Summary and Analysis
Book Two: Chapter XIV
A strangely hostile barber shaves Lieutenant Henry. Afterward, Henry discovers that the barber thought he was Austrian rather than American. Catherine Barkley arrives. She and Henry declare their love for one another and have sex in the hospital bed.
The barber scene provides comic relief, but it also reiterates the theme of alienation; Lieutenant Henry is not recognized as an ally by the very Italians in whose army he serves.
When Henry and Catherine Barkley reunite, he declares his love for her, which might merely be his means of seducing her. But he tells us as well: "When I saw her I was in love with her. Everything turned over inside of me." And, at chapter's end, "God knows I had not wanted to fall in love with her. I had not wanted to fall in love with anyone. But God knows I had . . . "
For Henry, his affair with Catherine is no longer a game, and it is significant that this transformation follows his wounding in battle. The experience has matured Henry, elevating him to a level of wisdom closer to that of Catherine. Recall the way in which Hemingway implicitly connected love and war in Chapter IV by showing Henry and Rinaldi sharing a drink before their visit with the nurses, just as the soldiers drink before going into combat. Now combat has prepared Henry for love.
lira the basic monetary unit of Italy.
signorino (Italian) young master.