The Sentimental Education of Frederic Henry (Hemingway’s Other Possible Title)

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Ernest Hemingway’s protagonist Frederic Henry says A Farewell to Arms with a double meaning. The novel title is word play reflective of first, Frederic’s desertion of the war. His second farewell is to the arms of his beloved, Catherine Barkley after her death in childbirth. Wandering stoically through life, looking for some natural progression, Frederic lets one circumstance lead him to the next. At first, Frederic exhibits the hedonistic aspirations of a college fraternity pledge, motivated only by drinking and sex. His selfish motives take him into a courtship with Catherine and they fall in love. He displays apathy and has no passion or conviction until the accidental attraction. The relationship matures him. It becomes his …show more content…
Ernest Hemingway’s protagonist Frederic Henry says A Farewell to Arms with a double meaning. The novel title is word play reflective of first, Frederic’s desertion of the war. His second farewell is to the arms of his beloved, Catherine Barkley after her death in childbirth. Wandering stoically through life, looking for some natural progression, Frederic lets one circumstance lead him to the next. At first, Frederic exhibits the hedonistic aspirations of a college fraternity pledge, motivated only by drinking and sex. His selfish motives take him into a courtship with Catherine and they fall in love. He displays apathy and has no passion or conviction until the accidental attraction. The relationship matures him. It becomes his salvation. It gives his detached life purpose. How and why we fall in love is random, complicated, and unpredictable. No matter how we get there, love is such an important experience that as poet Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote, “Tis better to have loved and lost / than never to have loved at all” (lines 15-16). Frederic begins the story a naïve young man and emerges filled with grief, but matured having experienced a devout and deeper love.
Frederic is an American joined with the Italian forces fighting in World War I. He is a lieutenant assigned to an ambulance unit. His involvement in the war is as a surreal experience. He tells himself that the war is “no more dangerous to me myself than war in a movie” (37). He shows his ignorance

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