Skip to main content

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway: Home

About the Novel

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

The novel was first published in 1929.

A Farewell to Arms is considered a great novel of World War I. It is a complex novel dealing with the struggles of a war-torn young man called Frederic Henry. Though it is not autobiographical, there are a few details from Hemingway’s personal life that crept into the novel. For instance, Lieutenant Henry is with an ambulance unit, serving in the Italian Army, just as Hemingway did. He also falls in love with an English nurse when he is recuperating in a hospital, which is also what happened to Hemmingway. Apart from these factual details, however, others in the novel are entirely different from those in Hemingway’s life.

The novel deals with the two major themes of love and war, which are carefully interwoven with each other. In fact, the title itself suggests these two themes, with a pun on the word “Arms.” The hero, Henry, bids farewell to “Arms,” as in weapons, and also, when Catherine dies, to the loving “arms” of a human being.


The Structure of the Novel

A Note on the Structure of the Novel   

This novel is divided into five books, each having eight to twelve chapters. In this respect, the novel resembles a drama, which generally has five acts, further divided into scenes. Each book reveals a carefully controlled action and finely detailed love, for war and love are the two major themes discussed in this novel. When one theme emerges into the foreground, the other recedes into the background, but  the sequence of action runs parallel in both the themes, so the reader gets the feeling of having read a single major theme rather than two.

Book I has war in the foreground; Henry meets Catherine and participates in the battle, during which he is grievously wounded.

Book II has love in the foreground, for the wounded Henry is sent to a hospital, where he meets Catherine again and their love develops.

Book III also has war in the foreground; Henry recovers from his wound, returns to war, is caught up in a retreat, and deserts his post, a serious military offense.

Book IV has love in the foreground as Henry seeks Catherine, who is pregnant with his child.

Book V also has love in the foreground, though war looms ominously in the background, as can be seen when the lovers escape to a neutral territory, Switzerland, where Catherine dies of excessive internal hemorrhaging after a Cesarean operation.

It is also quite interesting to note the flow of action as the two themes of love and war develop. In the war, Henry goes through six stages: (1) a distant and casual participation, (2) a rather serious action (3) a knee-wound, (4) being sent to a hospital to recover, (5) going back to war and getting caught in a retreat, and (6)  deserting his military post. Likewise, Catherine goes through six stages: (1) an inconsequential flirtation (2) genuine love (3) her pregnancy, (4) her stay with Henry in a Villa in Switzerland, (5) arriving at a hospital for delivery, and (6)  having the C-section, which results in her death.

By the time the novel reaches its end, the two themes merge and the grimness of war is conveyed in no uncertain terms to the reader.

The novel contains a first person narrator. Love and war are seen through his eyes. Being told in this manner allows the reader to more easily understand him and sympathize with him when the situation arises.


Professor Dethloff gave your class a project that includes two assignments.

  1. Historical Analysis

This is a group presentation where you will explore and present on an aspect of the Great War (How WWI changed the rules of War or How WWI changed men and women). This is to help you "gain a background understanding for the novel."

      2.    Literary Analysis

You will write a literary analysis research paper on Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.

Both parts of this project require you to conduct research. Review your assignments to understand your parameters. This will guide you in your research:

  • What types of information will you need?
  • What is the minimum number of resources that you can use?
  • Can you use the same resources in both assignments?

Keep a working bibliography of the sources you find as you conduct your research-keep all the bibliographic information in one place, like a Word document. This will help you when you create your Works Cited at the end of your presentation and paper.

Contact your instructor for clarifications about these assignments.

Library Information

Email, call, chat, or visit us at the Reference Desk with any and all of you information needs. We're happy to help you!


LSC-Kingwood Library Fall hours are:

Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m

Please note that IDs, checkout, computer use, and printing services will end fifteen minutes before the library closes.

