A Farewell to Arms

Lieutenant Frederic Henry Character Analysis

An American who volunteers for the Italian ambulance corps before the United States joins the war. Various Italian characters also refer to him as "Tenente" (Lieutenant) or "Federico" (Frederic). Henry is a classic Hemingway hero in that he is a stoic who does his duty without complaint. Yet Henry also undergoes tremendous development through the course of the novel. At the beginning of the novel, he has never experienced true loss, believes that war is dreadful but necessary, has a lust for adventure, drinking, and women, and sees Catherine as just another diversion. As the stakes of the war intensify, however, he becomes deeply pessimistic about the war and realizes that his love for Catherine is the only thing he is willing to commit himself to.

Lieutenant Frederic Henry Quotes in A Farewell to Arms

The A Farewell to Arms quotes below are all either spoken by Lieutenant Frederic Henry or refer to Lieutenant Frederic Henry. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
War Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of A Farewell to Arms published in 2014.
Chapter 1 Quotes
At the start of the winter came the permanent rain and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker)
Related Symbols: Rain
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes
I had gone to no place where the roads were frozen and hard as iron, where it was clear cold and dry and the snow was dry and powdery and hare-tracks in the snow and the peasants took off their hats and called you Lord and there was good hunting. I had gone to no such place but to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker)
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes
"You don't have to pretend you love me. That's over for the evening. Is there anything you'd like to talk about?"
"But I do love you."
"Please let's not lie when we don't have to."
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker), Catherine Barkley (speaker)
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 9 Quotes
I sat up straight and as I did so something inside my head moved like the weights on a doll's eyes and it hit me inside in back of my eyeballs. My legs felt warm and wet and my shoes were wet and warm inside. I knew that I was hit and leaned over and put my hand on my knee. My knee wasn't there.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker)
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes
"You do not love Him at all?" he asked.
"I am afraid of Him in the night sometimes."
"You should love Him."
"I don't love much."
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker), The Priest (speaker)
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 14 Quotes
God knows I had not wanted to fall in love with her. I had not wanted to fall in love with any one. But God knows I had.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker), Catherine Barkley
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 15 Quotes
I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another's company and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot take out your appendix properly will recommend to you a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils with success. These were three such doctors.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker)
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes
"There, darling. Now you're all clean inside and out. Tell me. How many people have you ever loved?"
"Nobody."
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker), Catherine Barkley (speaker)
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes
"You're my religion. You're all I've got."
Related Characters: Catherine Barkley (speaker), Lieutenant Frederic Henry
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 27 Quotes
I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker)
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 30 Quotes
The questioners had that beautiful detachment and devotion to stern justice of men dealing in death without being in any danger of it.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker)
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 32 Quotes
Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker)
Page Number: 200
Explanation and Analysis:

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I had the paper but I did not read it because I did not want to read about the war. I was going to forget the war. I had made a separate peace.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker)
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:

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The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker)
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 35 Quotes
"Then too you are in love. Do not forget that is a religious feeling."
Related Characters: Count Greffi (speaker), Lieutenant Frederic Henry
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 40 Quotes
We knew the baby was very close now and it gave us both a feeling as though something were hurrying us and we could not lose any time together.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker), Catherine Barkley
Page Number: 266
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 41 Quotes
God please make her not die. I'll do anything you say if you don't let her die. You took the baby but don't let her die. That was all right but don't let her die. Please, please, dear God, don't let her die.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker), Catherine Barkley
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:

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But after I had got them out and shut the door and turned off the lights it wasn't any good. It was like saying good-by to a statue. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.
Related Characters: Lieutenant Frederic Henry (speaker), Catherine Barkley
Related Symbols: Rain
Page Number: 320
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lieutenant Frederic Henry Character Timeline in A Farewell to Arms

