Characters, Tone, and Setting of A Farewell to Arms
Throughout the world many individuals believe love is the cure for everything. In the novel, A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, is a typical love story between a nurse and a war soldier. Their love affair must survive the obstacles of World War one. Hemingway develops this theme by means of characters, tone, and setting.
Hemingway expresses the theme through the use of two main characters, Frederick Henry and Catherine Barkley. Frederick henry is a young American ambulance driver in the Italian army during World War one. At the beginning of the novel Henry never experienced love he believed it was an elaborate game. When he is wounded and sent back to the American hospital where Catherine works their relationship progresses. Frederick slowly falls in love with her and in his love for her, he finds commitment. At the conclusion of the novel, Frederick realizes that he cannot base his life on another person or thing because it will eventually leave him. Catherine Barkley is an English nurse who serves in Italy. On the other hand Catherine is experienced when it comes to love since she has already lost a loved one which was killed earlier in the war. Hemingway also lets us know Catherine already has the knowledge that her life cannot be dependent on another through her husband’s death. This all sets the tone for the novel.
Hemingway also develops the theme through tone. The tone of this novel is a tragic one. Throughout the novel Hemingway foreshadows Catherine’s death. When Catherine is brought into the delivering room, the doctor tells her he has concerns about her narrow hips. Therefore, they had to get a caesarean, and the baby dies. Then Catherine starts to hemorrhage and Henry realizes why he did not want to become involved with love and now he must suffer the consequences. Frederick then states “it was like saying goodbye to a statue,” he walks back to his hotel without finding a way to say good-bye. Frederick realizes that Catherine was just a symbol of strength in his life. Evidently, Hemingway conveys this novel as a tragic one.
One last ingredient the author expresses to develop the theme is the novel’s setting. The story takes place during World War one. However, the plot is always active. The characters were never staying in one place too long.