A Farewell to Arms: a Love Story

Good Essays
Bhaskar Lokanathan
American Literature
Ryan Martin
12/5/10
A Farewell to Arms: a love story A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemingway is a novel that tells the story of strong, yet strange relationship between Frederick Henry and Catherine Barkley. Both are medical workers in the Italian military during World War I who fall in love soon after their first meeting. In the beginning, the love between the two seems fake and almost a game. Throughout the novel, Henry begins to develop a more serious love for Catherine, but this relationship is not a true connection between two lovers. Instead, the relationship is an escape from the war that helps the two get over their pasts. For Barkley, this escape helps her to get past her previous relationship and for Henry, it teaches him how to love and gives him purpose in life. In the beginning of the novel, Henry seems to have no purpose in life. He is an American who came over to Italy to fight in a war just for the adventure. He extensively describes beautiful European landscapes that have been destroyed by the war. He is not fighting for any real purpose besides having nothing better to do. Furthermore, he spends most of his time drinking and going to brothels with his friend Rinaldi. This gives readers the impression that Henry is a lonely, almost depressed man with no true purpose in life. When Rinaldi first introduces Catherine Barkley to Henry, Henry finds her extremely beautiful. They quickly become friends and by their second meeting, they are talking about spending their life together. Henry is confused by this because of how quickly everything unfolded, but decides to play her game. He assumes that they are just friends but Catherine seems to think that there is more between them. Catherine’s abruptness is most likely caused by the result of her previous relationship; her ex-fiancé was killed in the war in front of Catherine. She is still scarred from this and is using Henry as a way to cope with her loss.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Lieutenant Henry, the main character in A Farewell to Arms, changed greatly over the course of the book. The book began with him in a smaller village near the mountains in Italy. By the end, he ends up alone in Switzerland after the death of his wife and child. Lt. Henry went through many changes in several aspects of his life, in the way of the war, his wife Catherine, and his friends, even though at the end he loses them all and is alone.…

    • 845 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Love was a strong connection between the two main characters in the book. In A Farewell to Arms it was shown that love was preserved in the midst of a great war. Fredrick Henry is first introduced to Catherine by his friend Rhinaldi. At first, Catherine was just supposed to be a sex toy for Fredrick Henry, the main character of the novel and he wasn’t planning to start a relationship with her. He didn’t truly fall in love with her until he got badly wounded and was put into a hospital. After Mr. Henry impregnated Catherine, he feels a real sense of affection and responsibility towards her.…

    • 637 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Clare speaks a lot about how she worries about Henry when he is pulled away from the present to explore the past. Clare falls in love with Henry at a very young age. When Henry gives Clare a list of all the days and times that he will be visiting Clare over the course of years, she longs for his visits. “Today isn’t a Henry day; the next one is twenty-two days away… All my life I have pretty much just accepted Henry as no big deal; that is although Henry is a secret and therefore automatically fascinating…” She knows exactly how many days away it is until Henry comes for another visit; on any ordinary day. It is almost like she lives from visit to visit, and she feels stronger every time he comes. When Clare is 13, she is in the meadow, in the middle of a storm, thinking of Henry: “…I suddenly feel that Henry is there, an incredible need for Henry to be there and to put his hands on me even while it seems to me that Henry is the rain and I am alone and wanting him.” Clare is only 13 and already feels so close to Henry that she can feel him…

    • 655 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Farewell to Arms The character of Frederick Henry in Ernest Hemingway?s A Farewell to Arms is disillusioned, ??.first with the war which he had presumably volunteered to be in, and second with his romance with Catherine [Barkley], which, to give him credit, he had not initially volunteered for.? (Lewis 42) Initially, he is detached from the war because he is merely an ambulance driver and therefore, has nothing to do with the actual war. He must ultimately decide to follow his obligations to the Italian army or to follow his love for Catherine Barkley, both of which cause Frederick Henry great internal conflict. Eventually, his surroundings and the events that occur change Frederick Henry from a disillusioned young man, into a matured character that had suffered life?s greatest agonies: to lose in love and war.…

    • 906 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    A farewell to arms

    • 1238 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Hemingway bases most of his books on events that he has experienced. Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms is a book about war, identity, and individualism. His style of using in media res, character, and dialogue, and how he splits the book into five parts, changes the way readers interpret the book.…

    • 1238 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    afta

    • 1317 Words
    • 6 Pages

    In chapter fourteen lt. Henry's relationship with Mrs. Gage proves that Henry doesn't love Catherine, but is lustful for what she is capable of sexually, and nurturingly, and believes this to be love. Within the first paragraph Lt. Henry recalls looking at a woman , mrs. gage, and although he does claim that she is "not so pretty" by drawing his attention to her looks in the first place, involved with Catherine or not, one can note that he is on the prawl for something he does not recieve in his relationship wih Catherine. While peering into the conversational difference in the dialogue between Lt. Henry and mrs gage, and lt Henry and Catherine,…