The timeline below shows where the character Lieutenant Frederic Henry appears in A Farewell to Arms. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
War Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
The narrator, Lieutenant Frederick Henry, an American medic volunteering in the Italian army during World War I, observes conditions where... (full context)
Chapter 2
War Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
Lieutenant Henry's unit moves to the town of Gorizia, which the Italian army has captured from the... (full context)
Manhood Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
One night in the mess hall, Henry sits with a group of fellow officers who are taunting the unit's priest for being... (full context)
Chapter 3
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
Henry returns to Gorizia in the spring, after his leave is over. He greets his friend... (full context)
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
At dinner, the priest is hurt that Henry did not visit the priest's family in Abruzzi. Henry, who is drunk, thinks about what... (full context)
Chapter 4
War Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
Henry is awoken by the "nuisance" of an Austrian gun battery firing in the distance. He... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
That afternoon, Rinaldi invites Henry to accompany him to the British hospital to meet Catherine Barkley. Catherine is beautiful, with... (full context)
Chapter 5
War Theme Icon
Self vs. Duty Theme Icon
Henry goes to pay a visit on Catherine the next day. At the hospital, he speaks... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Self vs. Duty Theme Icon
When Henry returns that night, Catherine is in the garden with Helen Ferguson, another English nurse. After... (full context)
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
Catherine eventually relents and lets Henry kiss her. Afterward, she cries on his shoulder and asks him to be good to... (full context)
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
Henry goes back to his room, where Rinaldi wants to know all the details of what... (full context)
Chapter 6
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
Henry can't find time to visit Catherine for two days. When he does visit, Catherine tells... (full context)
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
After they kiss for a while, Catherine surprises Henry by acknowledging that they are playing "a rotten game." They continue to kiss, but she... (full context)
Chapter 7
War Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Self vs. Duty Theme Icon
The next day, while driving his ambulance, Henry encounters an American soldier who has a hernia and can't walk. He gives the soldier... (full context)
War Theme Icon
Love and Loss Theme Icon
Reality vs. Fantasy Theme Icon
Manhood Theme Icon
At dinner, Henry gets into a drinking contest with a major. Midway through a mug of wine, Henry... (full context)
Chapter 8
War Theme Icon
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The next night, Henry's unit heads on its way to serve during a battle at the front. As they... (full context)
Chapter 9
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At Pavla, the site of the battle, Henry and the drivers he commands—Gordini, Passini, Manera and Gavuzzi—wait for the battle to begin while... (full context)
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When the men get hungry, Henry and Gordini run out and grab some macaroni and cheese from another bunker. As they... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Rinaldi visits Henry, who is lying wounded in the field hospital, and brings him a bottle of cognac.... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Later that day, the priest comes to visit Henry, bringing vermouth and English newspapers. As the two men talk, Henry admits that he hates... (full context)
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...to the Abruzzi, where "a man may love God. It is not a dirty joke." Henry responds that he does not love God or much of anything. The priest assures him... (full context)
Chapter 12
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The doctors in Henry's hospital want to ship him to another hospital in Milan, mostly because they'll need every... (full context)
Chapter 13
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When Henry arrives in Milan, he is taken to an American hospital. The ambulance drivers who carry... (full context)
Chapter 14
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In the morning, Miss Gage tells Henry that she discovered his secret wine. He worries that she will turn him in, but... (full context)
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At Henry's request, a barber comes to give Henry a shave. Henry tries to make conversation with... (full context)
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A bit later, Catherine appears in Henry's room. He knows that he is in love with her the moment he sees her,... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Catherine spends that night in Henry's room, making love and watching searchlights roam the sky. In the morning, she prepares him... (full context)
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Catherine then asks Henry how many other women he has loved. He says "None." Next, she asks how many... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Henry feels very sick after the operation, and Catherine doesn't visit him for a while. While... (full context)
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Henry also comes to like Catherine's friend, Helen Ferguson, who has started working at the hospital... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Henry recovers enough to walk on crutches. He and Catherine share an idyllic summer together in... (full context)
Chapter 19
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When apart from Catherine, Henry spends time with a number of people, including a man named Meyers and his wife.... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Chapter 20
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A few days later, Henry goes to the horse races with Catherine, Helen Ferguson, Crowell Rodgers (the boy who had... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...change. The war begins to turn against the Italian army and the Allies in general. Henry's recuperation from his injury is nearly complete, and he now has only three weeks left... (full context)
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Henry notices that Catherine seems upset, and after a little pressuring he gets her to tell... (full context)
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Henry comments that Catherine is too brave for anything bad to happen to them, though Catherine... (full context)
Chapter 22
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It rains the next morning, and Henry is diagnosed with jaundice. Miss Van Campen discovers Henry's stash of empty alcohol bottles, and... (full context)
Chapter 23
