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A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway

Summary and Analysis Book Two: Chapter XXIV

Summary

Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley say goodbye at the Milan train station. Henry has paid a soldier to save him a seat on the train, but to avoid trouble, he gives his seat to a captain. The train departs for the front.

Analysis

The last chapter in Book Two is short and remarkably unsentimental, considering that it marks the end of Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley's idyll — and, for all we know, the end of their affair, as Henry is returning to the front. Hemingway resists the urge to milk melodrama from the lovers' goodbye, and this is consistent with the characters themselves and their stoic behavior up to this point. Notice that it continues to rain as they bid one another farewell. In fact, Catherine's last act in this part of the novel is to signal to Henry that he should step in out of the rain.

Glossary

Brescia commune in Lombardy, north Italy, at the foot of the Alps.