Illustration of a man in a uniform

A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

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Chapter 6 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 482

Lieutenant Henry has been visiting the military posts along the front for two days. Since it is late when he returns to Gorizia, he does not visit Catherine Barkley until the next evening. He does not find her in the garden, so he asks the orderly to call her down. While he waits, Henry looks around the elaborate villa. The marble busts remind him of a cemetery. He is uncomfortable in his chair because of the pistol he is required to wear. He has tried firing it, but he has found that it has a powerful kick back that prevents him from actually hitting anything. He is content to carry it simply to fulfill the law.

When Miss Barkley comes down, Henry suggests that they go out into the garden, ostensibly because it is cooler but in actuality because it is more private. Miss Barkley chides him for not sending her a note that he would be gone so long. After they kiss, Miss Barkley repeatedly asks him if he loves her. She wants to verify that he had previously said that he loved her, which he says he did though he is lying. She affirms her love for him, stating that it has been awful in his absence. She begs him not to go away again. He kisses her again, thinking that she must be a little crazy. He realizes that he does not really love her and that he has no intention of ever loving her. It is all a game played in wartime.

The two of them sit on the bench. Catherine will only let him hold her hand now. She admits that it is all a game and that she knows he does not really love her, though she loves him. She has asked him to call her Catherine instead of Miss Barkley, but she admits that it is funny that he never says it the same way twice. She pronounces him a “very good boy.” Henry states that this is exactly what the priest said.

Catherine makes Lieutenant Henry promise that he will come to see her again. He does not have to say that he loves her. She is over that necessity now. Henry tries to kiss her again, but she refuses on the basis that she is too tired. He is insistent, so they kiss and she leaves. As Henry leaves, he notices the flashes of artillery up in the mountains. He stops by the Villa Rossa (a brothel). He sees that there is a lot of action going on inside, but he does not go in. As he gets dressed for bed, Rinaldi comes in and notices that he is puzzled. He says that he has been at the Villa Rossa, finding it “edifying.” He is glad he did not become “involved with the British” since he notices how bothered Henry seems to be.

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