A Farewell to Arms
Review Of Ernest Hemingway’s Novel a Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway’s novel, A Farewell to Arms, first published in 1929, largely takes place on the Italian front during World War I. This novel follows Frederic Henry, an American lieutenant serving in the ambulance corps of the Italian army. Ernest Hemingway invites us into the friendships, heroism, hardships, and the love story of Frederic Henry.
Throughout this novel, Frederic Henry works along with his closest friend Rinaldi, who is a skilled surgeon in the army that drinks too much and visits many women. He is provided with spiritual advice from the Priest who is often teased by the other guys. Frederic Henry is introduced to a woman that Rinaldi swears his love for, an English nurse by the name of Catherine Barkley. Each character has a profound impact on Frederic’s life in different ways. Through this portrayal, the novel suggests Frederic Henry is a man of honor who doesn’t expect praise for his heroism but lacks love in his life. Catherine Barkley, the nurse who can be interpreted as weak and dependent, shows Henry that love is a possibility. She teaches us that facing hardships in life doesn’t have to prevent you from living a satisfying life. The Priest challenges Frederic Henry’s belief that he is in love with Catherine by describing it as lust and continues to teach him and us as readers that you are able to maintain your beliefs and values while facing scrutiny from your peers. Rinaldi is living life to the fullest as an admirable and heroic surgeon and friend but falls short as a womanizer and alcoholic. We learn from this that you may have flaws but that doesn’t reflect on you as a person.
The relationship between Catherine Barkley and Frederic Henry is romanitic yet odd. Both characters are scared of love. Frederic claims he has never been in love while Catherine mourns the death of her boyfriend. She carries a thin rattan stick that his mother sent to her after his death. Frederic questions Catherine about not marrying the boy. She ask him ask him afterwards if he has ever loved anyone. This seemed to be a great deal of personal questions for someone to have just met. I can only assume that Catherine felt comfortable asking this because she had discussed so much about her previous relationship. Although Catherine feels comfortable with asking questions, she refrains herself from accepting a kiss from Frederic. “I leaned forward in the dark to kiss her and there was a sharp stinging flash” (24). Afterwards, Catherine agrees to the kiss followed by questions of Frederic being good to her. I think the novel tries to portray Catherine as weak and submissive with giving Henry all the power in the relationship. Hemingway goes on to describe Frederic and Catherine discussing marriage. “Don’t talk as though you had to make an honest woman out of me. I’m a very honest woman”. This is an example of Catherine being strong willed. Afterwards, she describes herself as so faithful.
All through the novel you see Catherine as someone who adores Frederic but is also her own person. Hemingway describes women as ladies of the night, as entertainment for the men in this novel but Catherine is a brave woman who knows her place. Some may confuse her behavior as desperate for Frederic but I see her as a self confident, brave woman that has learned to accept things that she cannot change. In addition, to learning from Catherine Barkley about life and love, Frederic Henry has the Priest at his side to offer spiritual guidance along his journey. The Priest is dealt a rough hand with the other guys. He is often the target of jokes from the other men because he takes his title serious. He chooses not to “play” with the available girls as the other men do. I see this as strength and power. He believes what Frederic describes to him about his nights with Catherine as lust. “What you tell me about in the nights. That is not love. That is only passion and lust”. He goes on to describe love as a sacrifice and as a service. He says later that he has not loved a woman. I see this as his interpretation of love pertaining to God. He sacrifices his human nature to want to be with the girls and chooses to serve God as a man of integrity. Lastly, Frederic Henry has Rinaldi, a lieutenant, who is also a man of integrity. He spends his days and nights as a skilled surgeon saving the lives of those that serve.
In the beginning of the novel, it is a possibility that we are being led to think that Rinaldi has more of a friendship love for Frederic. Rinaldi’s over the top, flamboyant personality in our time period would make people think that Rinaldi is gay. To be honest at first I thought this. As you read you learn that Rinaldi is someone that loves and respects Frederic. He shows this on page 59 where he talks about having Frederic decorated with the bronze or silver. Further in the novel you start to see Rinaldi evolve. On page 150, Frederic asks Rinaldi what is the matter with him. “The war is killing me, I am very depressed by it”. Rinaldi is normally an upbeat, go with the flow, and let’s have all the fun kind of guy. This shows the war is draining him. Even in our time now the war has affected many people. Although the war was tough I feel like he had some underlying issues that were not revealed to us. With his imperfections, he is still stood as a heroic figure in this novel. He made a profound impact on Henry’s life as a friend by caring, giving advice, and just being himself. It shows that Henry never forgets him or the Priest as the novel comes to an end when Catherine asks Frederic what he wonders about. He answers “About Rinaldi and the priest and lots of people I know”.
In conclusion, I feel like Hemingway encourages us to think for ourselves. This novel is basically our own individual interpretation due to the gaps that fill it. We learn that Frederic Henry is close friends with Rinaldi, enjoys his company, and embarks on the lady train with him till he meets Catherine Barkley. The Priest doesn’t understand Frederic and Catherine’s love because he has only experienced his love for God. Catherine is a sometimes portrayed as weak due to the overwhelming amount of love she feels for Frederic. We are taught the length of how far her strength travels till the ending when she dies.
A Farewell to Arms: Literary Analysis, Motifs, Symbols
A Farewell to Arms Journal
A Farewell to Arms is a novel by Ernest Hemingway, published in 1929.
The story is told in first-person, past tense by the main character, Frederic Henry. This means that there are two versions of Henry that the reader must take into account: Henry the narrator and Henry the character who is being told about. This raises the question of narrator reliability. What is the narrator’s motive in telling the story? Is he being truthful or bending events to fit his bias? Henry the narrator never reveals his current whereabouts, age, how much time has passed since the events he is describing, or any other general information about himself. However, the lack of information the narrator gives as to his current situation can be seen as increasing his reliability, as he is focusing solely and totally on confessing the events of his past, rather than where he is now. The narrator also does not make Henry a perfect character. Henry risks his life to care for wounded soldiers and treats Catherine fairly well, but he also lies, drinks frequently, and engages in other morally questionable behaviors. Henry the narrator does not try to make himself look good in his telling of events, but portrays himself as imperfect and multifaceted.
