In this article, we will summarize one of the most famous novels by Ernest Hemingway, and that isA farewell to Arms book. The book was written in 1928 and was published in 1929. It is a war novel written from the first-person point of view. Moreover, the movie has been adapted three times.
Favorite Quote From A Farewell To Arms Book:
“When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.”
Note: The sub-headings we have added in the paragraphs are not in the book; it is just to make the summary more understandable.
The War Begins
Frederic Henry is the main protagonist of this novel; he is an American citizen studying architecture in Italy. World War First begins when he studies architecture in Italy, and Frederic decides to join Italian forces as a medical volunteer. Frederic Henry was not serious about war; he just wanted to experience and enjoy the battle.
Frederic frequently used to go to the brothel, and he was a philanderer and took every woman only as time pass. He has established physical relationships with many girls in his life.
The winter season arrived in Italy, and the war was temporarily halted because of the winter. As the war is halted so, Frederic Henry also gets a leave. He spent his vacation in Milan and Rome, and he was living a life full of debauchery; his nights were spent in clubs and brothels.
The war starts back as the winter season ends, and Frederic Henry has to go back too. On his return, he meets a British nurse named Katherine Barkley. She is a nurse at a British hospital, and last year her fiance died in the war. Because of this incident, she is very depressed and wants to forget his fiance so that she can come out of depression.
Now Frederick and Katherine become good friends, and they both get into a physical relationship. Anyway, Frederick is used to getting into physical relationships with different types of girls. This is a normal thing for Frederick and Katherine is able to forget her sorrow from this thing.
Off to Milan
After some time, Frederick Henry gets a chance to participate in his first major war. Frederick and some ambulance drivers were eating macaroni and cheese during the war, and suddenly a mortar came and fell on their bunker. The ambulance driver dies in the same spot, and Frederick’s leg gets deeply injured.
Frederick is sent to Milan for treatment, where he meets Dr. Valentini, who tells him that his leg is heavily damaged and that it will take about six months of bed rest to recover. But Frederick refuses to take six months of bed rest, then Doctor Valentini agrees to his point and performs surgery on his leg at the time.
In the meantime, Catherine is also transferred to the same hospital in which Frederick Henry is being treated; Frederick Henry is pleased as soon as he knows about this. Frederick and Katherine meet again and spend quality time; they fall in love with each other.
Rejoining The Army
The Italian force gave Frederick 3 weeks off so that his leg could recover and during this leg gradually recovered. Meanwhile, Catherine also gets pregnant. Also, as Patrick’s time to rejoin the army draws near, he gets jaundice and is re-admitted to the hospital.
This time, he was getting treated by Miss Van Campen, and she scolded him because he had jaundice because of his drinking too much. She also accuses Fredrick of drinking too much because you get sick and don’t have to rejoin the army. Miss van Campen was the hospital superintendent, and she also ended Frederick’s remaining holidays. Frederick has to rejoin the army as soon as he recovers.
On his return, Frederick and Catherine promise each other that they will be together forever. When Frederick returns to battle, the Italian force is in bad shape. Italy was about to lose the war to Germany.
While Frederick saves his team of drivers in battle, he encounters two engineers and two frightened Italian girls. While rescuing these people, Frederick Henry’s vehicle gets stuck in the mud, and Frederick tells the two engineers to get off and push the vehicle, but the two engineers refuse to help. Henry gets very angry, and he shoots one of the two engineers. Their vehicle gets completely stuck in the mud, so they get out of the vehicle and start walking. They see a farmhouse nearby, and they hide there.
The next day the Italian forces arrived there who, in their madness, were killing their own soldiers, who retreat from the front. Henry jumped into the river to save his life and somehow came out of the river and boarded the train to Milan. Upon reaching there, Henry decided that he would no longer fight for the Italian army, even he would not take part in any war.
Expectations From Life
Henry gets to know that Catherine is in an Italian town, Stresa, which is closer to the Swiss border. Then he came to know that the military police were searching for him because of his fugitive act. So Henry took Catherine and fled to Switzerland.
There he got a tourist pass and also got a visa to stay. They both lived in a tranquil town and lived a very comfortable life; as we mentioned, Katherine was pregnant, so they were waiting for their baby to be born.
When Catherine’s stomach started stirring, she was taken to the hospital, but Catherine’s condition was getting worse and more complicated with time. Doctors decided to perform an operation, but the baby was stillborn. After some time, Katherine also passed away due to excessive bleeding.
Earlier, Henry thought that life would be beautiful with Catherine and their child, but his dreams are now shattered. And in the last scene, Henry is seen walking towards the hotel drenched in the rain, and with this, the novel ends.
That’s it with the “A Farewell To Arms Summary,” and if you liked the content and our effort, then don’t forget to share this with your reader friend. If you have any suggestions, do let us know by commenting below.
Sourabh Sharma is a hobbyist book reader, Entrepreneur, and a literature student at Delhi University. A blog writer by day and a book reader by night, he is oathed to discuss himself in a third person but can be persuaded to do so from time to time.