November 5, 2013
A Farewell to Arms Essay: In Love and War
“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on” (Robert Frost). In the young adult novel A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Frederic Henry, an architect who lives in Rome, falls in love with a British nurse, Catherine Barkely. Both Henry and Catherine find solace in each other during the war, which forms a relationship between them. Thus, the symbol of rain will prove the theme that love and war cannot coexist at the same time because it can become very deadly.
The symbol of rain conveys the theme that love cannot exist with love at the same time because it can be deadly. In the beginning of the novel, Henry gives a brief mention of the war describing the start of winter “[…] came […] permanent rain” and when the rain comes cholera comes too and “[…] seven thousand died of it” (Hemingway 4). In this passage, rain connects with death for the first time, but no emotional feeling connects to the fact that seven thousand men die. The rain is described here as permanent because it is inescapable and brings with it a disease that effortlessly destroys many soldiers. This sentence amazes the reader with a feeling of awe at the ease and swiftness with which the rain comes is very intimidating. The rain destroys the soldiers because they fight a war that does not seem to end anytime soon. Henry tells the readers “branches were bare and the trunks black with rain” (4). In this quote, the rain clearly symbolizes death by the way the leaves fall and leaves the branches bare. The chestnut tree cannot survive since the rain comes and destroys what is left from its leaves. Just like the chestnut tree, Henry and Catherine’s love does not survive because of constant turmoil brought by the war. When the rain begins to fall, Catherine confesses her fear of it because “[she has] always been afraid of the rain… because sometimes [she] [sees] [herself] dead in it…And sometimes [she]...
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