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A Farewell to Arms | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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A Farewell to Arms | Quotes


Like bridge you had to pretend you were playing ... for some stakes. Nobody had mentioned what the stakes were.

Henry, Book 1, Chapter 6

Henry acknowledges that his new romance with Catherine is little more than a game. They are using each other as a distraction from the war. At the end of the novel, however, Henry will realize that Catherine had become far more than a distraction to him.


I knew I would not be killed. Not in this war. It did not have anything to do with me.

Henry, Book 1, Chapter 7

Even though he's been an ambulance driver on the front, Henry doesn't believe the war has anything to do with him. It hasn't touched him personally yet, so he remains emotionally detached.


It doesn't finish. There is no finish to a war. ... War is not won by victory. ... One side must stop fighting. Why don't we stop fighting?

Passini, Book 1, Chapter 9

Passini reveals his despair and his disillusionment with the war, an emotion Henry will also soon feel. At the end of this chapter, Passini dies in a war he does not support.


You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.

Rinaldi, Book 1, Chapter 10

Rinaldi's words illustrate Hemingway's views of a perfect man: brave, strong, and stoic. Regardless of the physical and emotional pain characters feel, Hemingway honors their silence.


I'll do what you want and say what you want and then I'll be a great success, won't I?

Catherine, Book 2, Chapter 16

Catherine reveals her desperation to be the perfect woman. She is terrified of being left alone and will do anything to maintain the fantasy of her relationship.


You're my religion. You're all I've got.

Catherine, Book 2, Chapter 18

For Catherine and Henry, there is no God; there is only love, which provides a fleeting shelter from life's pain and the inevitability of death.


The pistol felt heavy on the belt.

Henry, Book 2, Chapter 23

This reminds the reader that Henry is not invested in the war and does not believe in its efforts. The thought of having to kill someone, even though he eventually does, weighs heavily on him, but his ideas of masculinity prevent him from expressing his emotions.


I never felt like a whore before.

Catherine, Book 2, Chapter 23

This is one of the only moments in the novel when Catherine lets her guard down and realizes the reality of her situation. She is in a cheap hotel with a man she is pretending to love.


Tomorrow maybe we drink rainwater.

Aymo, Book 3, Chapter 27

Aymo encourages the soldiers to drink the stolen wine now, embracing happiness where it can be found, because there is no guarantee of tomorrow. Today the soldiers have wine, but tomorrow they may have to rely upon rain to provide for their needs. Because rain is a symbol of doom, Aymo's words create a sense of foreboding.


I had made a separate peace.

Henry, Book 4, Chapter 34

Leaving his obligation to the war behind, Henry deserts. He creates a fantasy world in his romance with Catherine and in his escape from the war. Outside forces cannot touch him, and he is at peace.


It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.

Henry, Book 4, Chapter 34

This is the core of the novel's message. Life is cruel and has no purpose. Therefore people should grab happiness wherever it can be found.


The war seemed as far away as the football games of someone else's college.

Henry, Book 5, Chapter 38

Henry has so distanced himself from the war in his "separate peace" that he can view it as entertainment.


It's just a dirty trick.

Catherine, Book 5, Chapter 41

These are Catherine's final words, delivered on her deathbed. She reminds the reader that life is up to chance, played like a game, and reiterates her obsession with appearances and fantasy.

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