Study Guide

A Farewell to Arms Chapter 2

By Ernest Hemingway

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Chapter 2

  • The year after the one described in chapter one, many "victories" occur. In August, the narrator and undefined others move to a beautiful town called Gorizia, which is across the river from where the narrator lived before.
  • The narrator notes ironically that the Austrians have only bombed the town a little, so they can come back and enjoy it when the war is over.
  • Even though there has been fighting, the town is still livable, with restaurants, hospitals and houses of prostitution ("one for soldiers and one for officers"). The narrator notes the contrast between the signs of war and the natural beauty of the landscape.
  • There used to be an oak forest in the mountains. It is now destroyed by the war.
  • Our narrator and a friend are in one of the houses of prostitution, watching the snow and drinking. He thinks that the mountains above the river will be occupied by troops the following year.
  • When the narrator’s friend sees the priest walk by the house of prostitution, he gets the priest’s attention through the window and invites him in, but the priest refuses.
  • Later that night in the mess hall, after eating spaghetti and while drinking, the captain teases the priest, who is embarrassed. The captain says he saw the priest with women, and then makes a joke suggesting the priest masturbates on a nightly basis and/or sleeps with five women at a time.
  • The major and the lieutenant announce their atheism. The narrator tells them that he thinks there won’t be any more offensive battles this year, due to the snow. The major agrees, and suggests the narrator should take a leave of duty to travel.
  • The men recommend various Italian places he should visit. The priest suggests Abruzzi, near his family, and wishes he could go back there.
  • The captain starts to tease the priest again, making his masturbation joke even clearer.
  • The men again suggest places for the narrator to visit. The priest stresses Abruzzi. Then, the captains says they should get back to the house of prostitution before it’s too late at night, and the narrator and the priest tell each other "good-night."

A Farewell to Arms Chapter 2 Study Group

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