Quick note: MAJOR spoilers ahead, early viewers beware! You have been warned!
In chapter 34, when Frederic and Catherine are staying at the hotel together, Frederic remarks to himself:
“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
Do you think that we could see this quote as a possible allusion to/foreshadowing of Catherine’s soon-to-be fate? Was death in a “special hurry” to meet Catherine, as she is regarded as being among the ranks of “the very good and the very gentle and the very brave” by Frederic? Why or why not?
We have spoken fairly in-depth about our views on the symbolism of rain and water throughout this story. The theme quite actually does not stop until the very end of the last chapter where it is forced to do so upon the closing of the last sentence. The last line of chapter 41 reads as follows:
“After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.”
In the context of Frederic leaving the hospital after the deaths of both Catherine and their son, and taking into consideration some of the ways in which we suppose the rain is meant to reflect his emotional state, do you view the rain he walks out into to act more as a cleansing force for him or as a sign of his despair? Or, do you see it as being of other significance? In any instance, why?
As the second appendix of the novel states, Hemingway wrote 47 different endings to A Farewell to Arms. Although some are more complete than others, each one offers a different take on the end direction of the novel. At the canonical conclusion of Frederic Henry’s story as we know it, do you feel that the ending lived up to your expectations? Additionally, do you feel as if Hemingway should have gone with one of his several other endings for Frederic’s story instead? If so, which one(s) do you find to be a more suitable ending? Do you feel that your chosen alternative ending(s) would do the story better justice? How?