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Free Study Guide-A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway-Book Notes
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CHAPTER 39

Summary

By the middle of January, Henry had grown the beard, and winter had settled into bright cold days and hard cold nights. The road was clear now but snow lay over all the country, down almost at Montreux . The mountains on the other side of the lake were white and the Rhone plain was covered. Henry and Catherine took long walks on the other side of the mountain to the Bains d’Alliez. They were happy that they lived in a country where nothing made any difference. Then, she asked him how much money they had. Henry said he had enough because his family back in America had honored his request for money. He had left his family because he had quarreled with them. She said that his beard looked stiff and fierce, yet pleasant and soft. She did not want to have her hair cut until after the birth of the baby when she would became so lovely that he would again fall in love with her. Henry asked her if she wanted to ruin him; she agreed and he said that he wanted it too.


Notes

This chapter is a continuation of the previous one, insofar as the life of the lovers is concerned. The baby is not yet born. Except for the narrow hips that could make delivery difficult, everything is all right with Catherine. She in anxious to keep Henry happy and pleased. The degree to which she sacrifices herself for her husband without a similar action of Henry’s part is what makes the depiction of Catherine misogynistic and offensive.

There is a marked change in Henry’s attitude too. As time passes, he deliberately turns his back on the world and revels in the company of Catherine, but stops short of self-sacrifice.

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