When Henry first meets Catherine, she is carrying the riding crop that belonged to her fiancé, who was killed in the Battle of the Somme. The war represents Catherine's inability to let her fiancé go. His sudden unfair death in war informs her view, shared with Henry, that the world is a cruel place that eventually crushes and kills people who have real courage.
Riding Crop Symbol Timeline in A Farewell to Arms
The timeline below shows where the symbol Riding Crop appears in A Farewell to Arms. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...Henry begin flirting as soon as they're introduced. At one point, Henry comments on the riding crop Catherine carries. She tells him that it belonged to the man she was engaged to,... (full context)