A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Analysis of Part 7 (Chapters 25 - 27)

Rinaldi is initiated-he accepts the futility of his actions, that he fixes people up only so that they can be sent back to the front to be blown up again. However, he is no hero, for that acceptance has broken him. "I never think. No, by God, I don't think; I operate," he says to Henry. When he stops working, he realizes that "You're dry and you're empty and there's nothing else," and can't stand that. The true Hemingway code hero can hold futility and necessity together, and is capable of continuing with the struggle. Rinaldi doesn't care any more, wanting simply a clean death (an "industrial accident") instead of life.

The priest is better off. He realizes the futility of the war, but retains hope that it will end-he believes the officers have realized that there are no winners in the war. When Henry argues that the Austrians will not stop the war at this point, the priest still protests that "I had hoped for something," and notes that this something is neither defeat nor victory. All that matters is that he still hopes.

Henry's statement that "It is only in defeat that we become Christian" shows a clear understanding of the way the universe works. He has come to the understanding that religion is a cheap alternative, it is a belief in something that is not there-it is for those who cannot accept the indifference of the universe and futility of existence. "Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names or rivers, the numbers of regiments and dates." Hand in hand with the discovery of the universe's indifference comes a rejection of abstract values as well as organized religion. The only worthwhile things are those that are concrete or personal.

This entire section is filled with images of rain and mud, descriptions of desolation and wreck. Like the rain, the war is out of the Italians' control and everything expected does not occur: "We expected an attack all day but it did not come until the sun was going down. . . . We expected a bombardment but it did not come."