• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A Farewell To Arms Analysis. Throughout the novel A Farewell to Arms the main characters search for some type of tranquilizer to help them deal with the war.

Extracts from this document...


A Farewell to Arms Throughout the novel A Farewell to Arms the main characters search for some type of tranquilizer to help them deal with the war. Each character is search of something that will make them feel better about the horrors of the war going on around them. Hemingway shows how the cruelest realities can permeate and destroy the illusions that the characters construct to alleviate their pains. The story takes place during World War I; which is a time full of disillusion, sadness and loneliness. The protagonist, also serving as the narrator, is Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver serving in the Italian war. Frederic is a classic Hemingway male character. He is a man of stoic action with his own convictions of honor. In the beginning of the novel he displays these many attributes, but he eventually evolves in the course of the reading. He gives up his macho pretentiousness and womanizing ways in return for a life with Catherine. Catherine Barkley is an English nurse that Frederic falls madly in love with. Rinaldi, is a surgeon and also a friend of Henry's and finally there is the Priest, that becomes in some way a confidant to Frederic. The novel principally is a love story that describes the transformation of Frederic and Catherine's feelings of flirtatiousness to a deep enduring love. The war itself serves as an instrument for bringing them together as well as temporary separating them. ...read more.


After Henry sustains his injuries, Catherine is there to take care of him. Before long, their flirtations turn to true feelings for one another. The love that began as a diversion for the both of them, becomes something powerful that helps to keep them going. Their bond helps provides both of them as a means of escaping the harsh realities that surround them. Catherine is a compelling character in the story. From the beginning, the reader is made to believe that she is to some extent, insane. When she divulges the loss of her fianc´┐Ż, we then can understand her behavior is associated with her grief. Catherine uses her physical attributes to seduce men as her coping mechanism. Like Henry, she originally views the relationship as a flirtatious diversion, but quickly comes to view it as a powerful force in her life. The love that they share eventually allows them to move forward. At some point, however, instead of being a comforting force, it also becomes something that they need to find a distraction from. Henry tries to keep his mind off of Catherine when he is in the process of running away. I could remember Catherine but I knew I would get crazy if I though about her when I was not sure yet I would see her, so I would not think about her, only about her a little. ...read more.


It is always there, just not as a foremost reality. The idea is both love and war lead to sadness from which there is no escape. Actions and words that lead to some relief are only temporary. In the end, none of it really matters. Catherine says it best when she says "it's just a dirty trick" (Hemingway 296). The most tragic part of the story is that when Catherine and Henry finally escaped the war to live a life they had dreamed of in Switzerland, Catherine and the baby die in childbirth. In the end, Henry realizes that everything falls short. No one comes away in the end with any time of new knowledge or control, we only come away broken and lost. He tried to alleviate Catherine's labor pains by increasing the gas higher and higher, but the end result was still the same, she died. It is evident throughout the novel that he to tries to "turn up the gas" on his own life when things became too much to bear, but eventually he too ended up alone in the rain. The need for escape is evident with all of the characters in the book, but they all end up "dead" in some way. Rinaldi and Catherine actually die physically and Henry and the Priest die emotionally. The final result is that no matter how much you try to escape, ignore, and relieve pain, there is no actual escape. Life is cruel and we all must face its harsh realities. This story seemed to mirror Hemingway's own disillusionment with life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Ernest Hemingway section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Ernest Hemingway essays

  1. A Farewell to Arms.

    This controversy with Helen only further illustrated the fact that Catherine was a non-conformist to the traditional moral values of the day. The most important characteristic required of a Hemingway hero" was discipline. Self-discipline was a value, which grows out of one's essential being.

  2. Symbolism in Cat in the Rain

    state of the central character, the American wife and contribute to the meaning of the story as a whole. Moreover, the first paragraph also sets a certain tension. There is not a hint of humour through the story. Even when the maid laughs because the American wife is looking for

  1. Critical Analysis of Soldier's Home

    This woman left Hemingway for an older man, leaving Hemingway heartbroken. All of these experiences made the nineteen-year-old Hemingway turn into a man far beyond his years. The main character Harold Krebs is very much the same as Hemingway. He was raised in a strict religious family in an upper-middle class town.

  2. An example of Hemmingway writing positively is when he writes about the reaction of ...

    Marjorie may also be happy because she feels that everything is okay; that she is fishing - a hobby she loves to do - 'She loves to fish'; that she is with a man she loves and that he is being romantic. She could be saying 'I know it' sarcastically.

  1. Hemingway's graphic portrait of the lost and wounded post-World War I generation presented in ...

    Strikingly, even Lady Ashley admits that going to San Sebastian with Cohn was the lowest thing she has ever done and that "nobody else [except Cohn] would behave as badly" (Hemingway 182). The narrator is very thorough in shaping his stereotype, he doesn't overlook any modest details that appear in Rosenberg's model of a Jewish stereotype.

  2. The Code Hero in The Sun Also Rises

    In creating this false reality, Jake continues his struggle to live despite the agony of his debilitating wound. Jake uses women to earn gratification in the face of his constant struggle. The hero illustrates this characteristic through his interaction with the French prostitute, Georgette.

  1. Study Questions for the Short Story, "Hills Like White Elephants" by Hemingway

    are even now, before any firm decision has been spoken, irrevocably out of reach. When the man says that he will go along with whatever she wants, the woman asks him to "please please please please please please please stop talking" or she will scream.

  2. The Change in Frederick Henry in "A Farewell to Arms"

    As the story continues it seems he?s not as strong when he finds himself deeply in love with an English nurse, Catherine. Catherine is the same English nurse that Rinaldi liked. He becomes so miserable being apart from Catherine, while at war; he abandons his men and escapes to safety in Switzerland with Catherine.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work