A Farewell to Arms Discussion Questions

Hemingway refers to rain and snow many times in the course of the novel. With each mention, the weather conditions take on a clear and unique symbolism. The symbols are contrasting: while rain symbolizes death and tragedy, snow symbolizes hope and life. At the beginning, a plaque of cholera breaks out because of the rain and causes death and destruction to the troops on the Italian front. Post that, the war ceases for a brief period of time during the onset of winter and the heavy snows. While the Italians are retreating along with Henry, it rains heavily. Throughout the retreat, troops are killed. In Switzerland, Henry and Catherine find hope in the snow-capped mountains. Catherine mentions to Henry that she sometimes dreams of both of them dead in the rain. At the end of the novel, when Catherine dies and Henry comes to know of their stillborn child, he walks out of the hospital in the rain.

 
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