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Theme Of Rain In A Farewell To Arms

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A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway provides a stark contrast between realistic and romanticized views of war through the dramatic change in tone shown through rain that takes place as the novel progresses. From Henry’s time spent with Catherine in their lovers bubble, to him shooting sergeants who attempt desertion, the development of the characters portrays their growing wariness with the war. Hemingway uses rain as a recurring symbol of death throughout the novel that connects the changes in tone from love to death. The dread of both love and loss is a looming cloud over all the characters’ happiness. The symbol of rain is first introduced as Henry describes the scenery around him, already portraying the death and despair that follows its mention throughout the novel.
“At the start of the winter came the permanent rain and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army.” (Hemingway 4)
This is the first instance in the novel of rain as a symbol of death. In particular, the use of the word ‘permanent’ serves as a foreshadowing of the seemingly never ending deaths that happen at every turn. Despite moments of happiness, there is the permanent threat of death which waits in the shadows as the characters pursue love and hope in an attempt to outrun the inevitable. This passage shows from the start, the characters never stood a chance of having a happy ending when surrounded by a permanent rain.
The first
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