The character of Catherine has been seen as both proof that Hemingway was misogynistic and as a more deep, intricate character. While Catherine does seem dependent on Henry (saying, for example, “There isn’t any me. I’m you. Don’t make up a separate me.”), she is also a brave and strong woman, working hard to tend to men wounded in the war. Her intense love for Henry may be part of a coping mechanism to deal with the chaos of war all around her. Her love keeps her from being all-encompassed by grief and sorrow over her fiance, the war, and the other troubles of her life.
Hemingway has a clearly recognizable style of writing that is present throughout A Farewell to Arms (and his other works). Sentences tend to be abrupt and to-the-point, without excessive figurative or poetic language. Though the situations Henry finds himself in are chaotic and violent, this is not portrayed in the dialogue and narration, which tends to be fairly calm. This fits in with Hemingway’s famous “Iceberg Principle.” Hemingway believed that the reader needed only the surface information, like the surface of an iceberg, to understand the complex situations and ideas that are actually being discussed in the novel, the unseen part of the iceberg. The dialogue and narration may be calm and ordered, but the tumultuous situations and ideas at the heart of the novel can be derived and understood from it. The tone of the novel tends to be confessional. Henry is not lying to make himself look good or glorify his bravery during war time, he is confessing some of the most intense and dark times of his life, from his falling in love with Catherine to his indifferent response to his dying child.
One of the most prominent symbols in A Farewell to Arms is the frequent rain. The rain represents the inevitable end of Catherine and Henry’s love and all other things in life. Catherine says that rain scares her and ruins things for lovers, and doom does eventually come to their relationship. Henry’s walking back to the hotel in the rain reaffirms that the fact that all things, love or otherwise, come to an end. Another symbol in the novel is Catherine’s hair. When Catherine lets down her hair around Henry’s head, he says that it reminds him of a waterfall or being inside a tent. Her hair represents their happiness and the temporary isolation from the chaotic world that their love provides for them.
A motif that can be found in the novel is masculinity. Henry, like many of Hemingway’s lead characters, is a “man’s man.” He engages in masculine activities and has a fairly masculine profession. Hemingway inserts humor occasionally by mocking characters that would not be considered as macho and manly as characters like Henry or Rinaldi. Rinaldi makes fun of the priest for his lack of sexuality and Dr. Valentini is described as impressive partly because of the three physically unimpressive and overly cautious men who came before him.
A Farewell to Arms: Old Fashioned Love and Catherine
Catherine and Old Fashioned Love in A Farewell to Arms
The traditional practices of love and marriage are often jarring and even alien to young people. These days we tend to carry out mutual affection via a system of give and take, of sharing one’s life and love with the other party in equal measure, or so we would ideally have it. We get married, we have kids, but we don’t completely give our lives away to the other person, or, more specifically, the women do not give themselves entirely to a man, and even in marriage such practice is no longer expected. Women can have their own lives, their own careers, and it’s up to them to decide for themselves how they wish to live their lives. So when we see what one might consider the “traditional” marriage ideal—that practice found in the early 20th century, before or just after women even had the right to vote—it can be seen as strange and even barbaric. Such is the love practiced in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms between Frederic and Catherine, and their relationship may even be something of a parody.
Of course, that isn’t to say that their love isn’t genuine. Frederic repeats several times that he loves her so, and Catherine certainly would have no reason or desire to give herself so fully to Frederic if she didn’t love him back. The satirical elements only show themselves when one realizes how cornily over-the-top this total affection they have for each other is, especially in the case of Catherine’s feelings for Frederic. She makes a point to state very often that she basically gives up any want of happiness for herself and that she is instead choosing to be devoted entirely to Frederic and making him happy. Frequently she lets him make major life decisions for the both of them, like running from the Italian police and moving to Switzerland, or having a baby out of wedlock (which brings up the question of the novel’s stance on religion, which is an entirely different paper).
And though he loves her very much, Frederic doesn’t exchange this sentiment. Sure, he wants Catherine to be happy, but he does not give himself up for her happiness like she does for him, and, indeed, if he did, then they would likely pull themselves apart for indecision. I can only imagine the fights that would ensue over deciding which restaurant to dine at. No, instead, he leads the charge throughout the novel when it comes to their relationship, and, according to classical marital standards, this is the correct way to run a family: the man is in charge, the woman supports him and makes him happy and has the babies. This persists throughout the novel, at least until they find peace in Switzerland, at which time she starts to have wants and desires of her own, though, again, they never conflict with Frederic’s wishes. She never gets bored and wishes to move out of Switzerland and back to Britain, but in the late stages of her pregnancy it becomes Frederic’s mission to take care of her, at least to an extent.
There is one scene, however, that strongly features her, and this is a moment that majorly foreshadows the ending. During Frederic’s recovery near the end of book two, the two of them share a stormy night alone in the hospital. Catherine speaks of being afraid of the rain, and when questioned by Frederic, she admits to being afraid of the vision of seeing herself in it, dead, as well as Frederic. Rather than Frederic comforting her, she comforts herself, saying, “It’s all nonsense,” and, “I can keep you safe. I know I can. But nobody can help themselves.” This foreshadows the ending because, in the end, it rains, and she dies giving birth to her son, who was also a miscarriage, leaving Frederic, alone and unprotected, to wander through the rain back to his hotel.
Literary Analysis of Ernest Hemingway’s Book, a Farewell to Arms
“A Farewell to Arms”, by Ernest Hemingway, is a tragic love story that takes place during World War 1, in Italy. Henry was an American ambulance driver in the Italian army. During his service, Henry faced many horrific events that affected his views on the war. He was severely injured when a mortar bomb hit him and his crew. Meeting Catherine and falling in love with her was a major catalyst to why he started to truly resent the war. Before meeting her, he did not believe in love. Throughout the novel, Hemingway focuses on the theme of love and war and how the two cannot coexist. After finding love with Catherine, Henry was able to find a system of values to live by that he did not know existed previously.
