• Year Published: 1929.
  • Pages: 355.

A Farewell to Arms Summary of Chapters

Chapter 1 to 5

The novel begins describing artillery troops moving through the rains of autumn. Frederic Henry, an ambulance driver is among those men. Henry is an American who joined Italian troops at the front during World War I.

During the war, Henry returns after winter and departs in early spring. His roommate, Rinaldi, persuades Henry to visit a nearby hospital to meet a British nurse, Catherine. Henry found her tempting and later came back to meet her.

Chapter 6 to 15

Henry begins to regularly visit Catherine but they soon realize that their relationship is empty of love and they both decided to part their ways.

Henry is sent back to fulfill his duty at the front. He and his fellow ambulance drivers take shelter in a dugout and waited for the attack to begin. Suddenly, the mortar shell bombs the dugout and both of Henry’s legs received severe wounds while his friend, Passini, dies. Rinaldi visits Henry at the hospital first and then comes the priest. Rinaldi makes some jokes and tells Henry that Italians will grant him a medal. The priest talks seriously about the bad and inevitable outcomes of the war.

Later, Henry is transported to an American hospital in Milan. Because of having too much staff, Catherine is sent out there as well.

Henry arrives at the Hospital early, even before the doctor arrives. The operation continues but later they found out that surgery is required to remove the deeply penetrated piece of metal. Henry declines to wait 6 months for the surgery to proceed. Another surgeon, Dr.Valentini arrives and states that Henry can be operated the next day morning. The operation proceeds successfully.

Chapter 16 to 25

Catherine visits Henry and he expresses his love for her. Later on, Catherine does the night shifts and they spend them together.

It is summer season now and Henry is recovering gradually. Henry meets an officer named Ettore Moretti while returning from the checkup. He also wants to have medals and get promoted just like Henry.

One day Henry and Catherine decide to watch horse races. They select a random horse to bet on but they end up losing.

At the end of summer, Henry receives a letter from army asking him to return 3 weeks after he is discharged. Catherine also decides to plot a way to escape the hospital.

Henry demands 2 more weeks of leave as he developed jaundice but Miss Van Campen finds empty bottles of alcohol in the cupboard and uses them as an evidence to report Henry and he loses his leave. After that Henry boards the train to reach the Italian front.

The situation is worse at the front and Rinaldi tells Henry that he is unable to perform the duty because of indulging in sex and alcohol.

Chapter 26 to 35

The priest loses hope for victory but thinks the war will end soon. Henry disagrees and thinks that the war will go on as the Austrians are winning. Next day of his return, Henry drives the ambulance on the Bainsizza. The fight turns severe and some days later they are told to retreat. The enemies break through the lines at north.

As in charge of the group of ambulance drivers, Henry has to deliver the hospital tools into Udine. However, the group is unable to move because of the chaos during the retreat. Henry decides to lead the group by moving on the side road.

The ambulances get trapped in the mud near Udine. While marching on foot, they find Germans on the road leading to Udine so now they retreat to the south.

At last, the group finds other retreating troops. There, Henry is mistaken as a German in Italian uniform by the battle police. He survives by diving into the river and an hour later, he reaches the shore. He catches the train and hides under the canvas. He later jumps from the train in Milan and realizes that Catherine departed to Stresa. Henry visits his old friend, Simmons for having civilian clothes. Later, he catches the train for Stresa.

Chapter 36 to 41

Henry finds Catherine at a hotel in Stresa and lives there for few days. One night, He is warned by the hotel barman that the police is plotting to arrest him the next day. Emilio, the hotel barman, lends them a boat to escape to Switzerland.

The couple arrives in Switzerland prior to the dawn. After breakfast, they are arrested but are later sent to Locarno to get visas because they have essential passports with them.

They began to live in the mountains of Switzerland enjoying the domestic life and Henry is far away from the war. Then Catherine got pregnant.

They decide to go to a nearby town which has a hospital. After being in labor for hours, Catherine demands a gas. However, the baby still does not come and the doctor decides to perform a C-Section.

Strangled by its cord, the baby is found dead and Catherine passes away soon after giving birth. Deeply hurt, Henry walks back to his hotel.

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