A summary of the book
Published in 1929 and set in 1916-1918 during the First World War, the story is revolved around Henry Frederick. An ambulance driver for the Red Cross. Later in the novel he is introduced to 2 British nurses: Catherine Barkley and Helen Ferguson. After talking to Catherine about the war and her fiancé, it is then later revealed that he was killed in the wars several years ago.
On his second visit to the British hospital they kiss and makes a pact together to drop all discussion about the war foreshadowing the theme “love and pain” throughout the novel.
As henry is shipped into war though, during the night he and his fellow ambulance drivers settling into a trench across the river from the enemy or the Austrian soldiers. While the drivers are eating though they were unexpectedly attacked killing one of henry’s men and injuring henry’s leg in the process. Soon after this He is transported by train to an American hospital in Milan.
Seeking the help of Dr Valentini, who offered to operate on him immediately. After the operation Henry then learns that Catherine has been transferred to this hospital and is able to spend the time he has, under her care while in the hospital. Their love becoming more genuine over the time spent together, their love for one another intensifies, as they spend more time with each other. Being sent back to the front lines though, it is here where Catherine revealed she was pregnant as, Henry took the train, unaware of the next time they would see each other. (Which also foreshadows the dangerous events to come)
Returning to a losing war watching as Italy loses their man power daily, he is forced to retreat with the other drivers picking up 2 engineering sergeants on the way, and they soon get the truck stuck in mud. Henry then instructs the 2 engineers to help them free the vehicle, but after they refuse he continues to shoot and ultimately kills one of them, killing someone for the first time, Henry was faced with the option to escape with his life or stay with the truck (evidently encouraging the theme of courage).
After returning to Catherine, discovering late at night that he would be arrested as a deserter the next morning, the both of them plan to escape to Switzerland. Travelling in a small boat they reach Switzerland, they move into a cabin on a mountain and spend some time there. Going to the hospital soon later he witnesses the birth of his son but is eventually crushed finding out that both Catherine and the baby died during the process, he walks back to where they had stayed the night through the rain contemplating his future ahead of him.
Language used in the novel
Written as a recount of events the language in the novel is used quite intelligently, using condensed subtle phrases Hemmingway uses strong senses of imagery in his sentences. As well as this writing the story from a narrative point of view, narrating most of the story from a first person perspective but occasionally switching to second person to reflect on the ideas expressed in the novel. Hemmingway’s writing style being quite simple and straightforward his ideas being mainly expressed through his characters he focuses more on transmitting emotion to the reader and focusing on creating more ‘realistic’ characters for the novel. Also using dialogue excellently throughout the novel he is able to create a sense of genuininity between the characters as they interact with one another, the dialogue being able to reflect and portray their