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Word Count: 639
Lieutenant Frederic Henry is a young American ambulance driver serving in the Italian army during World War I At the beginning of the novel the war is winding down with the onset of winter and Henry arranges to tour Italy The following spring upon his return to the front Henry meets Catherine Barkley an English nurses aide at the nearby British hospital and the love interest of his friend Rinaldi Rinaldi however quickly fades from the picture as Catherine and Henry become involved in an elaborate game of seduction Grieving the recent death of her fianc Catherine longs for love so deeply that she will settle for the illusion of it Her passion even though pretended wakens a desire for emotional interaction in Henry whom the war has left coolly detached and numb When Henry is wounded on the battlefield he is brought to a hospital in Milan to recover Several doctors recommend that he stay in bed for six months and then undergo a necessary operation on his knee Unable to accept such a long period of recovery Henry finds a bold garrulous surgeon named Dr Valentini who agrees to operate immediately Henry learns happily that Catherine has been transferred to Milan and begins his recuperation under her care During the following months his relationship with Catherine intensifies No longer simply a game in which they exchange empty promises and playful kisses their love becomes powerful and real As the lines between scripted and genuine emotions begin to blur Henry and Catherine become tangled in their love for each other Once Henrys damaged leg has healed the army grants him three weeks convalescence leave after which he is scheduled to return to the front He tries to plan a trip with Catherine who reveals to him that she is pregnant The following day Henry is diagnosed with jaundice and Miss Van Campen the superintendent of the hospital accuses him of bringing the
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