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A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Priest every night five against one." (2.14)

The captain has made an extremely condensed statement. The metaphor is played out long over the course of their conversation, leaving no doubt that the captain is both suggesting that the priest five fingers are battling his penis, but also suggests that the priest is a fraud and has five girls at once. When we think of the priest as a receiver of confessions, it takes on a deeper significance. The captain suggests that the priest’s hand and the priest’s penis are engaged in the battle of confession of sexual desire.

Quote #2

"Let’s drop the war."

"There’s no place to drop it."

"Let’s drop it anyway." (5.43-45)

We think this early exchange says much about why Catherine and Frederic get along so well. They are on the same wavelength. On the surface, it’s playful banter, but it expresses their respective and shared feelings about the war. There is a debate going on, and a give and take of information as they test the waters.

Quote #3

The drops fell very slowly, as they fall from an icicle after the sun has gone. (9.186)

This passage gives us the chills because it creates an image which is both beautiful and terrible. On the one hand, we have an image of an icicle dripping in the night, and we also picture a pretty sunset, since he talks about the sun going "down." And, we picture what Frederic can’t see, but can only imagine. A man bleeding to death. We see the red blood against the white ambulance sheet. Very condensed communication.

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