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Farewell to Arms

By BALopez79 Apr 29, 2013 808 Words
A Farewell To Arms is a classic book written by Ernest Hemingway which is about a man named Frederic Henry, who is in the middle of a warzone. Frederic Henry is an existentialist and an American ambulance driver in Italy during WW1. Frederic is what Hemingway calls a “code hero”. Hemingway created a code for each hero whom he created in his novels. The typical Hemingway hero is a detached existentialist who shows bravery in the face of a violent world. Three characteristics that show how Frederic is a code hero are that he bears his miseries well in public, lives in a violent world, and nighttime is difficult for him. The first characteristic that shows how Frederic Henry is a “code hero” is that he bears his miseries well in public. Frederic hides his emotions in public by drinking and when Frederic is talking to Catherine about their families he says, “Wine is a grand thing... It makes you forget all the bad.” (Hemingway, 154). Frederic breaks down in private because he is not in public. In private he expresses his emotions because no one is there to see him act like a macho man so he acts different. When Frederic is watching Catherine and says to himself “... I was awake for a long time thinking to myself...” (Hemingway, 301). This shows how Frederic Henry can’t bear his miseries well in public because in his mind; if he expresses his emotions in public he thinks he will be weak, or unmanly. Another example is when he says to Catherine in private, “I’m no good when you’re not there. I haven’t any life at all anymore” (Hemingway, 301). Here Henry shows his emotions because he feels like Catherine is the only person that understands him. The last example that shows how Frederic Henry can’t bear his miseries well in private is when he is talking to the priest, “Now I am depressed myself. That’s why I never think about these things. I never think… when I begin to talk I say the things I have found out in my mind without talking.” (Hemingway, 179). Frederic expresses himself a little more because he trust the priest and has built a friendship with him. This characteristic shows how Frederic Henry is a “code hero”. The second characteristic that shows how Frederic Henry is a “code hero” is that he lives in a violent war. Frederic is an ambulance driver in Italy where there is war taking place. He is living in a war zone where at any time he could either be killed or be captured. When Frederic is talking to the priest he says, “The Austrian won... They kept them from taking San Gabrielle. They’ve won. They won’t stop fighting” (Hemingway, 178). This is a great example of how the war is getting more intense and how Frederic lives in a violent world which causes stress but he cannot show that he is bothered by it, he must act manly. The next example is when Frederic thinks to himself, “A breeze came in the night and we heard the men of the anti-aircraft gun on the next roof talking” (Hemingway, 101). Frederic lives in a violent world and the war is so close to him that he can hear men on the next roof talking and he is in danger. Finally Frederic is with Rinaldi and he says, “If there was war I suppose we must attack” (Hemingway, 14). Therefore Frederic Henry is a “code hero” because he lives with violence. The third characteristic that shows how Frederic Henry is a “code hero” is that nighttime is difficult for him because it symbolizes the darkness and loneliness man will face in death. There are many examples to prove that nighttime is difficult for him, such as the rain. In the novel rain symbolizes death. Catherine has just died and Frederic says “But after I had got them out and shut the door and turned off the light, it wasn’t any good. It was like saying goodbye to a statue... left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain” (Hemingway, 332). Rain brings sorrow to him because he is an existentialist and believes that after death there is no after life, and it symbolizes death. Another example that proves that nighttime is difficult for Frederic is when he is in the hospital and he says “It was dark outside and the long light from the searchlight was moving over the mountains” (Hemingway, 50). This proves how nighttime is difficult for Frederic, So Frederic Henry is a “code hero” because nighttime is difficult for him. Lastly, Frederic Henry is a “code hero” because there are three specific characteristics: he bears his miseries well in public, lives in a violent world, and nighttime is difficult for him.

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