Rain as a Symbol in Farewell to Arms

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Ben Schumacher
English II Honors
Mr. Destefano
A Farewell to Arms
Walking through the rain on a chilly night doesn’t exactly bring fond memories to the mind of many people. Hemingway wasn’t just using the weather in A Farewell to Arms just to add effect to his settings, it actually meant something to the book. Rain expresses deep reality, and depression of the story-book scenes to bring the characters back down to Earth, and sets a vision for the future of the plot by giving grim ideas about the fate of the characters in the novel.

Rain seems virtually never ending when it comes to the story of Frederic Henry. It appears often in novel and destroys anything joyous or beautiful. Many times it would come without any warning and turn the happiness of Frederic and Catherine into a flash flood of depression, ruining any momentary pleasures the two experience. Before leaving, Frederic noticed that during the operation there was a slight chance of the sun peeking through the clouds for a ray of hope. But shortly after, the nurse told him the news where he explained he could see nothing but the rain and darkness through the light of the window, which led to his conclusion of misery. “After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.” (Hemingway, 332) Right after both Catherine and his child died, he was heartbroken and sulked home in the rain expressing his depth of despair at the end of the novel. In addition, it clearly shows that Frederic and Hemingway believe rain is a symbol of death from this excerpt, “…and in the fall when the rains came the leaves all fell from the chestnut trees and the branches were bare and the trunks black with rain.” (Hemingway, 4) As a result, Hemingway uses rain as a way to symbolize the anguish of Frederic and Catherine throughout the book, which leaves them with nothing but each other to hold onto.

Rain also frequently referred to the foreshadowing of death or depression in the...
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