A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Analysis of Part 9 (Chapters 33 - 37)

Away from the war, the meaningless values of "glory" and "honor" are absent and personal values of loyalty and friendship take their place. The porter, Simmons, and Emelio all reject Henry's offers of money, saying that they are helping him out of friendship. Other men, such as the proprietor of the wine-shop in Milan, are willing to help him simply because he has deserted the war. It is clear that most civilians are sick of the war, and are doing anything they can to help those who have deserted. Indeed, the only people who look down upon Henry is the pair of aviators because he is a young man dressed in civilian clothes. But Henry ignores them; he has changed, and does not care about what they think or that the "proper" thing to do is to be a soldier.

Miss Ferguson, unfortunately, has not let go of social conventions. She is upset that Catherine and Henry aren't married, and at one point accuses Catherine, saying "You have no shame and no honor." However, this is exactly it-Catherine does not have proper shame because she does not believe in general notions of morality, likewise with honor. Ferguson, however, ultimately decides that her loyalty to her friends is a higher value than public conventions, pronouncing that "I'm so upset. I'm not reasonable. I know it. I want you both to be happy."

Count Greffi, on the other hand, is completely initiated. He has no religion: "I had always expected to become devout. All my family died very devout. But somehow it does not come." He understands that love is its own religion: "Do not forget that [love] is a religious feeling." He is also cynical with respect to the war. Above all, though, Count Greffi is a very old man satisfied with life. He represents the kind of inner satisfaction which can be obtained by those who have settled their accounts with life.

Catherine's death is again foreshadowed in this section, when Henry soliloquizes in the darkened hotel room. "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." Henry has already been broken, and is strong and satisfied because of it. Catherine, however, is too good to break, and Henry understands this well just as he finally understands life.

A tidy bit of symbolism concludes Book Four of the novel, as Henry and Catherine fight through the tossing sea in an open boat. It is very likely that the episode alludes to Stephen Crane's short piece, "The Open Boat" (1897), in which four men are caught at sea and largely defeated by the indifference of nature to their plight. Here, as well, there "was quite a sea running," and though the wind helps Henry and Catherine along some, it also rips the umbrella-sail. Henry notes at one point that "I could see Catherine in the stern but I could not see the water where the blades of the oars dipped." Essentially, Henry is ignoring the world-Catherine is his religion now.