Love And War In A Farewell To Arms

3937 words - 16 pages

Introduction: A Farewell to Arms is divided into five books. In the first book, Rinaldi introduces Frederic Henry to Catherine Barkley; Frederic attempts to seduce her, and their relationship begins. While on the Italian front, Frederic is wounded in the knee by a mortar shell and sent to a hospital in Milan. The second book shows the growth of Frederic and Catherine's relationship as they spend time together in Milan over the summer. Frederic falls in love with Catherine and, by the time he is healed, Catherine is three months pregnant. In the third book, Frederic returns to his unit, but not long afterwards the Austrians break through the Italian lines in the Battle of Caporetto, and the Italians retreat. Frederic kills an engineering sergeant for insubordination. After falling behind and catching up again, Frederic is taken to a place by the "battle police", where officers are being interrogated and executed for the "treachery" that supposedly led to the Italian defeat. However, after seeing and hearing that everyone interrogated is killed, Frederic escapes by jumping into a river. In the fourth book, Catherine and Frederic reunite and flee to Switzerland in a rowboat. In the final book, Frederic and Catherine live a quiet life in the mountains until she goes into labor. After a long and painful birth, their son is stillborn. Catherine begins to hemorrhage and soon dies, leaving Frederic to return to their hotel in the rain.
Love in the novels of Hemingway is not a sentimental affair where lovers cry and long for one another. His concept of love unlike that of Charles Dickens is realistic and an urgent need of body and mind which explains why lovers in the novels of Hemingway form sexual and emotional intimacy. Love like war takes place and is a stormy affair and just as war ends in time so does love end in separation or death.

Hemingway’s own Experience Delineated: The presentation of war in ‘A Farewell to Arms’ is so realistic that one is compelled to believe that it was a way of finding a release for his turmoil of war for Hemingway. His impression was so deep and find as to make it seems that the war experience released rather than inhibited them. Voltaire that if there had been no war it would have been necessary for Hemingway to invent one.

Depiction of the Horrors of War and Disintegration of Human Values: ‘A Farewell to Arms’ presents a world in which destruction is the ruling motive. A horrifying description of death, destruction and despair covers the major portion of the book. The opening paragraph of novel itself hints at the disintegration impact of war. The quiet but pregnant statement at the end of the first chapter,

“At the start of the winter come the perm ant rain and with the rain came cholera”

But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army, leaves nobody in any doubt what is there to follow in the rest of the book –...

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