A Farewell To Arms: Chapter 16 - Summary and Analysis

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CHAPTER 16

SUMMARY

Alone at Night
      That night Catherine spent with Henry though at intervals, she went out to see if everybody was asleep and to make sure that nobody would suddenly enter the room. Henry’s temperature was normal.
Catherine said, she would prepare him for the operation the next morning and that she would not allow anybody else to touch him. And she assures him that Dr. Valentini would restore the use of his knee. Then she begins to talk about love and ask him how many other girls he had loved and how many he had stayed with. Henry says he has never loved and never stayed with anyone before. Then she wants to know when a prostitute tells a man how much it will cost, if she tells him that she loves him and vice-versa. Henry says he doesn’t know because he had never stayed with any. Catherine says ‘that’s right’. You are mine, you doesn’t belong to anyone else. She also says, she would do anything he wanted so that he would never want another girl again.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Complete Self Surrender
      This chapter is a further study of the theme of love. It is clearly evident that Catherine has fallen deeply in love with Henry. All her conversation is centred on Henry’s physical condition and her love for him. She casually probes into his past love affairs but Henry calmly denies ever having known a girl or having stayed with any. Her inquisitiveness is natural and womanly and shows her caring attitude. Also her love for Henry is clear from the way she surrenders herself completely to him. She is pleased when he lies to her, denying any post love affairs. And promises to do anything he wants, so that he will never want another and when she says “there isn’t any me anymore. Just what you want.” We realize her surrender is extreme and complete. Her love is honest and sincere also. His lies can be construed either way. That he wants to protect her from the unpleasant feeling of being one in a long line of girls or just to gain her confidence. He is not emotional like her and simply reacts with “darling”, “sweet”, “you are lovely” etc. His love is more physical and he keeps insisting” “come to the bed again”.

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