A Farewell to Arms | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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A Farewell to Arms | Book 4, Chapter 35 | Summary

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Summary

An aged aristocrat whom Henry befriended the last time he stayed at the hotel invites him to play billiards with him that evening. During the afternoon Catherine visits Ferguson while Henry and Emilio go fishing. Emilio tries to engage Henry in talk of the war, but Henry is uninterested. The two pass a pleasant afternoon, and Emilio promises to lend Henry the boat whenever he would like it. That evening Henry meets Count Greffi. While they play they discuss life, death, and religion.

Analysis

Under the pretense of fishing with Emilio, Henry scopes out the area for ways to escape. In the next chapter, Henry and Catherine will flee in Emilio's boat to neutral Switzerland, a fact that is set up in this chapter. Henry is uncharacteristically open with Count Greffi during their billiards game, suggesting that Henry respects and appreciates the old man who acts as a father figure to him. Their conversation shows how much Henry's spirituality has grown. During his conversation with the priest in earlier chapters, Henry simply says that he hopes to find religion one day. In this conversation Henry admits that, like Catherine, love has become his religion. When Count Greffi asks Henry to pray for him when he is dead, Henry replies that "I might become very devout" and that his religious feeling "comes only at night." Count Geffi catches his drift immediately and responds, "Then too you are in love. Do not forget that is a religious feeling."

When Henry says good-bye to Catherine before going to play billiards, the two share a strange exchange. Henry lays bare his soul by saying, "My life used to be full of everything. ... Now if you aren't with me I haven't a thing in the world." He has fallen headlong into love with Catherine, but she seems unwilling or unable to accept his love: "Don't think about me when I'm not here," she says. Despite everything they have been through, she still only wants their love to inhabit the imagined space they have created.

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