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The night he is to leave for the front, Henry reserves a seat on the train and goes to a wine shop to meet Catherine.... (full context)
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They go into a gun shop where Henry buys a pistol and ammunition to bring to the front. Then he suggests to Catherine... (full context)
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While they eat dinner in their room, Henry quotes a passage from a poem by Marvell: "But at my back I always hear... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Henry and Catherine say their goodbyes in front of the train station in the rain. (full context)
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The train is crowded, with every seat taken. When Henry gets on and takes the seat that he had paid someone to hold for him,... (full context)
Chapter 25
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Henry returns to Gorizia. The major fills him in on the summer full of combat, and... (full context)
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Henry then reunites with Rinaldi. Due to all the casualties from the summer of fighting, Rinaldi... (full context)
Chapter 26
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After dinner, Henry and the priest talk in Henry's room. The priest thinks that now that the destruction... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Henry goes the next day to Bainsizza, a mountainous region that has seen heavy fighting. There,... (full context)
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...the Italian lines have broken. The Italians begin a massive retreat. When they reach Gorizia, Henry sees the girls from the soldiers' brothel being loaded into a truck. Bonello, one of... (full context)
Chapter 28
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The retreating Italian vehicles move excruciatingly slowly, and often stall. Henry checks on his drivers. Bonello has picked up two engineering sergeants, while Aymo has picked... (full context)
Chapter 29
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At noon, ten kilometers from their destination, Aymo's cars gets stuck in the muddy road. Henry orders the two engineering sergeants to help free the vehicle. Fearful that they will all... (full context)
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Henry puts the coat and cape of the dead sergeant under the wheels of the car... (full context)
Chapter 30
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Henry and the drivers, now on foot, come to a railway bridge. Henry spots Germans going... (full context)
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...embankment beneath bridge and are fired upon. Aymo is shot through the neck and killed. Henry realizes that the frightened Italian rear guard, not the Germans, are the ones shooting at... (full context)
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The remaining drivers find an abandoned farmhouse in which to eat a meal. As Henry sets up camp in the barn, Bonello and Piani search for food. Piani soon returns,... (full context)
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That night, Henry and Piani rejoin the main Italian retreat heading south. Eventually they arrive at a bridge,... (full context)
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Henry is himself seized by two military policemen. He then watches as a dignified lieutenant-colonel is... (full context)
Chapter 32
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As he hides, Henry tries to avoid thinking about how hungry he is by thinking about Catherine, but thinking... (full context)
Chapter 33
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Henry gets off the train in Milan. He stops in a wine shop, where the proprietor... (full context)
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Henry goes to the hospital. The porter tells him that Catherine left two days ago for... (full context)
Chapter 34
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Henry takes the train to Stresa. As a man of military age who could be fighting... (full context)
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In Stresa, Henry checks into a hotel, where he knows the barman, Emilio. In response to Henry's questions,... (full context)
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After Henry and Catherine make love in Henry's hotel room, Henry lies awake and thinks about how... (full context)
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In the morning, Henry doesn't read the newspaper while they eat breakfast. He promises to tell Catherine about his... (full context)
Chapter 35
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While Catherine goes to visit Helen Ferguson, Henry reads the papers and learns that the Austrian advance is continuing. (full context)
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Henry then invites Emilio to go fishing. They have no luck and end up drinking vermouth... (full context)
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That night, Henry plays billiards with Count Greffi, a 94-year-old former diplomat whom Henry had befriended on an... (full context)
Chapter 36
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Emilio wakes Henry in the middle of that night and tells him that the military police have found... (full context)
Chapter 37
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Henry rows through the night in the choppy, storm-tossed lake. Though sore, he is desperate to... (full context)
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Henry and Catherine are elated when they step ashore in Switzerland. Immediately, they go to eat... (full context)
Chapter 38
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Henry still wants to get married. Catherine is less interested in marriage, but agrees to marry... (full context)
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As Christmas approaches, Catherine asks Henry if he is restless. He does sometimes think of Rinaldi, the priest, and the war,... (full context)
Chapter 39
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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,... (full context)
Chapter 40
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March and spring arrive, and Henry and Catherine move to the town of Lausanne to get closer to the hospital. Henry... (full context)
Chapter 41
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One night, at three in the morning, Catherine goes into labor. Henry takes her to the hospital, as she talks in a jovial way about the pain... (full context)
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When Henry returns from breakfast, Catherine has been brought to the delivery room and is strapped to... (full context)
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Henry goes to dinner and reads in the paper about some success on the British front.... (full context)
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The doctor wants to take Henry back to his hotel, but he refuses. Instead he goes in to say goodbye to... (full context)