A Farewell To Arms


Discussion Questions

Study Questions

1. Weather often functions as a symbol in A Farewell to Arms. Find specific examples of weather symbols in the novel. What are they? How do rain and snow function as symbols? Compare and contrast them.

2. Besides Catherine, Henry has close relationships with two other characters: Rinaldi and the priest. What are some of the differences between these two men? What does Henry’s friendship with each of them suggest about Henry’s own personality?

3. Throughout A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway includes several instances of foreshadowing. Select four quotations from the novel which you think represent foreshadowing, and explain why you think so.

Essay Topics

1. Catherine and Henry initially “play” at being in love, but in time they actually do fall in love. In your opinion, is their transition from flirtation to true love convincing? Why or why not? Using specific examples from the novel, write an essay defending your opinion.

2. Critics have often asserted that Catherine is a one-dimensional character or a stereotype. In your opinion, is this a valid claim? Why or why not? Citing specific examples from the text, write an essay defending your opinion.

3. Hemingway is well-known for his “iceberg theory” of writing fiction, which has had a radical effect upon American literature since. According to Hemingway, “If a writer… knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”

Using examples from the text, write an essay explaining how the writing in A Farewell to Arms demonstrates this theory.

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