Lieutenant Henry's Moment of Illumination

Topics: Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, Glasses Pages: 3 (1047 words) Published: February 4, 2012
Lieutenant Henry’s Moment of Illumination

Stephanie tries on her first pair of glasses. Before now, her view of the world has been blurry, but as she puts her new glasses on, everything becomes crystal clear. Just like Stephanie’s sudden clarity, an illuminating moment is when one makes an important realization that changes one’s perspective, or makes one question one’s priorities. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway’s main character Lieutenant Frederic Henry has an illuminating moment while in the river after leaving the army forever. This realization opens the door for Henry to live the life he truly wants to live, and not to only go through the motions doing something he does not love. He sees that Catherine is who he wants to be with, he has to sometimes put himself first, and that he does not belong in the army. Henry’s illuminating moment makes him rethink his priorities and realize what is important to him.

Henry realizes that what he really wants to do is to be with Catherine Barkley, and that she is the most important person in his life. When he flees from the Italian army, his first thought is to go to where Catherine is. Throughout the book, he feels most comfortable when he was with Catherine. He says, “We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.” (105). In his time of realization, he sees that he does not need to be apart from Catherine. Instead, he can depart from the army and go to her. He never loved anyone before, and realizes that Catherine is who he wants to be with. Lieutenant Henry states that, “…when I could not see her there I was feeling lonely and hollow.” (41). Being with her is different for Henry because ever since the beginning of their relationship, Henry doesn’t want to talk of war with her. She is his escape, his love, and is who he decided to spend his time with. His love changes his life in more than one way. While Lieutenant Henry does not show much emotion while on the front line, it...
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