Before meeting Catherine, Henry was a lady’s man. He did not believe in love or know what it was like to love someone. Henry would hang out with the other men in his crew and meet many women. When Rinaldi, Henry’s roommate, introduced him to Catherine, he was taken aback by her beauty. When Catherine and Henry started dating, Hery was playing a game with Catherine and she could see right through him. They had different intentions when it came to being together. Catherine wanted a man to protect her and love her, while Henry’s main goal was to sleep with her. As time progressed, Henry started developing feelings for Catherine and ended up falling in love with her. Catherine kept him distracted while he faced various hardships during the war. When with Catherine, Henry had forgotten all about his battle wounds and horrors of the war. When he was not with her, Henry felt lonesome and uneasy. Henry regretted wasting time with other women when he could have been with Catherine the entire time. When Catherine died, Henry was devastated that the love of his life was no longer going to guide him in a world that was full of fighting and war. Meeting Catherine and falling in love with her had given Henry a system of values to live by when it came to love. He had learned what it meant to love someone and how to care for them. After Catherine’s tragic death, these values would stay with Henry forever.
In the end, Henry was able to find a system of values, based on love, to live by. Catherine taught him the meaning of love and what it was like to be loved by another. As their relationship continued, Henry focused less on the war and more on Catherine. He wanted her to be happy, as she wanted the same for him. Henry and Catherine’s relationship proved to be successful, however, it was Catherine’s tragic death that proved love and war could not coexist. War is never a good place to fall in love. Just like the war, it will end in a tragedy.
Charles Vidor and John Huston’s Depiction of Love between Frederick Henry and Catherine Barkley In, a Farewell to Arms
A Farewell to Arms
One of the greatest love stories of all time, A Farewell to Arms (1957), a film adaptation of the book by Ernest Hemingway, recounts the romance between an American ambulance driver, Frederick Henry, and a British nurse, Catherine Barkley, amidst the horrors of World War One. The movie accurately depicts the real life events of Hemingway’s life, key events on the Italian front, and the attitudes towards the war effort, but lacks in consistency with the actual book, in appeal to the audience, and the effect of the war on the relationship.
The pair first meets by the introduction of Frederick’s friend, Major Alessandro Rinaldi. Afterwards, Henry is ordered to participate in the Italian offensive against Austria-Hungary in the Alps, where a falling mortar shell injures him. While recovering in a hospital in Milan, Henry has Catherine transferred to work in the same hospital so that they may continue in their budding love affair. Catherine soon discovers that she is pregnant, but the head nurse, Miss Van Campen, also discovers the couple’s duplicity and sends Frederick back to the war front, separating the two.
After the humiliating defeat of the Italians at the Battle of Caporetto, Frederick and Rinaldi must flee with the locals from the invading German and Austrian armies. Along, the long and arduous march, many people and even children are left to die on the side of the road. Rinaldi also starts to lose his mind, as he questions the entire war and starts doubting the Italian army. His words are overheard by soldiers in a local army base and the commandant assumes that Rinaldi and Frederick are both traitors, sentencing them both to death. Rinaldi is shot, but Frederick manages to escape by jumping in the river. He evades the police and finds Catherine. They flee to Milan, but realizing that they cannot stay for long, they must again flee to Switzerland by rowing across Lake Lugano. In Switzerland, Catherine delivers her child, but due to complications the child is stillborn and Catherine dies shortly afterward. The movie closes with Frederick walking aimlessly in the empty streets.
The story of A Farewell to Arms is set in the conflict of World War I. The war started on June 28th, 1914 with the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo. While America wasn’t in the war, Americans still felt the impact, as there were restrictions on travel, the stock market crashed before closing, and the import of goods from Europe was disrupted. It was only until April 6th, 1917 did America finally declare war when Germany resumed its submarine warfare. Congress passed the Selective Service Act which drafted four million men and these soldiers arrive Europe mainly just to help stop major drives by the German forces that threatened Paris. By the end of the war, more than 53,000 American soldiers died, a relatively small number compared to the losses suffered in WWII and the Vietnam War.
However, Frederick Henry doesn’t get involved due to a draft, rather through volunteering for the Red Cross, which was started by Clara Baron in 1881. Within weeks of the start of WWI, the Red Cross sent a ship to Europe with medical supplies and medical staff to help both sides of the war. After the Americans officially entered the war, the organization grew exponentially, with President Wilson as the honorary chairman. He urged Americans to volunteer for the organization to meet the needs abroad. In all, the Red Cross spent over $200 million in Europe, mostly on child-care and refugee work, and had over 31 million members.
While the movie diverts most of the focus from the war to the love story, it still has references to some famous events. Federick Henry is an ambulance driver sent to the Italian front, where there are a series of offensive battles at the border between Austria-Hungary and Italy in the Alps. Between June 1915 and March 1916, the Italian forces launched five separate assaults against the Austrians in the Isonzo region. While the Italians had aggressive officers and more men, the Austrians had the advantage of elevated positions. There were also a lot of weaknesses in the Italian army, so by 1915 more than 60,000 Italians, which was one fourth of the entire army, were killed. A stalemate was soon reached and war support in Italy went down. The peasants shunned the war, refusing to obey the draft and the number of deserters increased, peaking at almost 60,000 in 1917.
One of the worst humiliations for the Italians was the Battle of Caporetto in October 1917, which was depicted in the movie. German and Austro-Hungarian troops attacked the Italian army at Caporetto. Even though they had almost twice the manpower, the Italians were destroyed almost immediately and were forced to retreat. To make matters worse, the government collapsed and the prime minister and the military commanders were replaced.
