Love and Agony in A Farewell to Arms Essay

935 Words 4 Pages
Love and Agony in A Farewell to Arms

The vigorous, strapping youth boldly advances into war, rifle in hand, picture of mom in his pocket- hair neatly combed, clean socks. Eagerly he arrives on the sunny front and fights off the enemy with valor, saving whole troops of injured soldiers as he throws them over his shoulders and prances upon the grassy lawn to safety. Between various sequential medal-awarding ceremonies, he meets a radiant young nurse tending the blessed wounded he saved. They fall in love, get married, produce beautiful war babies, and everyone returns home happily. Wouldn't it be just lovely if war were really like that?

It's not. It's war. Ernest Hemingway's, A Farewell to Arms is a book about war. As a
…show more content…
This admitted play-acting, added to a non-committal/ primarily sexual relationship amongst death and destruction adds to, and does not necessarily take away from the reality of war. The escape from the war is never full or even possible, thus preventing a Cinderella ending, and this is truly the most tragic and painful piece of the novel.

The very first time Henry begins to pursue a physical relationship, indeed, only the second time he has ever seen Miss Barkley, he admits to her that " 'Yes,' I said. 'And we have gotten away from the war,' " and the foundations of their very relationship, escape and pleasure are thus laid out (Hemingway, 26). They soon commence verbally lying and confessing undying love to each other, and Frederick even admits he "thought she was probably a little crazy...I knew I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards" (30). Nor does the pretending go unnoticed on her own part, " 'This is a rotten game we play, isn't it?'... 'You're a nice boy... And you play it as well as you know how. But it's a rotten game' " (31). Rotten because it never truly is expected to work, rotten because it is founded on the principle of falsehood.

Initially of course, and
Open Document