At the end of Book II of A Farewell to Arms, what subtle implications does Hemingway incorporate to detail what took place that night in the hotel room?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter XXIII of Book II, it is the night that Frederic Henry must return to the front, so he sends the porter to reserve a seat for him on the train which will leave at midnight.  When Frederic stops in a wine shop, he notices Catherine as she passes by the shop's window; tapping on the window, Henry beckons to her. They walk together and pass a cathedral; Henry asks her if she would like to enter it, but Catherine says "no."  As they continue, Frederic and Catherine make small talk about skiing at Murren someday. Then, after Henry purchases a gun, Catherine tells him that she feels better than she did when she first saw him. Henry suggests that they go someplace, so they decide to take a room in a hotel across from the train station.

Since Catherine feels awkward going to a hotel with no luggage, she stops to purchase a nightgown. As they await their dinner being brought up, Catherine notices herself in the mirror and says, "I never felt like a whore before." Henry apologizes for the room that is decorated rather garishly with red plush furniture and curtains.  But Catherine "puts her hands to her hair" after removing her hat, and she lets her cape fall onto the bed.  These actions of Catherine and her calling Frederic, "Come over here, please," as she is smiling on the bed suggest that they will soon be together in the bed as they have been at the hospital. Henry tells her,

"You're my good girl."

"I'm certainly yours." she said.

After these lines, Hemingway's narrator Frederic Henry tells the reader that after they have eaten they feel fine and

in a little time the room felt like our own. My room at the hospital had been our own home and this room was our own home in the same way.

Clearly, certain actions have taken place in this room that replicate those of Henry's hospital room.

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A Farewell to Arms

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