Study Guide

A Farewell to Arms Chapter 41

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Chapter 41

  • Around 3am one morning, Catherine goes into labor and they take a taxi to the hospital.
  • Catherine is checked into her room, and the nurse starts taking care of her.
  • Frederic watches and Catherine tells him to go eat.
  • He finds a café, and eats bread, wine, and coffee.
  • When he gets back to the hospital, Catherine is in the delivery room.
  • He goes in and greets the doctor, who tells Frederic that things are fine, and that he’s giving Catherine gas for her pain.
  • She’s having bad pains and keeps asking for the gas. She tells Frederic to leave, but he stays. She asks the doctor to let Frederic give her the gas, and he lets Frederic do it.
  • At two in the afternoon, Frederic goes to lunch. He eats a dish of sausage, ham, and sauerkraut, and then goes back to the hospital.
  • Catherine is intoxicated from the gas, and in bad pain. She says that she was going to die, but won’t now. The doctor says she’s being foolish.
  • He asks Frederic to leave so he can examine Catherine.
  • Frederic feels awful and is afraid she will die. He thinks that will be the punishment for their love. He’s glad they have gas to give her.
  • He tries to convince himself Catherine will be OK, but thinks she will die.
  • When Frederic comes back in the doctor says they need to either do a forceps delivery or a Caesarean one. He recommends the Caesarean. Frederic agrees.
  • Catherine is in so much pain that the gas no longer works. She says she’s "broken" but happy that in an hour it will be done.
  • She asks Frederic to confirm that she won’t die, and he promises her he won’t. She says she won’t let herself.
  • Finally, another doctor comes with nurses and they anesthetize Catherine, and take her to the operating room. They show Frederic where to wait.
  • A doctor comes out holding the baby. They tell Frederic it’s a "magnificent" boy. Frederic doesn’t feel anything for the baby. The nurse asks if he’s proud of the boy.
  • Frederic tells her he isn’t because the boy almost killed Catherine. And when the nurse asks if they wanted a boy, he says they didn’t.
  • When he goes to see Catherine, he thinks she looks dead. But when he talks to the doctor, the doctor says she is OK.
  • Frederic goes in to see Catherine again. When she asks about the baby and he tells her it’s fine, the nurse tries to shush him.
  • The nurse tells Frederic to leave, because it’s not good for Catherine to talk now.
  • In the hall, the nurse tells him that the baby is dead and that they could not get the baby breathing.
  • Confused by the way the doctors and the nurse acted before, Frederic feels sorry for the baby, and wishes he had died at birth, too. Then, he changes his mind and thinks about how he once burned a log that was covered in ants.
  • After checking in on Catherine, he talks to the nurse again. She tells him Catherine is OK and suggests that he go eat, so he goes to a café and has ham, eggs, and at least six beers.
  • Trying to stay calm, he goes back to see Catherine.
  • The nurse meets him and tells him that Catherine is hemorrhaging. He goes to her and tells her that she will be OK. When he asks if she wants a priest, she says that she only wants him.
  • The doctor doesn’t want them to talk, and he sends Frederic out of the room.
  • Catherine has repeated hemorrhages and is unconscious. Frederic waits with her until she dies, and then goes out into the rain, back to his hotel. And that’s the end of the story.

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