A Farewell to Arms | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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Course Hero, "A Farewell to Arms Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed December 11, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/A-Farewell-to-Arms/.

A Farewell to Arms | Book 1, Chapter 10 | Summary

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Summary

Rinaldi visits Henry in the hospital, arriving flamboyantly with a bottle of scotch. Rinaldi talks incessantly, announcing that he is going to have Henry decorated for valor on the battlefield. Henry resists the idea of earning medals, saying he did nothing heroic. Rinaldi promises to bring Catherine to visit Henry, and then he leaves.

Analysis

This chapter provides a grim view of wartime hospitals. Soldiers use makeshift swatters to keep swarming flies at bay and mineral water to keep their wounds clean. Rinaldi visits, giving the reader an intimate view of the friendship between the two soldiers. Typically Hemingway honors the strong masculinity that Henry embodies, drinking heavily, sleeping with women, and rolling unemotionally with life's punches. On the surface Rinaldi is a foppish, self-absorbed, flamboyant character, yet he maintains a strong affection for Henry. He calls him "baby" throughout the novel and frequently kisses him. Despite Henry's tough-guy exterior, he allows and even welcomes this affection. Their relationship provides readers with a glimpse of the complex bonds formed in battle and the male closeness Hemingway admired. Henry continues the tradition of stoic masculinity by refusing to acknowledge any heroics on the battlefield. He does not believe himself worthy of recognition despite Rinaldi's insistence of decoration.

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