Study Guide

A Farewell to Arms Chapter 27

By Ernest Hemingway

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Chapter 27

  • Rinaldi returns in the night, but they do not make conversation, and Frederic leaves before he wakes up.
  • With Feduzzi behind the wheel, Frederic gets reoriented to the layout and surveys the extensive damage to the land and houses. They visits posts, and Frederic is briefed on the state of the war. He talks a lot with Gino, and Frederic tells him why he doesn’t believe in war in the mountains.
  • Gino talks about food, and says there isn’t enough of it for the soldiers. He believes a war is won or lost with food.
  • Frederic says that it helps you lose a war, but not win one.
  • Then Gino says the big battle this summer "could not have been done in vain."
  • Frederic thinks of the words that he is "embarrassed by." The words "in vain," when used together are two of them. [The actual passage is one of the most famous in the novel, so be sure to check it out.]
  • Gino leaves with Peduzzi, and Frederic stays at the front.
  • The weather is stormy. There isn’t too much battle activity. It gets very windy in the night. At 3am, they are attacked by Croatian fighters, and there are many wounded.
  • Two ambulances are loaded with wounded men, and it’s snowing and windy.
  • At dawn, it is still storming. The snow has stopped, but it’s raining.
  • There were more attacks in the night, though none as bad as the first.
  • They are ordered to retreat, then to stay and do what they can for the wounded.
  • Frederic asks the captain if the wounded men are evacuated in a retreat. The captain tells him that, in a retreat, they take as many wounded as will fit, and "leave the rest."
  • The retreat starts the following night.
  • The work of evacuating the wounded from the posts lasts a night and a day. It is raining steadily in October as the soldiers retreat from the front.
  • Back in Gorizia, they are evacuating the women and girls from the "soldiers’ whorehouse," including two crying girls, and one who smiles and makes tongue gestures at the men.
  • Aymo says he’d like to go on the truck with the prostitute. Rinaldi and the major are gone to aid the retreat, but have left Frederic instructions to load the equipment and then go to Pordenone.
  • They talk about doing maintenance on the vehicles, and then load them with the equipment.
  • Aymo wants to sleep, and they plan to sleep for three hours, and then start again.
  • Some of the men go to bed, and Frederic goes to the kitchen to look for Aymo, who has started a fire and makes some pasta for the men.
  • Frederic sleeps, and they eat the pasta that Aymo had cooked and drink some wine. Aymo tells them that he has a bottle for each of them to take along.
  • Frederic plans for Aymo to ride with him, but Piani is very tired and wants to ride with Frederic to Pordenone.

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