A Farewell To Arms: Chapter 37 - Summary and Analysis

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Rowing All Night
      Henry rowed in the dark. He kept rowing as easily as he could. He knew his hands would blister and he wanted to delay it for as long as possible. They passed Pallanza in the dark. The weather was quite rough. Then they were across the lake. Catherine was worried about Ferguson coming and missing them. And Henry was worried about getting into Switzerland before daylight. Henry was worried about getting lost and kept close to the shore.

Catherine Offers to Row
      Henry is very tired after rowing all night. His arms, shoulders and back ached and his hands were sore. They try to go by the wind holding an umbrella open at the bow. But it buckles in the wind. Later Catherine offers to row. As she rowed Henry rested. He ate a couple of sandwiches and had a drink of brandy. Henry is worried that Catherine might hurt herself but she says “life might be simpler” if the ear hit her tummy.

      Henry and Catherine had rowed into the Swiss portion of the lake by early morning. It was a nice-looking town, named Brissago. A fine November rain was falling but it looked cheerful and clean even with the rain. They landed and went for breakfast. Henry feels that they shall be arrested soon but Catherine tells him not to worry as they were British and American citizens in good standing.

Arrested after Breakfast
      After breakfast, they were arrested. The Swiss police took them to the customs house to be interrogated. When asked why they had entered Switzerland by boat. Henry says that he is a sportsman and wanted to avail himself of the chance to grow. He also tells them that they were there for the winter sports. Further, he explains that he had been a student of architecture in Italy while his companion had been studying art. They decided to confiscate the boat and send them to Locarno for further questioning but their manner became haughty on seeing the amount of money that Henry and Catherine had.

Sent to Locarno
      They are taken to Locarno under police escort. But there they did not have a bad time either. The police questioned them politely is deference to their money and the fact that they had their passports. The police did not believe Henry’s story but they were not too particular about technicalities and formalities. Henry and Catherine were told that they were free to go anywhere in Switzerland but they had to report to the police wherever they were.

Decide to Head to Montreux
      Catherine says that she wants to go to Montreux when they are told that they can go wherever they wish. Then they come away from the police station, they take a carriage for the Hotel Metropole. Henry loses all the exhilaration and feels tired and groggy. His hands are also blistered raw. Catherine consoles him.


      As Catherine and Henry enter Switzerland, the suspense built up in the last chapter now ends, and we have a sigh of relief. The reader at this point begins to hope that better times shall come for this couple and that the story is heading towards a happy end.

      As usual, minor details flood the chapter lending to the realistic effect. For example, in the scene where they have breakfast, we are told exactly what items they want, rolls, jam, coffee, fried eggs, and so on.

The Officers
      Another aspect that lends to the humor of the chapter and thereby relief from the suspense is the dispute that arises between the two officers as to where Henry and Catherine should go. They have an argument trying to promote the places of their choice to Henry and Catherine to whom it hardly matters where they go.

The Rain
      For the first time, the rain is described as cheerful rain.

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