Despite the lack of references to specific events in the war in the movie, it does portray the sentiment felt by soldiers and citizens during the effort. At the start of the war, Henry is asked why he volunteered to join the Italian army and he said that he wanted to “have a look” at what war was really like. Many of the volunteers and citizens shared this sentiment, as they never experienced a real war before. They all had a romantic and fanciful notion –not a realistic one. However, after the Battle of Caporetto, the soldiers undergo dramatic change. It was clear that Henry and his comrades were all suffering physically and mentally from the hardships. Rinaldi in particular displayed signs of PTSD, as he exclaimed, “what’s the use?” and “what good are we to Italy?” during the long, arduous retreat. On this retreat, the Italian army must escape with the regular citizens and in the movie, there are bodies littered on the sides of the road, lost children screaming for their mothers, and a mother even dropping her baby on the road from exhaustion. In addition, Henry is also traumatized when Rinaldi is unjustly shot for being a supposed German infiltrator. A Farwell to Arms painted a graphic and startling new insight of the realities of war.
When first viewing the movie, the stereotyping of gender roles becomes immediately apparent, as it was almost characteristic of Hemingway’s style. The author was frequently criticized for the “masculinity of his writing” and the perpetuation of female stereotypes. In the opening, the soldier’s attitude towards women is highly sexualized and inappropriate. The first encounter between Henry and Catherine is also seen as superficial, as Henry is drawn to Catherine by her looks. Catherine later says that she “will be anyone that [Henry] wants her to be” in order to reaffirm their relationship. As critic Frederic Busch notes, “Hemingway’s women too often seem to be projections of male needfulness.”
The plot in the movie is actually based on a real-life story: Hemingway’s life. Hemingway, like Frederick Henry, was an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross in the Italian campaigns during the First World War. He volunteered in France before the entrance into war in April of 1917 and was later transferred to Italy at the start of July 1918. On July 8, 1918, he was wounded by an Austrian mortar shell, making him the first American to be wounded in Italy and a hero. Catherine Barkley was also based off of Agnes Von Kurowsky, a real nurse who cared for Hemingway in a hospital in Milan. However, there were also some discrepancies between Hemingway’s life and the story. Hemingway was only active with the Red Cross for 34 days and he never participated in the retreat from Caporetto, but it is portrayed so vividly in the book and the movie that even the Italian soldiers who were in the retreat couldn’t believe that Hemingway wasn’t there. Because of his negative experiences in the war, Hemingway’s was deeply shocked and traumatized. He “hated war and hated all the politicians whose mismanagement, gullibility, cupidity, selfishness and ambition brought on the war and made it inevitable.” These sentiments show in many of Hemingway’s war books, such as The Sun also Rises.
The publishing of A Farewell to Arms brought Hemingway into the limelight of the literary world, as it was his first best-seller. It also inspired an entire genre of war novels, such as James Salter’s The Hunters, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, and James Ellroy’s LA Confidential. Biographer Michael Reynolds describes the book as “the premier American war novel from WWI.”
For a movie that is supposedly about WWI, it didn’t weave the events of the WWI or its effects well enough into the main story. The nature of the war was supposed to mirror what happened in the relationship. However, in most of the movie, a casual audience member never would have known that the war was going on, so the disconnect is extremely unrealistic. The ending deaths of the child and Catherine don’t seem like irony or a cruel reminder of the war period, but instead look like a hysterical mistake by the incompetent doctor. The director, David O. Selznick, also inserts too many scenic shots of sunsets, valleys, and natural scenery with no action, breaking up the tension in the main storyline. The main love affair itself, which apparently needs two and a half hours to develop, isn’t even established as natural. The pair’s sudden love seems forced and even slightly superficial. Overall, the movie, A Farewell to Arms, is neither captivating nor historically relevant, and I would not recommend it.
Review of Ernest Hemingway’s Book, a Farewell to Arms with the Illustration of Obscurity
A Farewell to Arms
There are many uses of symbolism in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Most of the symbolism is hidden so that the reader must fully comprehend the novel before realizing and understanding the symbolism. Could ‘darkness’ be one of the symbolism uses in this novel? Could ‘darkness’ represent something more than just being dark? Throughout the book, there are many examples of darkness, which Henry takes advantage of. “Night is “better”’ (page 13), Henry explains how during the night he parties, drinks, and has sex. “Hills dark in the sunset; attack starts at sunset” (page 46), night is coming; they are going to attack. Darkness is filled with unknown attractions. It expresses the power to surprise someone with anything you can imagine. Three important qualities of the novel one would have to understand to know about the symbolization of darkness are mood, setting, and danger. Knowing the mood will show the reader the feeling of the novel.
Henry, the main character, lives a tough life fighting in the war. There is tragedy behind every corner, which causes the story to have a feeling of despair. Moods of continuous boredom, disappointment, and apathy, with also a touch of fate twisted throughout all the depression, are the main outlooks. The feeling readers tend to describe as gloomy or a melancholy feeling, describing the horrors of war, turns tragic, as it details the problems of undergoing the extreme actions of attack. The mood throughout the novel is one of disappointment, dullness, and pain. Henry has a main part in experiencing these dreadful feelings of love, loss, and pain. He started as a ‘young’ man, knowing not much more than to party and drink, loving someone only for their lack of sensibility and giving in to his pressures of self-dishonesty, growing into a reliable and honest man, who falls deeply in love with a woman who is destined to have his child, only to die from her cesarean operation. Darkness, applying itself to the deterioration of the soul, seems harmless enough from a distance, but close up, it can be a very painful thing if one makes it to be. “Waiting in the dark for treatment outside the field surgical station” (page 56), this example of darkness in the novel explains how darkness symbolizes hurt and pain, either physical or emotional, leaving henry wounded and waiting in the dark for treatment.
During the time period of the novel, there was war going on between Italy and Switzerland; World War I, to be exact. The main setting of the story is Switzerland. Switzerland is the place where, after Henry falls deeply in love with Catherine once he has already gone through so many tough times in the past months, Catherine and he stay until their death. The novel was placed in the time frame of 1916-1918. Henry was one out of the many fighting for Italy, but none has quite the same story as he does as life in the war. Switzerland has many memories for Henry including where Catherine got pregnant with his baby and dies from her cesarean operation, and where he stays until his death, never to leave the side of his beloved. The time period during World War I was recognized as dark and depressing. This hints that darkness could symbolize the era of world war I or also simply as hatred and pain. These are 2 of the purest feelings during World War I especially between Henry and his companions.
