A Farewell to Arms A Farewell to Arms question


57 views
The Rain
Bethany Bethany Jan 30, 2015 12:02PM
In chapter XIX of A Farewell to Arms Fredric Henry and Catherine Barkley have a discussion as to why she is afraid of the rain. He insists that she tells him why it is that she is afraid of the rain and she finally submits:

"All right. I'm afraid of the rain because sometimes I see me dead in it."
"No."
"And sometimes I see you dead in it."

It is at this point in which it can be deduced that the rain has become a representative for death in Catherine's mind. As the chapter concludes Catherine is found saying:

"It's all nonsense. It's only nonsense. I'm not afraid of the rain. Oh, oh, God, I wish I wasn't." She was crying. I comforted her and she stopped crying. But outside it kept raining.

What I took out most from these chapter concluding lines is a remark about death and war. Despite the calm that overcame Catherine and the fact that her tears were eased away (and through this "banishment" of tears as were- momentarily- her fears of death) death was still occurring. Just because they were not a part of it or thinking about it did not mean that the war ceased and that people ceased to die. Just as lack of tears did not mean that the rain would stop. The fear and death are still there.

Now I have not finished the novel completely, nor have I read up on it, but I am simply thinking through some of the dialogue I have encountered that struck me. I would very much welcome other comments and interpretations of this scene or this themes if anyone would like to share. (Thus the opening of this discussion. :) )



I've read some pretty in-depth analysis that makes a big deal out of rain as a symbol in this novel, so - congratulations, you're in good company. :)


back to top