A Farewell To Arms


Key Quotes

1. “‘Oh, darling,’ she said. ‘You will be good to me, won’t you?’

What the hell, I thought. I stroked her hair and patted her shoulder. She was crying.

‘You will, won’t you?’ She looked up at me. ‘Because we’re going to have a strange life.’”

In this passage from Chapter 5, Catherine and Henry have just had their first kiss but have only known one another for a couple of days. Clearly, Henry is still rather detached and cold, going through the motions of comforting her although he does not feel really connected to Catherine yet. Catherine, however, demonstrates a greater perceptiveness and wisdom. Although on the surface she seems to be having an irrational reaction to being kissed, her intuitive sense that she and Henry are destined for some sort of future together is quite true. Her powerful intuitive sense often takes the form of subtle foreshadowing, as when she shares her (ultimately correct) premonition about seeing herself dead in the rain. This passage demonstrates that Catherine is a romantic, in the sense that she moves quickly toward being in love. At the same time, she is a perceptive realist, knowing that in the context in which she and Henry find themselves, they are inevitably destined for a “strange life.”

2. “I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could...

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