A Theme Of Identity In A Farewell To Arms By Ernest Hemingway

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

The novel “A Farewell to Arms ” by Ernest Hemingway was published around 1929. The novel was published during the era of WWI. It pinpoints the individual to find sense and order in an otherwise turbulent and war-torn world in the novel of A Farewell to Arms. For example, Federic Henry has didn’t have any purpose but to find his potential he seems to find comfort in love, which serves as Federic’s finding need in peace and firmness. Henry is at loss of his identity, coming across through religion as well with affairs. This novel points out possible themes that may possibly apply on. Henry takes a stance of religion and love when he comes across a downfall of the war.

This novel has certainly relied on Hemingway’s experience in WWI in Italy. Federic serves for the Italian army in WWI and later falls in love with an English nurse named Catherine Barkley. Hemingyway during the time of WWI was as well where Henry was a part of the “Lost Generation”. This phrase was said by Gertrude Stein, referring to modernists who felt lost after witnessing the horrific terrors of WWI. WWI arose a group of young people mid 20-30’s that during the time were known as “The Lost Generation”. This accusation is referred to as the lack of purpose that is resulting from the horrors that’s felt by those who grew up and lived through the trauma. Through this war, the country was starting to slowly lose its innocence, turning idealism for questioning the authority and tradition. Questioning religion and beliefs whether if this war was upon God’s hand. Their identity was coming at rest. During the war. individuals were finding their potential as well there purpose in life. Which drew them in giving up faith, hope, and rather rest in the dust because the fight was worth nothing. As stated, “The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave one. . ”. A brave one is the one to sacrifice himself to save the rest but this goes for the same to the cowards in dying showing no courage. It shows that the war and the world breaks one, taking a great man away and leaving weak ones “The world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them”. There is a war in humanity and morality. War destroys us individually.

Although this novel is based on war this brings into further description of what the war can be upon. Being a soldier at war and coming home can leave the soldier’s identity on the battlefield. They come home empty and trauma into their lives. It relies on a person whether or not to make a change to their lives. Further, in the novel, it speaks about the lack of courage which the soldiers are bringing into the war. Preferring to rather lose than to keep fighting. In this novel, each soldier shows disparity as well with Henry who quit not find his own capability in his life. Throughout the novel, it touches on the body and soul defining their spirituality. “All thinking men are atheists. ” There are thinking as “Godly men” and there are thinking Atheists. Both can say as if they have turned on their thinking and look into the issues of their lives. The priest is represented as the soul, coming in humanity and morality. The soldiers show the signs of the body. Their body performs actions of sin. As shown in the novel they tease the priest, as if they are mocking the form of God. A whore house is a place of sin where the soldiers are satisfied but by the wrongdoings. On the other hand, Henry and Catherine connect the soul and body. He shows the remarks in experiencing a rebirth just as how Jesus was reborn. He questions his soul whether or not there’s a God or whether in believing in a religion. Catherine gives Henry Saint Anthony to Henry for remorse for the protection of the war. Catherine didn’t believe in this but had a little bit of hope that it would keep Henry safe.

Hemingway comments on the power of love and how it complies with war. It shows that love during the war can be passionate as well in how it can be temporary. When Henry went to go visit Catherine, they both are looking for a way to escape from there pain that was caused by the war. As such with Catherine’s fiances incident due to war as well with Henry’s purpose. The priest despite his soul he also comes across his faith and it’s love onto God. As Henry is developing love and affection for Catherine, she uses her seduction onto Henry in order to escape the reality of her fiance’s loss. As with Henry, their relationship that’s been developed with Catherine uses this in order to escape his participation in being part of the front. Catherine on the other hand, begins to believe the affection of Henry and gains it but goes on to a certain extent just for Henry not to leave her and having her pain distracted and left alone due by Henry. In order to keep Henry around, she does what he wishes which again shows the correlation of her body and soul. Further on into the chapters Henry goes on in recognizing the terrors of WWI, he justifies gambling is taken in explaining that he can now find peace in his relationship with Catherine, the one who he loves and their unborn child. Even though Henry is risking his life in avoiding arrest, he is motivated to keep on going only to be able to see Catherine and the unborn baby. Hemingway is swept up with the passionate love towards Catherine. He is willing to marry Catherine but she insisted but believes that her unborn child is the problem that is making Henry wanting to marry her. Catherine’s unexplainable love towards her unborn child is the opposite of Henry. Catherine’s pain of losing her love is what keeps her from loving a child that may also be loving the man she loves. This all connects there identity coming to at loss that may have been caused by the war. This novel introduces the many features of what the theme can possibly be. Theirs have been references between Henry and God as well with Catherine’s beliefs as well with her affections toward Henry. In the end, they showed remorse and mercy onto God that they have questioned if there is one. If there was truly a God he would be able to acknowledge the mercy upon his name and save Catherine, but now Henry questions if there is one. Questioning if the newborn child really may be a gift from God.


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