Study Guide

A Farewell to Arms Chapter 3

By Ernest Hemingway

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Chapter 3

  • The narrator has been away, and has now returned to the warfront in the same town described in the previous chapter. It is spring, and there are more weapons in the town. He walks through the town to the same house as before.
  • He sees the major, but the major doesn’t see him, and the narrator decides to go to his room. His roommate is Rinaldi. The narrator sees that his personal belongings and his soldier paraphernalia are in the room.
  • Rinaldi is asleep, but soon wakes up and greets the narrator. He tells him to clean himself up, and asks about his trip.
  • The narrator says that it was great, and that he traveled all over Italy. Rinaldi cuts him off to ask what his favorite place was, and the narrator says that it was Milan.
  • Rinaldi assumes the narrator was with a woman there, and asks if he spent the night with her, and the narrator says yes. Rinaldi tells him that there are new girls here at the battlefront.
  • He tells him about an English woman named Miss Barkley. He says he loves her and might marry her.
  • The narrator asks if there is work being done around the place, and describes the illnesses of the soldiers that have been coming in ― mostly diseases and other sicknesses, some "self-inflicted" wounds, but few actual battle wounds, as the fighting in the area is not intense.
  • He says the war might recommence seriously in about a week.
  • The narrator starts washing, and Rinaldi says he needs his beauty sleep for Miss Barkley, borrows some money from the narrator, and then thanks him exaggeratedly.
  • In the mess hall that night, the priest is offended that the narrator didn’t go to Abruzzi as he had suggested. The priest’s family was waiting for him and had prepared for his visit.
  • The narrator explains that he’d wanted to go there, but that it was difficult and that he ended up partying and sleeping with women. He tries to explain how it feels to live that way.
  • The priest seems to understand that the narrator had really wanted to go Abruzzi, so isn’t mad.
  • Then the captain starts teasing the priest about women again. He chides the priest for his pacifism, and accuses him of wanting the Austrians to win the war.
  • The priest concedes that the Italians have to defend themselves in war. The major tells the captain to leave the priest alone.

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