Rain as a Symbol

Topics: A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway, Feeling Pages: 2 (691 words) Published: April 10, 2006
In Ernest Hemingway's novel, A Farewell to Arms, rain is used to symbolize and represent, principally, war, death, and love. After establishing the significance of rain in the first chapter, the reader instantly takes note. At the mention of rain in other scenes, the reader is wrought with strong feelings, usually of war, death, or love. Throughout the novel, Hemingway places rain in with many of the most important scenes, which the reader then connects by means of relating one scene to another, by the similarity of the presence of rain.

One of the primary associated feelings with rain is war and disease. The first time that rain is mentioned regarding war and disease is at the end of the first chapter, after Frederic gives a brief description of what the war is like. In the closing sentence of the first chapter, Frederic says "At the start of the winter came the permanent rain and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army"(Hemingway, 4). Instantly, feelings or sadness, death, decay, and war are presented, and are portrayed with rain present. Hemingway again uses rain in context with war when he describes the scene in which Frederic is temporarily paralyzed. In this scene, the first battle described, "you could hear the smaller noise of the brick and dirt raining down"(52). By associating rain with war and disease, Hemingway is able to present the association of rain with much more dreadful things, such as cholera, a terrible disease, and the way a battle scene appears.

The symbol rain is also used in representing and associating with death. Catherine's fear of the rain is revealed in one of the novel's most important scenes. The mood is already set when its stated that "Outside the rain was falling steadily"(126). A dark mood is set and Catherine states "I'm afraid of the rain because sometimes I see me dead in it" then later states "And sometimes I see you dead in it"(126). Although Frederic...
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