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Farewell To Arms


Ernest Hemingway^s A Farewell to Arms captures the inspiring
trials and tribulations of a disillusioned man caught between
love and war. Driving an ambulance on the Italian front of
World War One Frederick Henry discovers his values as he
realizes his love for Catherine Barkley, a innocent English

An American Second Lieutenant in the Italian Army^s Ambulance
Corps, Frederick Henry is depicted as an average man in search
of a set of values. Initially Frederick is lonely, lustful,
confused and restless, but as he becomes involved with
Catherine Barkley he finds his niche, and a meaning to life.
Frederick can be considered heroic in that he is honorable, not
interested in material commodities, and puts his fellow soldier
before himself. When the entire mess hall teases the priest
Frederick defends him and is his only true friend. Also, when
offered an award, Frederick refuses. Additionally, when he and
the other drivers were bombed, he ignores his own injuries to
assist the others and insists that the doctors treat others
before himself. Catherine Barkley is a young English nurse who
has already lost a fianc to the war and is introduced as
partially crazy. She begins her relationship with Frederick
pretending, he is her lost fianc who has returned, but soon
falls! in love with him and regains her sanity. Throughout
the story Catherine remains static, and represents the ideal Hemingway
character that Frederick is to become as the novel comes to an end.

The basic plot of the novel revolves around Frederick^s
relationship with Catherine. Frederick experiences the war in
the Italian Alps and sustains a leg injury that hospitalizes
him for several months. Although he knew Catherine before his
hospitalization, their relationship blossoms during this period
when he is away from the front. Soon after his return to the
front, there is a huge retreat and he takes his ambulance crew
on a back road to get around traffic. When he finally does
make it back to the army he is forced to desert in fear of
execution. He finds Catherine and they begin a new life
together in Switzerland. Ultimately, Frederick learns his
basic values through Catherine in their adventures of love,
war, and death during World War One. The theme shown is that
love can come from even the strangest places, also there is a
basic good versus evil shown by the dramatic tragedy at the

A Farewell to Arms is a very emotional and understanding
story. Throughout the book Frederick acted as a confused hero
with Catherine as his guidance. Frederick is very realistic
and while he is a better man than the average he has several
flaws. Catherine on the other hand is entirely too perfect.
She seems almost supernatural, like an angel at times.
Initially when she is a little insane her character was more
believable. The story is written in the first person narrative
where Frederick is the narrator and sometimes refers to future
events. Overall, A Farewell to Arms is an excellent book that
while not always action packed kept me reading and surprised me
many times.



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