After going through bad times, there is a moment of reflection in which beliefs change. In the novel A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an English ambulance driver for the Italian army in World War I, after escaping into the river from the battle police who are interrogating and murdering innocent officers, realizes that Catherine Barkley, an English nurse, is the love of his life and his only priority. This incident leads to a rude awakening in the train ride to Milan of how awful it was when his own army did not hesitate to take his life, and it eradicates his obligation to serve in the war. Thus in his novel, Ernest Hemingway uses the illuminating incident of when Henry escapes his execution and then desires
This contrast between romantic vision and cold reality can be seen early in the novel, with Henry's departure from home. Driven to a "prolonged ecstasy of excitement" by the rejoicing crowd, Henry enlists in the army and says good-bye to his mother with a "light of excitement
There are two major themes in A Farewell to Arms that Hemingway clearly conveys: war and love. The war theme is obvious because the book is set during the World War. The theme of love is less obvious, it begins faintly because of the uncertainty between Frederick Henry and Catherine Barkley. Neither desire love or commitment to anyone, but act upon their desires of passion. As the story progresses, so does their love. The strength of their love is enforced by various understandings and agreements. Love is the theme that closes the book, leaving a final allusion of what their love is about.
Henry Fleming is going through a difficult stage between being a "man" and being a "boy". The reason he joined the army was to become a hero. He was blind to the Union’s cause, for Henry it was more for personal achievement and well-being, “his province was to look out, as far as he could, for his personal comfort.” Henry goes through a complete change of character as the war goes on going from a “boy” to a “man” as quick as a war can make that happen.
He described that he couldn’t escape even if he wanted to. Through this analogy, the reader can see that Henry is reducing the soldiers to unthinking, unfeeling machines, performing their duty without taking into account the threat of injury or death. As he looks around at the faces of the rest of the soldiers in his regiment, he notices their focused commitment to the firing of their rifles. He wonders if he is the only one faced with questions of morality. While the regiment began to advance, Henry was shocked to receive a packet of letters from Wilson, who feared he would die in battle. After the battle, he is glad that he made it through the first day. He begins to lose the romantic vision of war by seeing the realities, but he starts lying to himself about who is really is.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is based largely on Hemingway's own personal experiences. The main character of the book, Frederic Henry experiences many of the same situations that Hemingway experienced. Some of these experiences are exactly the same, while some are less similar, and some events have a completely different outcome.
When faced with adversities early into his first battle, he quickly reconsidered his views on war and courage. By running away from the face of battle, Henry “saw his vivid error, and he was afraid that it would stand before him all his life” (Cane 24.30). This pushed him into believing that he would never be a man of courage of masculinity. This “error” of running away caused Henry to be angry at himself for mistakenly thinking the battle was over and abandoning his fellow soldiers. While away from the battle Henry discovers “that he had a scorching thirst” and “his body was calling for food” (Cane 11.21). From the struggle of war and the experience of Wilson, Henry learns to reflect upon his life and learn from his mistakes, rather than being angry at himself. This allowed Henry to be influenced by the culture around him, shaping him into acknowledging that courage was not depicted by a gunshot or a wound, but by the act of adhering to the line of duty and learning from your
Catherine was also sent to this hospital because it was a new American hospital and they need nurses. As they were there they keeped with their forbidden love. Back then a woman was not supposed to be seen alone with a man that she was not married too. Catherine became pregnant during the time they were there. When Frederic was able to he had to go back to the front lines, but Catherine had to stay there. Frederic got into some trouble when the Italian army was retreating, and Catherine and him had to escape from the country. They went to Switzerland to get away from the war. As they were there Catherine went into labor. “I went into the room and stayed with Catherine until she died. She was unconscious all the time, and it did not take her very long to die” ( Hemingway 331). In the end their love could not last. Catherine and the baby died during the process of labor.
To start with, love is a necessity amongst the characters in the novel. Henry and Catherine find one another amidst the First World War. Both of them longly desire to find something that will pull them away from the war and into something greater. Henry is in search of love, there is a deep void in his heart that Hemingway implanted in him, although it might not seem as if it is prevalent at the start of the novel, it protrudes itself periodically. When Henry and his good friend Rinaldi frequently attend brothels, it is to attempt to fill the emptiness that war has drawn from them. When Henry and Catherine are apart they share a feeling of being aloof and gloomy. "Why darling, I don 't live at all when I 'm not with you." (Hemingway Pg 38). Henry and Catherine begin to have an affair out of wedlock due to the amount of frequent visits amongst each other, during this time having pre-marital sex was looked down upon
This shows that Henry allows himself to now be a part of something bigger. This also shows that Henry lets himself become sucked in a bigger cause, to not to save himself but to but to save and help his other comrades. He loses his sense of being an individual completely, which cuts self-preservation out of his picture.
In Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, the main character, Lieutenant Fredric Henry, undergoes a dramatic change in perspective over the course of the novel. It is most interesting to see how the Lieutenant's views on religion change as he becomes more involved in the war.
Ernest Hemingway's WWI classic, A Farewell to Arms is a story of initiation in which the growth of the protagonist, Frederic Henry, is recounted. Frederic is initially a naïve and unreflective boy who cannot grasp the meaning of the war in which he is so dedicated, nor the significance of his lover's predictions about his future. He cannot place himself amidst the turmoil that surrounds him and therefore, is unable to fully justify a world of death and destruction. Ultimately, his distinction between his failed relationship with Catherine Barkley and the devastation of the war allows him to mature and arrive at the resolution that the only thing one can be sure of in the course of life is death
Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms covers a romance that takes place during World War I. The novel itself came out shortly after the war, and was the first of Hemingway’s books to become a best-seller. Essentially, the novel contrasts the horrors of war with the romance of Henry and Catherine. Throughout the plot, Hemingway, a World War I veteran himself, uses the events of the book to make a statement about his thoughts on war. The core message of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms is that war damages the soldiers who fight in it both physically and emotionally, which is primarily illustrated by the number of deaths caused directly and indirectly by the war, the actions Henry is forced to take over the course of the book, and Henry’s growing cynicism towards war.
As a first point, love is a key aspect in creating a sense of belonging and stability between Catherine and Frederic in the novel, playing the role of an anchor in the midst of a gruesome plot of war. In his commentary, Armstrong notes that “... the development of Barkley and Henry’s relationship from casual lovers to de facto wife and husband confirms the strength of their love and that love’s power to illuminate