Spoilers below for those who haven’t finished the book.

Having read the final parts of the book, I feel heartbroken at the deaths of the baby and Catherine. Hemingway set up the final chapters of the book in a way that made us anxious as we knew something awful was about to happen. There was much foreshadowing with the weather, the constant, dreadful descriptions of the rain and snow. It was bitter and concerning, especially considering the way Catherine had previously described how she hated the rain because she ”pictured Henry dead in it”. Hemingway is setting us up for the ending – we knew something vicous would happen, maybe Henry caught and arrested, but personally I was not expecting the death of both Catherine and the baby.

The way Hemingway also accelerates the months and portrays the time passing makes us apprehensive as we are made to feel as if something is coming – but we didn’t know what (besides the baby of course). Chapter 40 – ‘We lived through the months of January and February and the winter was very fine and we were very happy…In March came the first break in the winter. In the night it had started raining. ” Hemingway displays the months passing rapidly and thus the arrival of a sinister event is also following it, and there is almost a sense of irony in ‘we were very happy’ as we know the raw realism Hemingway is known for will eventually catch up, as much I was hoping it wouldn’t. The foreboding ‘rain’ just accentuates the harrowing events that we will eventually see, and it’s also very fitting how Henry is described as ‘walking out in the rain’ in the very last sentence of the novel: he has survived this far but at what cost?

Amidst all the chaos and destruction of the war, which Hemingway is able to point towards subtly by the fact that Henry still occasionally reads the papers, I was hoping that happiness would be able to outlive it, and that something as happy as Catherine’s and Henry’s relationship would last. As crazy as their relationship was, as well as their pretend marriage and their made up family existence (Catherine tells her hairdresser she has two boys and two girls), they were still content with each other and at times it was entertaining even to see them interact with the dialogue Hemingway includes. I think he led me to like their relationship, which is why I’m hurt at their demise.

166 thoughts on “Ending

  1. I really liked how you explained and incorporated the weather as symbolic and foreshadowing. I never really thought about it like that but it completely makes sense! I thought that Henry and Cat’s relationship through the novel was forced at times and overall weird, but they seemed to fit each other in a very broken and odd way. They understood each other’s emptiness, brokenness, and sadness. I wished that they had had their daughter, I feel like Henry would have loved the baby if it had been a little Cat like they had talked about. I wish the baby had survived, some of the alternate endings allow me to believe that the baby could be alive if I believe it hard enough, but I don’t think Henry would love the boy much. I wish Catherine had survived, I wish they could have gotten real married as they planned. I feel bad for Henry, for the heartbreak he gets put through and the guilt he must feel for it all since he got Catherine pregnant and that is ultimately what killed her. The ending crushed me, though I knew there was no way this book could end neatly with a little bow wrapped around it. There had to be devastation, and I had a gut feeling that by the end of this Henry would lose everything, including Cat.

  2. I kind of expected the baby to die but when she went into labor it threw me off. The whole part with the doctor telling her to drink to “keep the baby small” made me think that he knew something they didn’t. It made me think that he was trying to make miscarrying less painful by somehow shrinking the baby with the amount of alcohol she consumed (I don’t know how pregnancy and alcohol work). We all know you aren’t supposed to drink alcohol while you’re pregnant because it somehow negatively impacts the baby; so the doctor advising her to have wine was a big red flag to me. When she went into labor I thought everything would be fine and maybe the baby would live. I don’t understand why the doctor and nurses would let her go through such a long labor if they may have known beforehand that the baby wasn’t going to make it (drinking to keep it small). Although now that I am thinking about it and typing this maybe they figured out somehow that they weren’t actually married and wanted them to “pay” for their sins. I mean people in this time are very religious, especially the older generation. Still I was shocked and upset when the baby was born dead and the last thing I expected was for Cat to die. When Henry started panicking I kind of figured it out but thats also way to late to say you figured it out. I have a lot of emotions about the end of this book… like what did Hemingway just put us through and why? He must be a sociopath.

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