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Catherine’s Attitute Towards Frederic And How She Is Presented In Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms

1114 words - 5 pages

World War I began in 1914 and lasted until the end of 1918. In that time young men had to go to the front and fight for their country. It is also the time when Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms takes place. It talks about Frederic Henry, a young American who is an ambulance driver for the Italian army. He is also the novel’s narrative and protagonist. He falls in love with an English nurse, Catherine Barkley. She is the main woman character in the novel and it is noticeable how she is shown as a stereotypical female during World War I. Throughout the novel we can see how women are shown in a stereotypical way and how they were mistreated by men. The purpose of this essay is firstly ...view middle of the document...

American society was, in effect, divided into male and female spheres, each sphere being associated with certain gendered values.
Assadnassab (2005, 6)
This shows the common thinking that women do not belong in professions that were initially meant to be done by men.
When Henry returns form his leave, he meets Catherine Barkley. At first they both just want to have fun to take their minds off their personal problems. Henry comments his relationship with Catherine:
“I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards. Like bridge you had to pretend you were playing for money or playing for some stakes. Nobody had mentioned what the stakes were. It was all right with me.”
Hemingway (534)
Henry goes back to the battlefield, where he gets wounded and then brought to a hospital in Milan to recover. There he finds out that Catherine has been transferred to Milan and begins his healing under her care. Catherine would do anything to please Henry and it can be seen how Henry takes advantage of her to work night shifts in order to stay with him and have sex with him.
Even when their relationship intensifies and Henry falls in love with Catherine she is willing to do anything for him. After his leg has healed, Henry is given three weeks of convalescence leave, which is then revoked, because he got jaundice from drinking. Before he had to return to the front, Catherine reveals to him that she is pregnant and she does not want to make trouble for him.
“I’m going to have a baby, darling. It’s almost three months along. You’re not worried, are you? Please please don’t. You mustn’t worry.” “All right.” “Is it all right?” “Of course.” “I did everything. I took everything but it didn’t make any difference.” “I’m not worried.” “I couldn’t help it, darling, and I haven’t worried about it. You mustn’t worry or feel badly.” “I only worry about you.” “That’s it. That’s what you mustn’t do. People...

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