Throughout the entire novel A Farewell to Arms, written by Ernest Hemingway, there is a constant reference to the title. Frederic Henry, the main character, loses things that are significant in his life.
First, in the chaos of retreat Frederic is face-to-face with a very important decision. During the flee, many platoons of Italian soldiers became scattered. Frederic and the people he were traveling with got their vehicles stuck in the mud of a field, so they had to travel on foot. They lagged behind the rest of the army and began to see the invading soldiers on bicycles. Later, Italian officials found Frederic and took him to where they kept stray soldiers that they had found. Once there, Frederic realized he would probably be shot for abandoning the army. Since he didn't want to be shot, he decided to flee. Once he fled, he would never be able to return to the army without being an outlaw. In short, a farewell to arms' means goodbye to arms', arms being weapons and the military life.
After fleeing the army, Frederic escaped to Switzerland with Catherine, his fiancée. She was carrying his child. They were going to settle down and eventually get married, but first the baby had to be born. Frederic never quite seemed too fond of the idea of having a baby. In the hospital, Catherine was in labor for countless hours. It made her very weak and having dose after dose of the gas was not good for her. Her labor was in vein. The baby was born dead, which was very ironic. Frederic heard of the news about the baby, but his attention was directed towards Catherine. He hoped she would live. They were life partners. She did not survive. Therefore, a farewell to arms' also means losing the one that Frederic loved, the one that he could embrace in his arms and vice versa. .
In addition to direct examples in the story, there is an overall theme of failure and discord. Frederic seemed to never be able to get any inner peace.