Is war ever justified? War has been a part of our society since the beginning of time. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is a novel that deals with the justification and commitment to World War I. Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver for the Italians, struggled to find the answer and ended up loosing his commitment to the war because of words and advice from the priest and his love for Catherine Barkley. He ended up running away from the war to be with his pregnant lover Catherine. Henry’s commitment to the war isn’t genuine. As Henry and the priest discussed who was winning the war at the moment and other subjects, they stated, “And the ones who would not make war? Can they stop it?” “I do not know.”
“Have they ever been able to stop it?”
“They are not organized to stop things and when they get organized their leaders sell them out.” “Then it’s hopeless” (Hemingway p71).
In this dialogue, Henry feels as if there is nothing anyone can do to end the war. He feels as if he is stuck in it until he finally dies. He feels that it’s hopeless to carry on anymore if there is no sign of halting. This type of attitude shows he is not committed to the war.
While Henry was talking to the priest, he stated, “They were beaten to start with… put him in power and see how wise he is.” (Hemingway p179). Henry thinks that the people that are fighting with him have already lost from the start because it wasn’t their decision to fight. He’s suggesting that the peasants aren’t fighting their hardest. They were forced off there farms and expected to fight. Henry thinks because they have already been defeated that there is no way they are going to win the war. His attitude again shows that he is not committed or hopeful about the war.
Later on when Henry is still talking to the priest they say, “I hoped for a long time for victory.”
“Now I don’t know.”
“It has to be one or the other.”
“I don’t believe in victory any more.”