A Farewell To Arms Study Guide

Important Quotes

The following quotes are relevant to theme and character development. Page numbers refer to the Scribner Paperback edition, (© 1929).:

Quote Page
Major: "All thinking men are atheists." 8
"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, and the strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring. . . . I tried to tell about the night and the difference between the night and the day and how the night was better unless the day was very clean and cold and I could not tell it; as I cannot tell it now. But if you have had it you know. He had not had it but he understand that I had really wanted to go to the Abruzzi but had not gone and we were still friends, with many tastes alike, but with the difference between us. He had always known what I did not know and what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget. But I did not know that then, although I learned it later." 13- -14
"Evidently it did not matter whether I was there or not." 16
Catherine: "I didn't know about anything then. I thought it would be worse for him. I thought perhaps he couldn't stand it and then of course he was killed and that was the end of it."
Henry: "I don't know."
Catherine: "Oh, yes," she said. "That's the end of it"
19
"I did not care what I was getting into. . . . I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards. Like bridge you had to pretend you were playing for money or playing for some stakes. Nobody had mentioned what the stakes were." 31
"Well, I knew I would not be killed. Not in this war. It did not have anything to do with me." 37
Passini: "It doesn't finish. There is no finish to war. . . . War is not won by victory. . . . One side must stop fighting. Why don't we stop fighting?" 50- -51
Henry: "I was blown up while we were eating cheese." 63
Priest: "What you tell me about in the nights. That is not love. That is only passion and lust. When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve." 63
Priest: "You cannot know about [happiness] unless you have it" 72
Catherine: "I want what you want. There isn't any me any more. Just what you want." 106
Ferguson: "You'll never get married. . . . You'll fight before you'll marry. . . . Fight or die. That's what people do. They don't marry." 108
Catherine: "There's no way to be married except by church or state. We are married privately. You see, darling, it would mean everything to me if I had any religion. But I haven't any religion. . . . You're my religion. You're all I've got." 115- -116
"Perhaps wars weren't won anymore. Maybe they went on forever." 118
Catherine: "I can keep you safe. I know I can. But nobody can help themselves." 126
"He said we were all cooked but we were all right as long as we did not know it. We were all cooked. The thing was not to recognize it. The last country to realize they were cooked would win the war." 133- -134
"There was a great contrast between [the British major's] world pessimism and personal cheeriness." 134
Catherine: "Life isn't hard to manage when you've nothing to lose." 137
Henry: "You always feel trapped biologically" 139
Catherine: "The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he's intelligent. He simply doesn't mention them." 140
Rinaldi: "I never think. No, by God, I don't think; I operate." 167
Rinaldi: : "You can't do it. You can't do it. I say you can't do it. You're dry and you're empty and there's nothing else. There's nothing else I tell you. Not a damned thing. I know, when I stop working." 174
Henry: "It is only in defeat that we become Christian." 178
Henry: Henry: "[Many of the soldiers] were beaten to start with. They were beaten when they took them from their farms and put them in the army. That is why the peasant has wisdom, because he is defeated from the start. Put him in power and see how wise he is." 179
"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." 185
"The killing came suddenly and unreasonably." 218
"You did not love the floor of a flat-car nor guns with canvas jackets and the smell of vaselined metal or a canvas that rain leaked through . . . but you loved some one else whom now you knew was not even to be pretended there." 232
"You had lost your cars and your men as a floorwalker loses the stock of his department in a fire. There was, however, no insurance. You were out of it now. You had no more obligation. . . . Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation." 232
"We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others." 249
"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." 249
Count Greffi: "I had always expected to become devout. All my family died very devout. But somehow it does not come."
Henry: "My own comes only at night."
Count Greffi: "Then too you are in love. Do not forget that it is a religious feeling."
263
"So now they got her in the end. You never got away with anything." 320
Count Greffi: "I had always expected to become devout. All my family died very devout. But somehow it does not come."
"That was what you did. You died. You did not know what it was about. You never had any time to learn. They threw you in and told you the rules and the first time they caught you off base they killed you. Or they killed you gratuitously like Aymo. Or gave you the syphilis like Rinaldi. But they killed you in the end. You could count on that. Stay around and they would kill you."
327
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