Hemingway's "A Farewell To Arms" is a stark and sobering look at how war affects life and how it's detrimental impact is unavoidable. The story covers Frederic Henry, an American serving as an Italian lieutenant ambulance driver during the first World War. Unlike Joseph Heller's "Catch 22," "A Farewell To Arms" is less humorous as it is tragic.
Through Frederic Henry's narrative, Hemingway describes a war that nobody wants to be involved with. As an ambulance driver Henry is laid back and unconcerned with the dangers of war around him. The first third of the book largely involves Henry's drinking and chasing women without a care or worry in the world. Through his blasé exploits he meets and seduces a Scotch nurse named Catherine Barkley and a love interests blossoms.
When Henry is hurt in battle he is sent to Milan, Italy to convalesce. There he and Ms. Barkley establish a love affair as she comes to his bedroom often on the night shift while no one else is awake. When Henry is sent back to the front line to fight it is discovered that Catherine is three months pregnant with Henry's child.
Through a misunderstanding at the battle of Caporetto Henry is forced to flee the country in fear of being murdered for insubordination. Frederic goes to find Catherine and they flee in a rowboat to Switzerland. Largely they seem to have found a nice place to settle down and live happily ever after, until Catherine goes into labor with their child. She gives birth to a still born baby and then dies herself moments after the delivery.
"A Farewell To Arms" as a whole is a statement to the harsh realities and tyrannies of war. Frederic Henry is a loyal, heroic, and determined soldier. Someone who is courageous in the line of duty, and wise in various aspects of life. Hemingway has an excellent way of showing that no matter how valiant someone may be, no matter how undeterred by the chaos of war, nobody is completely unscathed by it and nobody can truly...
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