Summary and Analysis
Book One: Chapter X
Rinaldi visits Lieutenant Henry in the field hospital, reporting that the battle was won by the Italians. Rinaldi also says he will send Catherine Barkley to visit.
This chapter dramatizes Lieutenant Henry's physical discomfort, post-wound, as well as emphasizing the warm friendship he shares with Rinaldi. Typically, the Hemingway hero is a modest man as well as a stoic. Here, despite prodding from Rinaldi ("You must have done something heroic either before or after."), Henry keeps mum about his genuinely admirable effort to save Passini.
Stylistically, Chapter X consists almost entirely of dialogue, and "untagged" dialogue at that. (That is, it lacks "he said" for the most part.) This is a technique that Hemingway developed in earlier short stories, especially "Hills Like White Elephants" from the 1927 collection Men Without Women. Notice that even when Hemingway does attribute dialogue, he does so as simply as possible, with "said" or "asked" rather than elaborate synonyms of these words.
Medaglia d'argento (Italian) silver medal.
coup de main a surprise attack or movement, as in war.
The Lancet medical journal.
get excited become sexually aroused.
dago (slang) a person, often dark-skinned, of Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian descent: a term of hostility and contempt.
wop (slang) an Italian or a person of Italian descent: an offensive term of hostility and contempt.