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A Farewell to Arms | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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A Farewell to Arms | Book 1, Chapter 2 | Summary



A year passes without much change. The troops moves to Gorizia, an Italian city that has been preserved during the wartime bombing. Henry and a comrade visit a local whorehouse. At dinner that night, many of the officers tease their troops' priest and discuss where Henry should travel on leave. The priest requests that Henry visit his hometown in the mountains, a request the other soldiers find uproarious. The men continue to tease the priest before retiring to the whorehouse for the evening.


In this chapter the reader sees that the officers' day-to-day routine is somewhat dull and inglorious. The soldiers embrace life's base pleasures, such as alcohol and sex, to distract them from the war. Another form of entertainment is teasing their priest for never having been with a woman, for the plainness of his hometown, and for his religious dedication. Notably, Henry does not take part in this mockery. While he does partake in the debauchery of his comrades, he is not as crass as his friends, and he and the priest share a mutual respect. Thus Hemingway introduces a motif of religion from the very beginning of the novel.

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