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Rain as a Symbol in Farewell to Arms

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Walking through the rain on a chilly night doesn’t exactly bring fond memories to the mind of many people. Hemingway wasn’t just using the weather in A Farewell to Arms just to add effect to his settings, it actually meant something to the book. Rain expresses deep reality, and depression of the story-book scenes to bring the characters back down to Earth, and sets a vision for the future of the plot by giving grim ideas about the fate of the characters in the novel.

Rain seems virtually never ending when it comes to the story of Frederic Henry.

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It appears often in novel and destroys anything joyous or beautiful. Many times it would come without any warning and turn the happiness of Frederic and Catherine into a flash flood of depression, ruining any momentary pleasures the two experience. Before leaving, Frederic noticed that during the operation there was a slight chance of the sun peeking through the clouds for a ray of hope.

But shortly after, the nurse told him the news where he explained he could see nothing but the rain and darkness through the light of the window, which led to his conclusion of misery. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain. ” (Hemingway, 332)

Right after both Catherine and his child died, he was heartbroken and sulked home in the rain expressing his depth of despair at the end of the novel. In addition, it clearly shows that Frederic and Hemingway believe rain is a symbol of death from this excerpt, “…and in the fall when the rains came the leaves all fell from the chestnut trees and the branches were bare and the trunks black with rain. (Hemingway, 4) As a result, Hemingway uses rain as a way to symbolize the anguish of Frederic and Catherine throughout the book, which leaves them with nothing but each other to hold onto. Rain also frequently referred to the foreshadowing of death or depression in the story. Catherine says that she is “afraid” of the rain because she can see herself dead in it. And before Frederic knew it, on his trip to the hotel the fog that was covering the city turned into rain and that was Catherine’s last night with Frederic.

Secondly, on Frederic’s trip into the city to have Catherine’s baby delivered he said, “In the night it started raining. It rained all morning and turned all the snow to slush…” (Hemingway, 306) Here the rain is foreshadowing Catherine and the baby’s death at the end of novel. Lastly, the day Frederic and the Italians retreat from Caporetto, it was constantly raining throughout the day and night. One of his fellow drivers that night remarks “To-morrow maybe we drink rainwater,” which has a foreboding sense of them dying, as they do that next day (Hemingway, 237) .

In summation, rain continues to be the bringer of bad news to the plot of the novel with a sense of foreshadowing. As you can see, rain plays a prominent piece in A Farewell to Arms to tie the emotions of the scene with the actions of the characters. It creates a foreshadowing sense of death or destruction with subtle hints throughout the book, and clearly shows its link to depression and destruction with Catherine and Frederic. In conclusion, rain is not just an added touch on the story, it is a major symbol seen in almost every chapter and should not be overlooked for what it’s worth.

Cite this Rain as a Symbol in Farewell to Arms

Rain as a Symbol in Farewell to Arms. (2017, Mar 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/rain-as-a-symbol-in-farewell-to-arms/

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