A Farewell To Arms: Chapter 9 - Summary and Analysis

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CHAPTER 9

SUMMARY

In the Dug-outs
      At the front Henry talks to a Major and he says that if the offensive proved successful, then he would see to it that Henry received a medal. Henry hopes the offensive would go well, Henry, asks for a big dugout for his drivers. The major sends him to a dug-out with a soldier which his drivers find to be very good and they are quite pleased. The major offers Henry a drink and they have a friendly drink together. It was getting dark, and the offensive was to be launched after a little while.

Food in the Midst of Shells
      In the dugout the drivers were having a good time but they want food so Henry goes back to the Major and he arranges for a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. Henry and a companion takes the food. Along the way they even have to flatten themselves on the ground as a shell burst quite nearby. But they reached the dug-out without any mishap.

In the Dug-out
      Henry and his driver dig in into the food passing the basin around. Suddenly a heavy shell burst quite close and they found themselves almost buried under the debris. Henry heard somebody screaming. He also heard the sound of machine guns and rifles firing across the river and all along the river. Shells were now bursting near the dug-out one after another. Henry again heard somebody screaming, and turning around, found that it was Passini, one of his drivers. He was badly wounded and died in a few moments.

War Casualties
      Henry and his driver were trapped. They were eventually rescued but all were wounded and Henry badly so. They were taken to the dressing station where doctors were attending to the wounded soldiers. A medical surgeon bandaged Henry’s legs. He had been hit in the legs. Henry’s drivers were now, not fit to drive. A member of the British ambulance team, which had arrived there, offered to take charge of Henry’s ambulances and drive them back to base. When the doctor examined Henry he found that besides his leg wounds, he had also suffered a fracture of the skull. The doctor asked him what it was that hit him. A trench mortar shell, Henry replied. Henry is driven back to the hospital but on the way another soldier with him in the ambulance soldier above him on the ambulance dies of a hemorrhage.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Conservence of War
      This chapter deals entirely with war. The drivers express their disgust and also their anger at the big man at the top who were the only one who profited from a war. They hate the war and says “there is nothing is worse than war”. There is no end to the war and people cannot do anything to stop the war and they go crazy. Their talk about how the peasants and other poor people are forced to go to war by the authorities which reveals the brutality and cruelty of war. They are shot, sisters and mothers are raped, they take their property. From a war only the class that controls a country profits for the rest it means death and despair. The horrors of war is realized by the death of Passini and the serious wounds suffered by the rest.

Realistic Approach
      This chapter is a realistic study of the war. The chapter is a series of vivid descriptions of the various details of war. The gruesomeness, the brutality and horror that characterizes a war is brought out in tiny episodes. The major offering a medal to Henry if the offensive is successful points to the underhand means employed by those in the higher strata in the army. Henry providing food to his drivers in the midst deprives the war of vainglory and the conversation between the man in the dugout, and then the scenes of blood, wounds, wounded and death bring to the fore the grim reality that war can only lead to death and destruction.

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