A Farewell to Arms takes place in Italy during World War I, and the lives of all the characters are marked by the war. Most of the characters, from Henry and Catherine down to the soldiers and shop owners whom Henry meets, are humanists who echo Hemingway's view that war is a senseless waste of life. The few characters that support the war are presented as zealots to be either feared, as in the case of the military police, or pitied, such as the young Italian patriot Gino. To Henry, the war is, at first, a necessary evil from which he distracts himself through drinking and sex. By the end of the novel, his experiences of the war have convinced him that it is a fundamentally unjust atrocity, which he seeks to escape at all costs with Catherine.
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The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of War appears in each chapter of A Farewell to Arms. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Below you will find the important quotes in A Farewell to Arms related to the theme of War.
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.
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.
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.
Chapter 18 Quotes
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.
Chapter 29 Quotes
Chapter 30 Quotes