World War I was a dangerous time to be living through, much less having to fight in the war too. Much of the actions taken place during this time was either fighting and shooting at other countries or drinking and partying, trying to forget what you are forced to live through. Henry followed both of these categories of actions. One might think of this time to be a dim reality of life, twined between the cruelness of war. This is where darkness comes into the novel once again. Loving Catherine Barkley changed Henry’s life forever. Leaving him with a love torn heart and a small child, two things a person can never replace.
Every mention of night is accompanied by a harsh reality of life, and with night comes darkness. Darkness includes hate, pain, truth, loss, and love; everything that makes life truly livable. One might not want these in life, but must contain every one to become real. Without hate, one would be too likeable. Without pain, one would think to be invincible. Without truth, one would be dishonest. Without loss, one would be spoiled and selfish. And Without love, one would be heartless. Although darkness can mostly be a daring thing to bring along with you through the journey of life, it can also be one of the best things to keep with you at all times.
The identify of Frederick Henry in A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway’s celebrated novel, A Farewell to Arms, discusses the hierarchy of nationality, class, and power during wartime. Frederic Henry finds himself an American serving in the Italian army as an ambulance driver. The United States somehow becomes glorified in the eyes of the Italian population, and a sense of eminence is thrust upon Henry. He never fully integrates into the Italian army, nor does he wish to do so. Henry is decidedly separated, but more importantly, his nationality establishes for him a higher status. Henry’s character is influenced by his American citizenship. This progression is defined by the economic gap as well as his interactions with his Italian comrades and regular citizens.
Henry is modest, almost to the point of shyness. He refuses to be recognized for heroism after an explosion in Chapter Nine that takes the lives of three men. He is wounded as well, but “would rather wait,” for medical attention, as “there are much worse wounded” than he. An English doctor scoffs, “Don’t be a bloody hero,” and falsely informs the Italian hands that “he is the legitimate son of President Wilson (58).” This elevated status brings Henry to the top of the list for treatment. Later, Henry’s friend Rinaldi informs him, “Everybody is proud of you…I am positive you will get the silver.” Rinaldi tries to play Henry up in order to win him a medal, but again, Henry quickly changes the subject (63). Henry’s humility is apparent; whether he is inherently shy or embarrassed by misleadingly brought-on attention is unclear. His position as an American certainly facilitates things, but Henry still refuses to accept his separateness.
Though divided by nationality, Henry manages to become friendly with the Italians in his troop. While drinking one night in Chapter Twelve, they ask Henry to predict the course of events regarding the war. He speculates, while drunk, that the United States will declare war on nearly everyone. The Italians are open to hearing and accepting Henry’s theories, which demonstrates their trust in the American opinion. They tend to value Henry’s opinion over their own. Henry is referred to as “Signor Tenente,” Mr. Lieutenant, not out of anonymity, but out of respect. His title commands respect, as there are many positions below him. When he is brought to an American hospital, he is, interestingly, refused a room (80). Henry is clearly unfit, but perhaps now that he is in an official manifestation of his own country, he is demoted from a type of celebrity to an equal.
Henry’s interactions with common Italians are similarly insightful. He often requests alcohol while in the hospital, against the nurses’ orders. The porter fetches drinks for Henry regardless (84). In Chapter Fourteen, Henry receives a rude visit from an Italian barber. The porter misinforms the barber that Henry is an Austrian officer; therefore, the barber’s speech is snappy and blunt. After learning Henry is American, the barber is unquestionably embarrassed. The porter resurfaces in Chapter Thirty-three. He and his wife constantly ask Henry if they can do anything for him, offer him breakfast, but always refuse pay. He leaves the porter’s for his friend’s house, Simmons, to get civilian clothes. Simmons welcomes Henry into his closet. Henry is noticeably uncomfortable in the clothes; he confirms this in the first sentence of Chapter Thirty-four: “In civilian clothes I felt a masquerader.” Aviators in the same train compartment as Henry avoided looking at him, and were “very scornful of a civilian [his] age (221).” When Henry transforms himself into a regular Italian, he falls dramatically on the social hierarchy.
Money (lire) is also a noteworthy component of Henry’s elevated status. Henry maintains this by always tipping generously or offering money during appropriate events. He tips the stretcher-bearers in the hospital, though they drop him numerous times, and is repeatedly saluted.
The young girls whom Bonello picks up in Chapter Twenty-nine are dismissed with a ten-lira note, and they held the money tightly and “looked back as though they were afraid [he] might take the money back (188).” Though Henry willingly hands out money, he is often refused. As mentioned before, the porter and his wife are willing only to give and not take (218). During a particularly awful hangover in Chapter Twelve, Henry tries to tip a soldier who has brought him a “pulpy orange drink,” but the soldier just shakes his head (76). This speaks much for the Italian people, who (among other things) are portrayed as unselfish. This also could indicate that some Italians, though undeniably poor, are somewhat embarrassed by Henry’s wealth. Henry’s bountiful wallet secures America in its higher status.
Sometimes it seems as if Henry has a real interest in integrating into the Italian culture, but continues to keep himself separate, American. Henry’s character advances from a meek expatriate to a commanding American. As he becomes more aware of his status, he progressively embraces the power handed to him by his nationality. He begins to not only accept, but enforce his authority. The one time he is challenged by two sergeants in Chapter Twenty-nine, Henry shoots them. “You’re not our officer,” they say, but this does not convince Henry to back down. He conquers the opposition with a pistol (186), and reaffirms all perceptions of himself as an American expatriate in the Italian army.
An essay on the narrative structre of A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway’s novel, A Farewell to Arms, follows a distinct narrative structure. Each component of the plot – exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution – is contained within a book. This definite sectioning allows the audience to follow and map the plot of the story.
