How is Catherine’s hair a poignant symbol in A Farewell to Arms?
Catherine’s hair, though not a recurring symbol, is a poignant one. In the early days of their relationship, when Catherine and Henry lie in bed, she allows her hair to tumble down and lets it cascade around his head. This reminds Henry of being inside a tent or behind a waterfall, a place of bliss and safety. Thus, the hair becomes symbolic of the lovers’ isolation from the world. Even with a war waging on, the two of them manage to find a moment’s bliss, believing themselves protected by something as delicate as hair. However, when they are in Switzerland, actually away from the brutality of the war, they learn the harsh lesson that love is as fragile and ephemeral as hair when confronted with the harshness of reality, as foreshadowed when Catherine wishes to cut off her hair.