Heroes and Cowards in A Farewell To Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

 

War creates only two types of men: heroes and cowards.  In the book, A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Mr. Frederic Henry was an American Lieutenant ambulance driver in the Italian Army. “The army was staying in Gorizia, a little town that had been captured by the Italian army” (5). The town looked across a river and the plains to the mountains. There was fighting going on in those mountains, only a mile away. One evening when Frederic came in the house after doing some work on his ambulance, his friend Rinaldi took him to a hospital to meet a nurse who was a friend of Rinaldi’s. Frederic thought that Miss Barkley was very pretty and good looking. Frederic started seeing Miss Catherine Barkley on a regular basis.

“Frederic got orders to take two ambulances and three other drivers and go to the war front, up the river in Plava” (54). They were to pick up as many of the wounded as they could and deliver them to the hospitals where their papers said to take them. When he got up to Plava late in the evening, Frederic found out that there was a plan for a military strike that night. They were ordered to stay there and wait for the strike to take place before they left, so they wouldn’t get hit by the bombardment.

All of the drivers were to stay in a dugout in the riverbank while the strike was going on.

There was all kinds of gun fire and bomb shells being shot back and forth. “The drivers were all in the dugout eating noodles and cheese while drinking wine” (55), when a bomb shell hit the dugout, killing one of the drivers and wounding Mr. Henry as well as one of the other drivers.

Frederic was hit in the legs by the objects that were in the bomb, one of his knees was blown down around his shin. One of the drivers took him to the medical tents to get bandages put on his legs until they could get him back to a hospital. “The army sent Frederic to an American hospital in Milan” (77). This hospital had just been built and they needed nurses there. The hospital in Gorizia transferred Miss Barkley to the hospital in Milan. She was one of the nurses looking after Frederic while he was in the hospital.

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