The first book of the narrative contains the exposition, or introduction to the story. The protagonist, Lieutenant Frederic Henry, is an American serving in the Italian Navy during World War I. He is an officer working as an ambulance driver. Another central character, Catherine Barkley, is also introduced during this book. Catherine is a British nurse who volunteered to serve in the war. At this stage in the novel, the characters are in Italy, fighting to prevent the Austro-Hungarian forces from joining the Germans on the Western front. Although an initial conflict is not obvious, Hemingway emphasizes the scenery surrounding the war, suggesting that the war and Italy are central to the story line. At the end of this book, Frederic is wounded, and transferred to a hospital in Milan for x-rays and treatment. This shift in setting sets the stage for the next plot component.
The second book in the story encompasses the rising action. At this point in the story, Henry is in the hospital in Milan where he is told that he must wait six months before undergoing surgery. Feeling as though this recovery time is far too long, he meets with another doctor who agrees to expedite the process. In the mean time, Catherine is also transferred to the Milan hospital. At this time, the pair’s relationship becomes more serious and important to the story. Soon, the couple are deeply in love, and they spend most nights together. After many months, the time for Henry to return to the field approached. On one particular night, Catherine admits that she is three months pregnant, but insists that he should not worry on her behalf. The book ends with Henry on a train, returning to the front lines.
The climax of the story is contained within the third book. Upon his return to duty, Henry is instructed to go to the Bainsizza to take command of a fleet of ambulances. He spends the rest of the day catching up with old friends, and in the morning, sets off for his new command. The war is intensifying, and there are rumors that the Austrians have broken through the Italian lines. The next night, the Italian army begins to retreat, and Henry is instructed to leave the wounded soldiers and instead use the ambulances to carry hospital equipment. After spending hours on the road, stuck in an immotile caravan, Henry decides that if they are ever to make it to the fall back positions, the ambulances must take back roads. Almost to their destination, one of the ambulances gets stuck in the mud, and the group begins to hear bombing coming from the main road. Henry sees German soldiers and the group runs, although one soldier is shot in the process. Henry and the others spend the night in a barn. The next morning, they head for the Tagliamento River, and as they are crossing, a member of the police grabs Henry. He manages to escape by jumping into the river and eventually hopping a train. At the end of the book, he comes to the realization that he will not return to the army or see his comrades again, but comforts himself in imagining where he and Catherine will go once they are reunited.
Book Four follows the falling action of the story. The train drops Henry in Milan, where he changes into civilian clothing and learns that Catherine is in Stresa. In Stresa, the barman in Henry’s hotel offers to help Henry track down Catherine. He succeeds and sets off for her hotel. Catherine is with Miss Ferguson. The three share a meal before Catherine joins Henry at his hotel for the evening. The couple realizes that they must flee to Switzerland. A few days pass and one night, the barman warns that Henry is to be arrested in the morning. Henry borrows his boat and sets off. They row all night before arriving in Switzerland, and when they do, Catherine and Henry are arrested. The couple conceals their true identity and are released. They decide to continue onto Monetreux. This book concludes any lingering, major events and alludes to the final resolution of the story.
The fifth and final book of the narrative concludes in tragedy. Catherine and Henry spend many months together, happy, in Switzerland. As Catherine’s due date approaches, they move closer to the hospital. Early one morning, Catherine goes into a painful labor, and requires gas to lessen the intensity. Eventually, the doctor decides that a cesarean section is necessary. Henry does not want to go into the operating room with Catherine, and beforehand, she confides that she feels broken and may die. Catherine delivers a baby boy, whom Henry has no interest in. A nurse explains to him that the baby was a stillborn, and when Henry returns to Catherine’s room, he contemplates the finality and inevitability of death. The next morning, Catherine hemorrhages and fears she will die. She goes unconscious and continues hemorrhaging until she dies. Henry returns to her room to say goodbye, but finds little comfort in this. The story closes as he walks back to his hotel in the rain.
A Farewell to Arms follows a common narrative structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. He gives each component its own book, clarifying the plot and enhancing the story.
The Legacy of Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway is considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 21st century. Best known for his novels and short stories, he was a very gifted author and war correspondent. He was awarded many prizes in his lifetime including, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953.
His writing ability and uniqueness cannot be compared to any modern author we have today. Ernest Hemingway, an American journalist, short story writer, and journalist influenced the American literary scene by writers who consciously imitate his autobiographical style of writing and the impact his emotional life has on readers. Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park Illinois on July 21, 1899. He was the second child born to his mother Grace Hall Hemingway and his father Lawrence Edmonds Hemingway. Ernest grew up with four sisters until he was 15 years old when he got a much-desired brother. His mother, a religious woman, was active in church affairs and led her son to play the cello and sing in the school choir. Ernest came to admire his father, a physician, who taught him how to hunt and fish. In the summers, Ernest and his family enjoyed time in northern Michigan where he often attended his father on professional calls.
In high school, Ernest earned a popular reputation as a scholar and an athlete on the swim and football team. The beginning of his writing career began in the halls of his own school where he wrote the school newspaper called the Trapeze. Influenced by a popular author at the time named Ring Lardner, Ernest usually wrote humorous pieces. He graduated from Oak Park High School in 1917. Despite his success in high school, Ernest ran away from his home twice. Right out of high school, his first real chance to run away came in 1917 when the United States entered World War I. He was first denied entry into the military due to poor eyesight, which he inherited from his mother. Instead, he decided to get a job at a newspaper company called the Kansas City Star. Ernest wrote many short stories, short paragraphs, sentences, and comparisons. He was obligated to follow the companies guidelines, which helped him to develop his own personal, simple style of writing that would continue to influence millions in the future. He then volunteered for the American Red Cross as an ambulance driver in 1918.
