Study Guide

A Farewell to Arms Drugs and Alcohol

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Drugs and Alcohol

Chapter 2

[…] you pulled the neck of the flask down with the forefinger and the wine, clear, red, tannic and lovely, poured out into the glass held with the same hand." (2.8)

This is quite a contrast to all the bad wine the soldiers drink later on in the novel.

Chapter 8

I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly, I had gotten somewhat drunk and had nearly forgotten to come but when I could not see her there I was feeling lonely and hollow. (8.89)

The wine both magnifies and interferes with Frederic’s desire to see Catherine.

Chapter 10

"I won’t kiss you if you don’t want. I’ll send your English girl. Good-by, baby. The cognac is under the bed." (10.73)

Gosh, that Rinaldi is flirty. And he knows the way to Frederic’s heart – booze under the bed!

Chapter 11

"This is mosquito netting. This is a bottle of vermouth. You like vermouth? These are the English papers." (11.12)

Everybody brings Frederic presents and booze! The priest doesn’t seem flirty like Rinaldi, but he too wants to please Frederic and knows just what to bring him. The culture of alcohol is intense.

Chapter 16

"Will you have a drink, Dr. Valentini?"

"A drink? Certainly. I will have ten drinks. Where are they?" (16.76-77)

The doctors that Frederic doesn’t like refuse his offer for drinks. Does Dr. Valentini’s willingness to drink contribute to Frederic’s trust in him?

Chapter 22

"I suppose you can’t be blamed for not wanting to go back to the front. But I should think you would try something more intelligent than producing jaundice with alcoholism." (22.18)

Miss Van Campen is the voice of reason. As Frederic points out, her claim sounds rather ridiculous. It’s unlikely that Frederic thought, "I’ll drink until I totally screw up my liver." She’s also mocking the actual soldiers who intentionally wound themselves to stay out of the war. Ironically, she’s reacting that way because she thinks Frederic is mocking the men who are fighting, by lying in bed drinking while other men are fighting.

Chapter 23

"Wine is a grand thing. It makes you forget all the bad." (23.175)

This is a slightly ironic statement considering that A Farewell to Arms is a memory of bad things that happened to Frederic.

Chapter 27

"I have a bottle apiece to take in the cars," Aymo said. (27.115)

Another example of drinking on the job. Maybe this is why Frederic likes Aymo so much.

Chapter 41

"They’ve got to give me something. Oh please, doctor, give me enough to do some good!" (41.174)

This is the only time we see drugs in the novel. Catherine’s intense pain is palpable and turns the tension level up high for both Frederic and the reader.

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