20000 Kingwood Drive, Kingwood, TX  77339-3801

ID | Printing | Study Rooms | Library Classification System | Request a book from another LSC-Library | How many items? | Fines

1. Why do I need a library card or ID? And How do I get one?

Your LSCS ID serves as your library card and gives you easy access to the library's online resources from off-campus, the Fitness Center on-campus and may help you obtain student discounts from community stores and shops that offer one. For off-campus access to eBooks, articles, and streaming video from the library's databases, use the 14-digit barcode number on the back. You will also use your student ID to add cash to your Print Account so you can copy and print in the library.

Go to the circulation desk of any Lone Star College library. You will need a photo ID and you will need to be registered as a student. Of course, we also provide IDs to faculty and staff!

If you're an online only student, complete the form at Make sure you use your LoneStar email address, and the library circulation staff will send you a barcode number to access the library's online resources!

2. How do I print or copy in the library?

You will need to set up a Print Account  and then add money to it:

  1. Signing in to any print release station to set up your print account.
  2. Adding funds:
    • Use your LSCS ID (issued since June of 2015) to add  exact cash at an Add Value station. (Need a new ID? see #1).
    • OR, go to MyPrintCenter and select the Add Funds link to add a minimum of $5 using your debit or credit card or PayPal account. Note: PayPal funds may take a little longer to show up in your account. You will find a link to MyPrintCenter under the Quicklinks in your MyLoneStar portal.
    • Still have a print card from the old system? Ask a librarian to transfer any left-over funds to your new Print Account!

3. Does the library have group or individual study rooms?

LSC-Kingwood Library does not have rooms that can be reserved; instead, we've set up group study areas at the front of the library and quiet study areas at the back of the library. Sound does travel in our library, so if your group needs to be more active or you just want to socialize, try other spaces around campus - the PAC and Student Conference Center (SCC) are good places to start.

4. What classification system does the Lone Star-Kingwood Library use?

In order to find books and other materials in a library, we have to have a way to organize it all to make it easy for you to find. Librarians manage large collections by giving each item an identifier. Think of it like the book's license plate number. We use databases called the catalog to search for these items. Once you have chosen which item you want, you need to find on the page the book's call number. This is the license plate or classification number. This is how you will be able to find it on the shelf.

The Lone Star Libraries use the Library of Congress classification system. It was created in the twentieth century to help organize the world's largest collection of material that is housed in Washington D.C. It is alpha-numeric, which means that it uses letters and numbers to help organize all the information into twenty-one broad subject categories. You will find that most academic libraries use this classification system. The great thing about having books well organized is that you'll be able to find more material on the shelves around the book that you went to find.

Public libraries and school libraries tend to use the Dewey Decimal system, which only has ten subject classes that simply uses numbers.

5. What is the procedure for requesting a book held at another library?

In the library's online catalog, you can search for books and other material at all the LSC-Libraries, Harris County, and Montgomery County libraries. Once you find an item that Kingwood does not have, you can request the item by clicking on the Place Hold button on the right-hand side of the screen. A pop-up window will appear and will ask you for your Library Card number and Pin.

  • Your library card number is the 14 digit number above the long barcode on the back of your student ID (the top set of numbers).
  • Your pin is the last 4 digits of the phone number that you provided when you got your student ID. If you have forgotten it, you may call the Circulation team to see if they can remind you of the number or reset it (281-312-1693). 

6. How many items can I check out of the Library at one time?

Below are your borrowing privileges: 

Item Loan Period Number of Times you may Renew Fines
Circulating Book 2 weeks x 2  $0.25/day
Circulating Videos 2 weeks x 1 $0.25/day
Reserve Items 2 HOURS permission required $0.50/HOUR

7. What happens if I have unpaid fines?

If an checked out item is overdue, your check out privileges are suspended. You will have a hold on your academic record until the overdue material are returned and fines are cleared.

If the item is damaged ,lost, or stolen, you will be charged the cost of replacing it.



Check with the Learning Center to find out where and when tutoring for writing, math, and other subjects are available throughout the summer.


© 2015 LSC-Kingwood Library | Ask Us: | Reference: 281.312.1693 | Circulation: 281.312.1691 | 20000 Kingwood Drive, Kingwood, TX 77339