While in combat, Ernest was badly injured by an exploding mortar shell. His legs were nearly blown off by the fragments and it required many surgeries to save them. Ernest received a medal from the Italian government because he was the first American soldier to be wounded in Italy since the start of World War I. During his recovery, Ernest met his first girlfriend named Agnes von Kurowsky. They vowed to spend the rest of their life together and even planned to get married once Ernest healed and moved back to the states. When the war ended in 1918, Ernest was eager to start his new life with Agnes in the United States. He moved back to his hometown only to find a letter from his girlfriend. She broke off the relationship and Ernest could not be any more devastated. He fell into a deep pit of depression. Moving back to the states was not as he was expecting because the excitement of Oak Park is nothing compared to the adventures he faced at war. Ernest lived about a year in his parents home recovering from the pain he experienced during the war. Hemingway soon found himself as a feature editor at the Toronto Star. Living in Chicago for work, he met the love of his life named Hadley Richardson. The two fell in love at first sight and exchanged wedding vows on September 1921. Shortly after that, Ernest received a promotion to work for Toronto Star in Europe. The couple moved to Paris, France where Ernest would experience the happiest years of his life.
One of Ernest Hemingway’s most renowned pieces of literature is A Farewell to Arms. This book is very much an autobiography of Ernest Hemingway himself. First published in 1929, A Farewell to Arms is set by an ambulance driver named Lieutenant Frederic Henry during the Italian campaign of World War I. It describes a love affair between Frederic and a nurse named Catherine Barkley. Frederic attempts to seduce Catherine, but is not looking for a serious relationship. His feelings grow for her when he is hit by a mortar shell and sent to a hospital in Milan where Catherine is working. Fredric spends the summer in the hospital, getting closer and closer to Catherine. After many months, Fredric’s knee heals and he is sent back to the front. A day after his leave, Catherine announces that she is three months pregnant. Fredric returns to his unit where he learns that Italian forces are under the threat of being defeated.
After the German troops began to break through the barricades, the Italians are ready to retreat. Fredric and a couple of other soldiers drive the ambulance and pick up a few lost sergeants and panicked girls. When they catch up to the other retreating soldiers, everything has fallen into anarchy. The police are taking people into custody for questioning but Fredric learns that, instead, they are being executed. The battle police take him in but, knowing this information, he escapes and jumps into the river. Fredric gets to a safe spot and then boards a train to go back to Milian. He reunites with Catherine for a while until he learns that he is about to be arrested.
The couple flees to Switzerland in a rowboat and comes to an agreement with the Swiss that allows them to freely stay in the country. The two lovers finally start their own, beautiful life for a couple of months. During the spring, Catherine goes into labor and the birth is much more difficult and painful than what was expected. She gives birth to a healthy, baby boy but dies of a hemorrhage later that night. Fredric struggles to say goodbye to Catherine and he and the baby walk back to the hotel in the rain. One of the biggest themes in this story is the depressing reality of how life at war actually is. Most people do not really think about how chaotic war can be. They don’t really expect the same team to kill other members on their side. The scene after the retreat proves this perfectly. The soldiers were outraged that they had to retreat from the battle so they began to execute the people who they thought was behind it, hence their own fellow soldiers. Another notable aspect from the story is that fact that it is in first person. The narrator is an omniscient narrator who tells the story in past tense. It can be thought of as a memorial to Catherine, the baby, for all the fallen soldiers, or a combination of the three. Ernest Hemingway cannot deny the fact that he was in war himself and much of the words in the book are about his own life-changing experiences.
Another distinguished story written by Hemingway is The Old Man and the Sea. Written in 1951 and published in 1952, it tells the story of Santiago, a Cuban fisherman who struggles to catch a fish after many years of bad luck. A young neophyte by the name of Manolin has been accomponing Santiago on his luckless fishing trips. He has been forbidden by his parents to fish with Santiago, but instead to fish with a more accomplished fisherman. Despite the fact, Manolin still visits Santiago and helps with the fishing gear. Santiago soon decides to go out into the middle of the Gulf Stream, confident that he will finally catch a fish after eighty-four days. The next day, he takes his boat far into the middle of the Gulf and sets out his line. Around noon, Santiago catches a huge fish that is surely a Marlin. Unable to reel it in with the size of the fish, he holds on the fishing pole for two days and two nights. The third day, the fish eases on the line and Santiago uses his last remaining strength to pull it toward the top of the water and kill it with a harpoon. He drags it into the boat and sets sail for home.
During the sail back, Santiago is visited by multiple sharks who are attracted by the Marlin’s blood. He kills off many of the sharks but they eventually overtake him and eat away all the flesh from the fish. Santiago finally arrives home and falls into a deep sleep. When he awakes, he finds an abundant amount of tourists gathering around his fish skeleton. One of the tourists measured the Marlin to be about eighteen feet long. Manolin is relieved to see that Santiago has returned home after worrying for many days. He brings Santiago the local newspaper and some coffee and the two decide to fish together again, as a team. Throughout the entire story, Santiago shows a great amount of perseverance. He does not give up after not catching single fish for eighty-four days. He never lets the fishing pole go when he couldn’t reel in the Marlin. And he tries everything he could to not let the sharks have his fish. Perseverance is a major character trait that our society lacks. If something is hard, most people will give up. They don’t want to try to do something if it is too hard for them.
Another major symbolism in this story is Santiago’s relationship with the natural world. He talks about the birds in the sky as if they were his friends, the sharks as personal enemies, and the sea as a woman. He justifies peoples actions by saying that it is what they are born to do. This symbolism shows a great amount of characterization about Ernest Hemingway himself. Hemingway expressed a great deal on how he felt about the world. He writes constantly about his opinions on the world and how people behave in the world. Hemingway, like many other authors, uses his writing as a platform to uphold the beliefs that he views as correct, reasonable, and fair. Ernest Hemingway, as successful as he was, fought a battle with mental health issues and depression that were never addressed by the people in his life.
When he was found dead in his Idaho home in 1961, his wife was very reluctant to accept that the actual cause of his death was by suicide. She insisted to all his family and reporters that his death was by accident. She claimed that he was cleaning one of his guns when his hand slipped on the trigger and accidentally shot him in the head. It took a couple months for Mrs. Hemingway to finally admit that her husband intentionally killed himself. His father, Dr. Clarence Hemingway, was usually very strict and reportedly beat this children on multiple occasions. He was not very loving and caring as a father should be. While living in Florida, Ernest received the news about his father’s suicide. He admittedly blamed his mother as the cause of his father’s suicide which built up a bitter anger toward her.
