A Farewell to Arms


Ernest Hemingway

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A Farewell to Arms: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

The next day, while driving his ambulance, Henry encounters an American soldier who has a hernia and can't walk. He gives the soldier a ride to the next mountain post. The soldier confesses that he had taken the truss off his hernia so he wouldn't have to go to the front lines (a truss is a device for treating a hernia), but worries that his officers will see through this ploy. Henry tells him to give himself a bump on his head so they will have to send him to the hospital. The soldier takes this advice.
The American soldier is overcome by the pressures and horrors of war. That Henry, an officer, helps the man to avoid the fighting shows that Henry feels very little loyalty to the general war effort or the Italian army. With his stoicism and irony, Henry doesn't seem to feel much of a connection to anything.
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At dinner, Henry gets into a drinking contest with a major. Midway through a mug of wine, Henry remembers he was supposed to go see Catherine. By the time he gets there, she has gone to bed. He feels lonely and empty.
All the officers play macho games to assert their manhood but also to escape the war. Henry thought he and Catherine were also playing a game, but his loneliness suggests otherwise.
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