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A Farewell to Arms
by Ernest Hemingway
Catherine Barkley Timeline and Summary
Catherine, a V.A.D. nurse, meets Frederic, an American who is driving ambulances for the Red Cross, in Gorizia, Italy. She falls in love with him. After he’s wounded at the front and transported to Milan, she follows him there. She has a hot and heavy relationship with him, and takes care of the wounded soldiers coming into the hospital. She tells Frederic she’s three months pregnant, and they plan to vacation together during his three month leave. Catherine goes with Frederic to a hotel before he has to catch the midnight train. We only see her in Frederic’s dreams and fantasies until he deserts the army and finds her in Stresa, Italy. She flees with Frederic by rowboat in the night to Switzerland, upon a warning of his impending arrest for desertion. They have a beautiful time in Switzerland until she goes into labor. She has an awful and painful labor, and the baby dies sometime during or after her Caesarean operation. She dies of multiple hemorrhages shortly thereafter.