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A Farewell To Arms Essay

598 words - 3 pages

15 September 2015
Symbol of Rain in A Farewell to Arms
In A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Hemingway expresses the struggle of letting go through the theme of rain. It seems as if whenever there is the slightest bit of hope for Catherine and Henry’s relationship, it is destroyed by a disaster. In several instances, including the trip to Milan and Henry’s walk back to the hotel, rain haunts the characters and predicts misfortune. Throughout A Farewell to Arms, rain tends to destroy any happiness felt between Catherine and Henry, as it foreshadows tragedy to come.
One night, while Catherine and Henry are enjoying their time together in Milan, Catherine confesses that she is frightened by the rain. Catherine asks Henry if he will always love her, even in the rain, because she feels that it is “hard on loving” (Hemingway 104). Because she ...view middle of the document...

When Henry chooses to walk back to the hotel alone in the rain, rather than being escorted by the doctor, he is showing the utter loneliness and emptiness in his heart that no one can cure. Rain represents the aftermath and grief that builds up after a death, which needs to be released. Hemingway describes it as if the clouds are cluttered with feelings of sadness and despair that need to be let out in the form of rain.
Rather than simply telling “how the weather was,” Hemingway depicts rain as a symbol of relief of anguish. When Catherine passes away, the rain represents the sadness that has built up throughout Henry and Catherine’s lives being released; it is as if the rain provides a new beginning for Henry to start a new, happy life. In many instances, Hemingway describes rain as an end to the uncertainty. For example, Catherine becomes uncertain if Henry will still love her in the rain. By the end of the novel, Henry still loves her endlessly, but her death puts an end the building up of skepticism buried deep in their relationship. Catherine’s quirks and fears are what hold her back from a full commitment to Henry. Her fear of rain is a symbol of her resisting to letting go of the sadness built up inside her from her past. Catherine continues to struggle dealing with the death of her fiancé and the way that rain can wash that all away frightens her.
Hemingway’s use of rain to symbolize such an irrational fear shows that holding something in is far worse than letting go. Catherine allows her pain from her past to reappear and haunt her on a daily basis. Her decision to let her sadness build up foreshadows her tragic death. Rain symbolizes the idea of letting go that Catherine fears throughout A Farewell to Arms.

Works Cited
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner Classics, 1997. Print.

Works Consulted
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner Classics, 1997. Print.

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