A Farewell to Arms focuses on a romance between Henry and a British nurse, Catherine Barkley, against the backdrop of World War I, cynical soldiers, fighting and the displacement of populations. The publication of this, Hemingway's bleakest novel, cemented his stature as a modern American writer, became his first best-seller, and is described by biographer Michael Reynolds as "the premier American war novel from that debacle [World War I]".
The novel was first adapted to film in 1932, with further versions in the following decades.
The novel is divided into five books. In the first book, Rinaldi introduces Henry to Catherine Barkley; Henry attempts to seduce her, and their relationship begins. While on the Italian front, Henry is wounded in the knee by a mortar shell and sent to a hospital in Milan. The second book shows the growth of Henry and Catherine's relationship as they spend time together in Milan over the summer. Henry falls in love with Catherine and, by the time he is healed, Catherine is three months pregnant. In the third book, Henry returns to his unit, but not long afterwards the Austrians break through the Italian lines in the Battle of Caporetto, and the Italians retreat. Henry kills an engineering sergeant for insubordination. After falling behind and catching up again, Henry is taken to a place by the "battle police", where officers are being interrogated and executed for the "treachery" that supposedly led to the Italian defeat. However, after seeing and hearing that everyone interrogated is killed, Henry escapes by jumping... [continues]
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