Farewell To Arms

Farewell To Arms A Farewell to Arms, written by Ernest Hemingway, was a typical love story: a Romeo and Juliet placed against the odds. In this novel, Romeo was Frederick Henry and Juliet was Catherine Barkley. Their love had to survive the obstacles of World War I. The background of war-torn Italy added to the tragedy of the love story. The war affected the emotions and values of each character.

The love between Catherine and Frederick had to withstand long separations, life-threatening situations, and the uncertainty of each others condition. This novel was a beautiful love story of two people who needed each other in a period of complete upheaval. Frederick Henry was an American who served as a lieutenant in the Italian army to a group of ambulance drivers. At the start of the novel, Frederick was a drunk who traveled from one house of prostitution to the next and yet he was discontent with his unsettled lifestyle. Further in the novel Frederick became involved with Catherine Barkley, an English volunteer nurse who served in Italy. She was very experienced with love and loss.

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She lost a fiancé in the war. Frederick slowly fell in love with her and in his love for her, he found commitment. A Farewell to Arms was set in World War I where Italy was battling with Austria. In 1916, Henry was granted a leave, but returned shortly after squandering his money. He learned the British nurses were stationed in the area hospital and that was how he met Catherine. They were instantly attracted to each other.

They fell in love and for once Frederick didnt feel lonely and insecure. It was time for him to go to the front line and Catherine gave him a St. Anthony medal for protection. Henry got wounded and transferred to a hospital Catherine worked at and she volunteered her nights to spend with him. Frederick returns to war and things were terrible in Italy. He decided to escape to see the birth of his child.

Catherine was sick and this was when you see who Henry really has become. “I sat outside the hall. Everything was gone inside of me. I did not think. I could not think.

I knew she was going to die and prayed that she would not. Dont let her die. Oh, God, please dont let her die. Ill do anything for you if you wont let her die. Please, please, please, dear God, dont let her die. God please make her not die.

Ill do anything you say if you dont let her die.” (330) This quote was one of the most saddening in the novel. Frederick Henry finally found someone to love, admire, and settle down with, and something terrible happened. It revealed how he has changed as a person. He changed from and over-sensuous womanizer to a person who had settled down and sought everything he hoped in life, but lost. Frederick Henry showed his loyalty to the individuals and small groups in his life, and near the end of the novel he showed grace under pressure. Henry strove to cross the Switzerland border and seek refuge from the Italian police to help Catherine.

Throughout the novel he never once spoke about his feelings or thoughts about war. He didnt talk about the hatred for Carabinieri or his feelings when he was cheerful or dismal. When he entered Catherines hospital room, for the first time, he prayed to God and showed some emotion. He cried. In the end of the novel, Frederick is faced with a life-changing occurrence.

He lost something of great value to him. It took the loss of something so important for the real person Frederick Henry was to surface. After this occurred, he was offered some company for his way home, but he declined and walked alone. He asked God to save his greatest love after taking his child and did not really receive and answer. He concluded death is the end and when it comes, there is no where to go.

Frederick Henry never truly became a code hero until the end when he accepted death as the end of existence.

Farewell To Arms

The book A Farewell to Arms, written by Ernest Hemingway, is a classic about the
love story of a nurse and a war ridden soldier. The story starts as Frederick
Henry is serving in the Italian Army. He meets his future love in the hospital
that he gets put in for various reasons. I thought that A Farewell to Arms was a
good book because of the symbolism, the exciting plot, and the constant moving
of the main character. The symbolism in A Farewell to Arms is very much
apparent. Ernest Hemingway has always been one who is big on the symbolism of
night as being bad. To the main character in Hemingway’s novels, nights have
always been a sign of death, or something negative to happen. Another one of the
symbolisms in A Farewell to Arms is when Henry tries to escape from the Italian
army by jumping off one of the ships the army was traveling on and running away
from the army. This symbolism was the water that he jumped into was a symbolism
of the new, clean life that he was going to live from now on. At this time,
Henry goes off and finds his wife to be. The plot in A Farewell to Arms was
always active. They were never staying in one place too long. It had a very good
story line, which was a love story that ended up in a tragedy. The main
character’s wife got pregnant and she was off to have her baby when problems
started occurring. They had to have a caesarean, and the baby dies, and when the
mother of the child starts to hemorrhage Henry knows that it was over for his
wife and he was right. From the beginning of the book until the end, the action
was up. Ever since the front page Henry was traveling around to different towns
so it was not boring for the reader. That made it very interesting for the
reader because it was always a new town coming up so they were being introduced
in the new characters quite often. As the story goes on, the reader is not
introducing as many new people, but they are still traveling around quite a bit.


Hemingway has a way with arranging the plots of all his stories. They all have
that right timing to them. He always introduces only people that will affect the
story, he does not introduce someone who will be in the scene for five minutes
and then leave. I felt that the author’s planning on putting this novel together
was very good. Ernest Hemingway has always been one of the world’s best known
classic writers. His style and technique of symbolism is much different than
others. He uses then in very strong ways that you the reader does not always
pick up. I am sure that I missed some of the symbolism that went on in the book.

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I picked up a few though and they were very interesting. I recommend this to
anyone who is interested in a love story that does not get too intimate.