A Farewell to Arms
How we cite our quotes:
"Did you do any heroic act?"
"No […]. I was blown up while we were eating cheese." (10.3-4)
It’s doubtful that Frederic ever sees anything he’s done as an act of bravery. He’s not just being humble.
"I hope some will come. […] They will unless there are more patients." (16.34)
Catherine sounds like a coward here, wishing for the pain of others to further her own pleasure. But since she knows that more patients are inevitable, the statement is also brave as it exposes her to Frederic ’s possible disapproval. Especially because he knows she became a nurse in the first place in large part because she hoped her fiancé would somehow be lightly wounded and sent to where she was stationed. Like all of us, Catherine is an odd mix of courage and cowardice.
"I’m afraid of the rain because I sometimes see me dead in it. […] And sometimes I see you dead in it." (19.137-138)
When we know how truly scared Catherine is, it makes her seem even more courageous.