Society & Culture & Entertainment Education

"A Farewell to Arms" Book Report and Summary

Title, Author & Publication

A Farewell to Arms is a semi-autobiographical novel by Ernest Hemingway. It was published by Scribner of New York in 1929.


The events of the novel occur primarily in Italy during World War I. The latter part of the novel takes place in Switzerland.

Main Characters

Frederic Henry - the protagonist of the story, Frederic is an American soldier who volunteers as an ambulance driver for the Italian army during WWI.

Catherine Barkley - a British nurse with whom Frederic falls in love.


A Farewell to Arms is the story of a disillusioned soldier who falls in love with his nurse. His love is challenged by the brutality and nonsensical violence of the war, and he must face stark truths about how war compromises human relationships.

Questions to Ponder

Consider the following while reading the novel.

1.Questions about theme:
  • Is Hemingway glorifying or criticizing war in the novel?
  • What is the true nature of the love between Catherine and Frederic?
  • What does the title suggest about the central theme of the story?

2. Questions about character:
  • How do the different male characters illustrate the conflicting ideas of the novel?
  • What does Frederic's loss at the end of the book reveal about his character?

Possible First Sentences

  • War leaves in its wake the destruction of humanity.
  • Ernest Hemingway, in A Farewell to Arms, juxtaposes two opposite kinds of passion: love and war.
  • The idea of manhood is central to the novel A Farewell to Arms.
  • In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway challenges the traditional idea of heroism.

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