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A Farewell to Arms: Frederick Henry

Oct 08, 1999 894 Words
In this novel A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Hemingway brings about the evolution of Frederick Henry being converted into a code hero in realistic ways. Frederick Henry achieved the six code hero characteristics by the end of the novel with the help of Catherine, a code hero herself. All the characteristics seem to follow the path of a manly person who is continuously striving to live his/her life to the fullest. Throughout this novel, Frederick Henry's behavior matures to the code hero in which Hemingway desires to be.

In the start of the novel, Frederick Henry was into over- sensual pleasures and could not control himself until he had spent much time with Catherine and learned how to discipline himself. Henry "had drunk much wine" and roamed from whorehouse to whorehouse near the beginning of the novel. He had no control over himself nor could hold his liquor or contain himself from easy women during this time. Henry finally disciplined himself near the end of his stay at the Ospidale Maggoire. The nada concept had been a part of Henry's life from the beginning. Henry stood up nights because the night is a representation of evil and death to him. If he is not asleep, he can avoid having to deal with it. During the nights at the Ospidale Maggoire, Catherine accompanies Henry. To Henry there "was almost no difference in the night except that is was an even better time" with Catherine. Catherine has many values that transcend onto Henry at the Hospital. During the day, Henry sleeps but Catherine has to work, so she stops coming to him on nights. Henry is left to stay up, alone on nights. Also, he does not ask Catherine to come stay with him thus controlling his desires to make love to her. From this point in the book, Henry disciplines himself. During those nights together, they made love and talked. When he first saw Catherine, he was after sexual pleasures from her instead of the prostitutes in Gorizia. He never realized that he was in love until some time later. Also, when he is in the course of a battle with Manera, Gavuzi and Passini, he began to eat food. Henry enjoys the food he eats, the love he makes and the wine he drinks whenever he pleases to.

Henry showed his loyalty to the individuals and small groups in his life, and near the end of the novel he showed grace under pressure. He is loyal to people similar to the group of ambulance drivers he was driving with on their retreat or people similar to the Count. During his desertion, he jumped into a river to avoid being shot and killed by the Carabinieri. The Carabinieri began to shoot every officer who showed up late in the retreat. The Italian army seemed to Henry to be unfit for him and unorganized. To avoid being killed he jumped into the Tagliamento river. Henry once began to believe he would drown and so he fought and thrashed through the water" to save his life from the turbulent waters of the Tagliamento. He never showed the reader his feelings of bravery during this feat. In the final pages of book IV, Henry strove to cross the Switzerland border and seek refuge from the Italian police. When he arrived there with Catherine, he was questioned by the border police and said he and his wife were looking for winter sport in Switzerland. He lied under questioning by the custom agents in order to save himself from his army and did not show any frustrations or nervousness in the process. With Catherine on his side, he proved to the reader that he was able to show grace under difficult circumstances.

Henry never once talked about his beliefs or feelings throughout the novel. He does not talk about his hatred for the Carabinieri or his feelings when he is cheerful or dismal. He showed no signs of remorse for deserting the Italian army or about the time when he shot and wounded the Sergeant deserter. In the end of the novel, Henry is faced with his love's death. Henry told God "please, please, dear God, don't let her die" the moment before he entered the door where Catherine finally passed away due to a hemorrhage. Minutes later Henry is offered some company on the way back to his home but he declines. He goes off to his house by himself and sorts things out with what death actually is. He asked God to save his greatest love after taking his child and does not receive an answer. He concludes that death is the end and when it gets you, there is no where to go. Henry never becomes a code hero until the end when he accepts death as the end of existence.

Hemingway's code hero, Frederick Henry, develops into a man whom the reader could identify with and understand. Henry unknowingly becomes a code hero and a better person with the help of Catherine. Henry becomes a code hero in the end due to the help of many incidents. On the last few pages, the reader realizes he has become a code hero because he responded to the serious situation on his hands calmly and orderly as Catherine did.

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