    • 1317 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Henry begins to find adult hood, he loses some selfishness and begins to look towards others with compassion. “He felt the subtle battle brotherhood more potent even than the cause for which he was fighting.” (Pg 56) However, Henry’s immaturity is shown when he deserts a dying soldier and flees from a battle. “The youth looked at him, could see that he, too, like that other one, was beginning to act dumb and animal-like.” (Pg 44) As Henry leaves the dying tattered solider, he feels remorse, wondering why he was so stupid to abandon his friend. A childish action to say the least.…

    • 472 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    When she unclipped her hair, it depicts the brother’s falling out relationship because it was so easy for it to fall apart. Henry also shared the red convertible with Lyman that they got together and went on spontaneous trips with, which shows Henry’s carefree attitude about life and is another thing that kept them together even when Henry came back from the war. Henry’s whole demeanor before the war is a totally different person from the character that he becomes after.…

    • 910 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Within the first few chapters Catherine asks Henry “and do you love me?”(16). As a nurse, she was not allowed to get involved with patients, and in doing so, she was giving up her future for Henry. Whereas Henry knew he was not actually in love with his nurse Catherine “I knew I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her”(16). She was a play toy for him. During the summer, Henry made it clear to Catherine that they were not married, even though Catherine had already declared her love for him. Catherine fell hard in love with Henry, while he planned to leave her in the dusk. This mindset did not change until she told him that she was pregnant, and he decided to stick around. Henry was also never in the right mindset to properly love Catherine, While in the hospital, he drowned himself in alcohol to avoid the pain. Catherine at times said “I never felt like a whore before”(81) showing how she felt gross with Henry. She played along with Henry’s games and allowed herself to be taken advantage…

    • 606 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Throughout times in history, war has illuminated the greatest trials of a man’s resilience through the cruelty that is endured. In the midst of the horrific events that war allows, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway shows the functions and effects of cruelty and brutality in the perspective of a lieutenant, Fredric Henry. With war came brutality and suffering, along with hope and triumph for the men who fought alongside one another in the Italian army. As events progressed, though, lieutenant Henry was ultimately modified by the crucial and overwhelming cruelty that functioned in the novel. This crucial motivation present in the novel functioned in Henry’s relationship with Catherine Barkley, his psychological well being, as well as his…

    • 1103 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms is arguably one of the greatest literary works of art to emerge from the twentieth century, largely due to the elaborate use of symbolism and incorporation of emergent themes. One of the themes that can be derived relates to the dichotomy of the absurd and normal (Baker). Amidst an escalating war, absurdity is evident in one’s attempt to inflict a sense of normality. Many characters demonstrate this theme as they become more conscious of the frailty of life and death through experiencing the trials and tribulations of an intensifying war. Faith and honour in performing one’s duty is a normal theme enforced at the beginning of the war, but is later found to be absurd as the vulgarity of the war heightens. Another instance where the absurd replaces the normal occurs when central character, Lieutenant Henry, attempts to cope with the war through starting a family, highlighting the absurdity of peace. Similarly to peace, the absurdity of life becomes apparent to those that encountered death numerous occasions during the war. Lastly the absurdity of happiness may be the most prevailing theme since it confronts all participants of the war.…

    • 1520 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    This story is told from an omniscient third party's point of view. The narrator presents a few different conflicts throughout the story, but the major one is the conflict each character has within themselves. For Henry, does he tell Marie-Claire of his wife who tries his patience "" Patient? Does he…

    • 1170 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In A Farewell to Arms, Frederic Henry is characterized initially by a sort of detachment from life-though well-disciplined and friendly, he feels as if he has nothing to do with the war. These feelings of detachment are pushed away when Henry falls in love with Catherine and begins to realize the hostile nature of the world. In this way, Henry serves the function of a character that becomes initiated in Hemingway's philosophy of an indifferent universe and man's struggle against it. Due to the untimely death of a fiancé previous to the events of this book, Catherine is initiated into Hemingway's philosophy, and exemplifies the traits of the Hemingway code hero throughout the novel. She is characterized primarily by her disregard for social conventions as well as an unfaltering devotion to Henry. Catherine is defined as a code hero because of her honor, courage, and endurance in pain.…

    • 1699 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    In order to understand the connection that Henry has to the characters throughout the novel you have to go back and understand Henry V.…

    • 687 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Henry fights with the other soldiers in the first battle, yet he runs from the scene when the second battle starts. There are many reasons why Henry fled the scene of the second battle instead of the first. Upon reading we find out that Henry has a false idea of courage and that all he wants to do is to return home as a war hero. Before becoming that Henry has to overcome fear and gain courage. According to the pre-text, Henry fleeing from the second battle is an act of self-preservation which is apparent in chapter 4 of the novel. Henry observes the other soldiers fighting for their lives while his regiment runs to avoid attack.…

    • 655 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays

Related Topics