spends time with a number of people, including a man named Meyers and his wife. One day, when he is in a bar in Milan, Henry runs into two American opera singers, Ralph Simmons and Edgar Saunders, and an Italian-American soldier in the Italian army named Ettore Moretti. Moretti has five medals and three war wounds. He brags about the promotions he is about to receive, and advises Henry to join the American Army, which is likely to pay him better. Henry describes Ettore as a "legitimate hero who bored every one he met."
Henry is no longer interested in stories of what he sees as the wartime illusion of bravery and heroism. Henry is particularly disgusted by Moretti's smug willingness to cash in on his heroism, peddling his services to the highest bidding army. Moretti's behavior even further disillusions Henry about every aspect of the war.
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At the hospital that night, Catherine tells Henry that she dislikes Moretti, and prefers quieter heroes. It soon begins to rain, and as they lie in bed, Catherine cries and tells Henry that she has always been afraid of the rain. When Henry asks why, she says that it is "very hard on loving" and that she can see herself dead in it. Henry comforts her, tells her not to be crazy, and she stops crying. Outside, the rain continues to fall.
Catherine sees rain as a symbol of all of those outside forces—war, military bureaucracy, death—that interfere with the privacy of life and love. Henry does not understand this yet. He stops Catherine's crying, but he can't stop the rain.
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