A Farewell to Arms has several symbolic features in his book, for instance water and rain. When rain is mentioned something bad happens like someone dies or someone gets hurt. Every writer has his or her own style of writing. Hemingway chose water, so the reader would know something bad would happen. So the water would be symbolic because it?s not a coincidence, it only rains when there?s death or someone?s hurt.
?I don?t know, darling. I?ve always been afraid of the rain. All right. I?m afraid of the rain because sometimes I see me dead in it.? (Page 126) Here Catherine predicts the future because she does die in the rain. This shows rain predicts death.
?Later we were on a road that led to a river.?(Page 209) When Hemingway mentioned the river, it would be referring to water again. Henry and the drivers are shot at and to Aymo (a driver) dying with a bullet to the head.
He is one example of water leading to death of someone that had some importance in the book.
?We were very close to Germans twice in the rain but they did not see up.? (Page 218) Now again Hemingway uses water that doesn?t lead to death, but it was very close to death. If the Germans had caught Henry and Piani, the Germans would have killed them with no hesitation. It?s just like when Hemingway mentions the river not only did Aymo die but also before that two German soldiers pass them in a car without seeing them and a German fleet on bikes passed them also without seeing them. So from one mention of water leads to one death and two close occasions that could have led to death.
?That night there was a storm and I woke to hear the rain lashing the window-panes. It was coming in the open window. Some one had knocked on the door.? (Page 264) Right then Henry will be told that he would be arrested and killed. Here is another example that is a near death encounter.
?I walked through the rain up to the hospital.? (Page 329) Right before this is mentioned Henry finds out his baby boy died during pregnancy. Now after this Henry finds out Catherine is going to die within hours.
?After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.? (Page 332) This is Henry feels dead himself and very alone now that Catherine and the baby are gone.
In conclusion, Hemingway uses the water symbolically for to show death, near death, close, and after dead. From all this you can see it was no coincidence it was put there for a reason. Especially when he talks and says something that mentions rain that leads to death.