A Farewell to Arms is the typical classic story that can refer to Romeo and his Juliet placed against the odds. In this novel, Romeo is Frederick Henry and Juliet is Catherine Barkley. Their love affair must survive the barrier of World War I. The background of war-torn Italy adds to the tragedy of the love story. The story starts when Frederick Henry is serving in the Italian Army.
He meets his love in the hospital after he gets injured from the mortar attack. A Farewell to Arms is one of the best American novels because of the symbolism, the exciting plot and the characteristic of the main character, Lieutenant Henry. The symbolism in A Farewell to Arms is very much apparent. For example, In the book, Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Farewell to Arms, Malcolm Cowley focuses on the symbolism of rain.
He sees rain a frequent occurrence in the book, as symbolizing disaster. He points out that, at the beginning of A Farewell to Arms, Henry talks about how “things went very badly” and how this is connected to “At the start of the winter came permanent rain”. In the book, Miss Barkley is afraid of the rain because she has a nightmare and she sees death in the rain. She says, “Sometimes I see me dead in it”, which she is referring to the rain as a death. It is raining the entire night when Miss Barkley is giving childbirth and when both she and her baby die.