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Farewell To Arms Essay

2574 words - 10 pages

Farewell to Arms
The symbolism in “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway is vivid and dynamic, and in the novel the rain and other factors, symbolize despair. The symbols all are presented in varying forms. The other symbolic factors include; lakes, rivers, snow, ice, mountains, plains, night, seasons, weather, Catherine’s hair, Frederic’s beard, officer stars, riding crop, the painted horse and the silhouette cutter. The symbolic concepts are; the baby, war, love, wounds, and the enemy. The different symbols have an effect on each character in the novel, in a special way. When a reader opens up the novel from the first page to the last page some of the symbols are made obvious, while some symbols are insightful.
The rain is the constant water forms such as lakes, snow, ice and rivers, in this novel and it involves each character differently. Rain symbolizes death mainly, due to every time it is mentioned, the reader knows death is coming. "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" (320). The author mentions in the beginning that when rain comes so does cholera, which is a disease that is fatal. Catherine admits to Frederic that she is afraid of the rain when she says “I am afraid of the rain because sometimes I see me dead in it.” “And sometimes I see you dead in it” (320). This is foreshadowing Catherine’s death and this is an obvious symbol. Rain seems to also symbolize emotions and death. Rain happens during the retreat in Book III. Foreshadowing his death, Aymo the driver states "We drink barbera now. Tomorrow maybe we drink rainwater" When Aymo is shot it is raining. Frederic states "He looked very dead. It was raining (320)”. This rain shows Frederic’s emotion behind Aymo’s death. Frederic got wounded and was being taken to the field hospital on a stretcher and a “rain of blood” falls on him (320). Catherine decides to reveal her pregnancy, and “It turned cold that night and the next day it was raining” (320). Frederic goes back to the front, leaving Catherine behind pregnant in Milan and it is also raining. The train ride to Stresa where Frederic meets up with Catherine it is raining. This rain symbolizes abandonment. The boat trip from Italy to Switzerland it is raining. This rain means that Frederic and Catherine are scared they will not get to the Switzerland side of the river before daybreak. Frederic will be killed for abandoning the army if they do not make it. The nurse told Frederic his baby is dead during the operation on Catherine and he looks out of the window and it is raining. Catherine dies from a hemorrhage during the cesarean section and it rains. "It seems she had one hemorrhage after another. They couldn't stop it. I went into the room and stayed with Catherine until she died. She was unconscious all the time, and it did not take her very long to die (320)”. Henry leaves...

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