After his father killed himself in 1928, Ernest wrote in a letter to his mother in law, I’ll probably go the same way. Pain suffered from childhood will haunt you through your entire life. Hemingway reportedly began to drink more and become more violent after the death of his father. Many suspect that the Hemingway family suffered from mental health issues. There have been at least five recorded suicides stretching over about four generations. Ernest’s father, siblings Ernest, Ursula, Leices, and his granddaughter Margaux. Ernest’s youngest son, Gregory, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, making him the third generation of male Hemingways to undergo the illness.
Ernest suffered from alcoholism and mood swings throughout his entire life. He attempted to ease his pain by writing, drinking alcohol, huning, and fishing, but eventually the overwhelming pain in his life caught up to him. His writing styles were usually very disheartening as a way to let out his painful moods and suicidal impulses. This style of writing moved the hearts of all Americans and inspired us to live a better life. Ernest Hemingway was found dead on July 2, 1961. He was 61 years old. There is no doubt that Ernest Hemingway shaped the way we see modern, American literature. He introduced us to new and innovative styles of writing. He was one of the most personal writers in history due to his autobiographical style of writing. Hemingway’s life has impacted millions around the world. Every person can find some way to relate to the life of Ernest Hemingway, from his love of the outdoors, his wife and family, his personal struggles, or even his writings.
Each event that happened in his life shaped him into the outstanding writer that we now know of today. Ever since his death in 1961, many authors have wrote about Hemingway’s entire life from birth to death. There is such of an abundance of information that comes from Hemingway’s life that nobody has truly gotten every detail perfect. No other author can ever compare to the uniqueness of writing that was Ernest Hemingway. Writers have tried to imitate his autobiographical style of writing, but have never succeeded in influencing the American literary scene as much as Hemingway has done. The legacies that Ernest Hemingway has left behind will never be forgotten.
Frederick Henry in A “Farewell to Arms”
The most compelling character in A Farewell to Arms was Frederick Henry. The main conflict he faces is his inability to choose between Catharine or serving the military. Henry is almost constantly at a crossroads.
He could be a peaceful, god loving man, like the priest, or have a pleasant disposition with an inclination to violence like Rinaldi. In the end, the only thing he worships is Catharine, and the only physically violent act he commits is killing the sergeant. He is a fully realized creation who is three dimensional and he feels real. He’s a deserter who drinks and lies, but he also wanted to do right by helping soldiers as an ambulance driver, and he almost never fights with Catharine. When he does finally fall in love with her for real, he feels guilty for treating her poorly, suddenly I felt lonely and empty. I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly, (Hemingway, 44). Her death only amplifies every slight he committed towards her.
A Farewell to Arms is written from a first person perspective. Frederick is an alcoholic, and heavily traumatized from both the war and the death of Catharine. This has the building blocks for an unreliable narrator, but as the book progresses Frederick admits to lying, and it allows the reader to trust him more. I had not killed any but I was anxious to pleaseand I said I had killed plenty, (Hemingway, 101). He even admits to things he thinks are shameful, like resenting the baby Catharine was pregnant with. The mood and tone swing wildly from Frederick’s despair, to domesticity with Catharine, and back to despair again. The use of weather to dictate the mood in a scene has the reader on edge whenever rain is mentioned, and lulled into a false sense of security whenever it snows. The emotional roller coaster has a strong effect on the reader. Hemingway writes with heavy dialogue, and it gives the book a more modern feel, but it comes at the expense of roundabout conversations that could have been much shorter. The dialogue between Catherine and Frederick feels more like a mantra in the beginning, as if by saying they only have eyes for one another, it would breathe some life into the game that they play. Their romance as a whole is unappealing, but it helps Frederick become more appealing. He views the war in a journalistic, objective way. In one passage his morning breakfast is held at the same thematic level as living through a bombing. That’s not to say it had no effect on him, but rather that he views it as something of a background hum in most of his life, rather than a catastrophic event.
The setting of A Farewell to Arms is spread out across Italy and Switzerland in the early 1900’s during world war one. All of the characters are in some way affected by this. A stable marriage isn’t something many of the soldiers can rely on, so they turn to the prostitutes. Having casual sex with no emotional connection leads Frederick to become immature when it comes to forming a romantic relationship with a woman. Rinaldi’s punishment is syphilis, and it is heavily implied that Catharine’s sex with Frederick outside of wedlock is the cause of her stillborn baby, and eventually her death.
Weather is an important motif in A Farewell to Arms. Typically, rain would be a harbinger of new growth, or it is equated to a baptismal thunderstorm. Snow is usually something to be feared, and is associated with hypothermia and death. Hemingway turns this on it’s head. The snow is what causes the fighting to cease, There will be no more offensive now that the snow has come,”” (Hemingway, 8). The rain is what must be feared. Catharine confesses that she sometimes has visions of Frederick dead in the rain, which makes the symbolism clear to the reader. Weather also plays a crucial role during Catharine’s labour. The fog in the mountains during their retreat turns to rain, a sense of foreboding arises. It rains through most of her operation, and the ray of sunshine that appears fades just as quickly as it came. When Frederick is told that Catherine has died from her hemorrhage, he walks back to his hotel in the rain.
All of the men in A Farewell to Arms fulfill the traditional role of war hardened men. They drink, they have sex, they fight, but they aren’t all caricatures of masculinity. Their depictions always come at the expense of their foil. Rinaldi’s prowess with women contrasts with the priest’s chastity, and the surgeon seems so capable because he has the three meek doctors behind him. Rinaldi is physically affectionate and cares deeply for Frederick. Eventually Frederick learns to love Catherine. The women on the other hand, often fill the role of either a prostitute or a nurse. They mostly abide by strict morals. Catherine offhandedly mentions that she feels dirty for having sex outside of wedlock, and Helen is scandalized when she learns that Catherine is pregnant.