A Farewell To Arms: Chapter 38 - Summary and Analysis

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BOOK V
CHAPTER 38

SUMMARY

Life in the Mountains
      That fall the snow came very late. Henry and Catherine lived in a brown wooden house in the mountains. The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Guttingen, were very nice people who took a great deal of interest in them and looked after then well. In front of the house where they live the mountain went down steeply to the little plain along the lake. They used to sit in the porch in the sun and looked at the winding of the road and the terraced vineyard, the vines now dead and the houses of the town on the narrow plain along the lake shore. They also took walks on the roads, in the woods, when the sun was bright they had lunch in the porch, but the rest of the time they ate upstairs in a small room. They spent their time reading books or magazines or playing cards games.

Mr. and Mrs. Guttingen
      Mr. and Mrs. Guttingen lived downstairs. They were also a very happy couple. Mr. Guttingen had retired as a head waiter and Mrs. Guttingen had worked as a maid in the same hotel. They had saved their money to buy the collages. They also had a son who was studying to be a head waiter in a Zurich Hotel. They sold wine and bear in their parlour. The war seemed far away but Henry learnt that fighting was still going on in the mountains because the snow had not come yet.

Visit to Montreux
      Sometimes they walked down the mountains into Montreux. They did not know anyone there. Usually Catherine went to get her have done at a cafe run by a cheerful woman and who was the only person they knew. Henry spent his time drinking beer and reading the papers. Everything was going very badly everywhere.

Marriage
As they go back they begin to calk about their yet unborn child. And Catherine says if they really have the child they should get married. Henry feels they should get married right away but Catherine declines saying that she would not get married in her splendid matronly state implying her heavily pregnant self. And anyway she was good wife.

Narrow Hips
      Catherine is not worried about marriage. She wants beer because the doctor had told her that her hips were narrow’ and beer would keep the baby small which was for the best. She has a wonderful blood-pressure. Catherine says that if she marries Henry she shall be an American and anytime they are married under American law the child is legitimate.

Snow
      Snow did not come until three days before Christmas. One morning they woke to find it snowing. It was a big snowstorm. Later they go out for a walk but they are unable to go very far. It was a big storm. Tomorrow there will be skiing Mr. Guttingen informs them. Henry doesn’t know how to ski but wants to learn. Mr. Guttingen tells him that his son shall teach him.

Happiness in One Another
      Catherine wants to know if Henry would like to go on a trip by himself or be with men and ski. But Henry doesn’t want to see other people and neither does Catherine. But she is having a baby so its different for her. Then she suggests Henry to grow a beard. It might be fun and Henry instantly agrees to start growing one. Then she is worried that he may be boxed with her as she was so big now. But Henry replies “Oh Cat. You don’t know how crazy I am about you”. Henry said he was restless sometimes because he sometimes wondered about the front and about Rinaldi, the priest and people he knew. But he doesn’t want to think about war. Catherine wants Henry to cut his hair so that she can cut hers and look alike. She wants them to be all mixed up. And she says “I don’t’ live at all when I am not with you” and to this Henry replies “I’m no good when you’re not there. I haven’t any life at all anymore”.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

A life of Utter Bliss
      This chapter is wholly devoted to describing the beautifully blissful life that Henry and Catherine have in their cottage in the mountains. Far away from the war with nothing to disturb them or distract them, their happiness is perfect. Their life consist of taking walks in the woods or in the snow. Going down to Montreux once in a while, playing chess or cards. Watching the winding road and the terraced vineyard and reading books, magazines as the paper etc. In this chapter all doubts are put to rest whether they truly love one another or not. It is as if they have merged into one. So much so that Catherine wants them to even look alike. Even Henry feels, that they are the same. Their love has blossomed into a pure and deep love.

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