“A Farewell to Arms” written by Ernest Hemingway in 1929 attracted much critical acclaim and theoretical interpretation helping to understand the author’s message to the readers the overall importance of the literary work in the world. The events of the novel took place during the First World War in Italy revolving around Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver working for the Italian Army and being wounded on the front. Another very important character in the novel was Catherine Barkley, the nurse taking care of Frederic while he was in the hospital in Milan. They soon becomed involved in a romantic relationship. This paper will focus on the Psychoanalytic and Feminist theories helping to understand the basic meaning of the novel and characters’ roles in the plot, characterized by the continuous interaction with each other and specific conflicts.
Ernest Hemingway always paid much attention to the conflict between people and the world bringing several challenges to people affecting their physical and emotional state of health rather negatively. Wars are some of these conflicts, changing people’s life and affecting their perception of the surrounding reality. The novel described the in war period, a period characterized by desperation, loneliness, and other feelings experienced by people either directly involved in the battlefield or indirectly taking care for those wounded in the front or simply losing their friends, relatives and beloved persons at war. Psychoanalytic theory was mostly based on the issues experienced by Frederic and Catherine, the major characters of the novel under analysis. People living during that period of time tried to find some form of anesthetics helping them to deal with the cruelty of war and suffering brought by this military conflict.
This being the case, people living during that period of time simply had to learn to live with such feelings and emotions overcoming the challenges and problems of the war. All people in Hemingway's novel tried to find their own way to escape the war and negative consequences brought by it. WWI did not only bring physical damage to people but also emotional one ruining people’s lives and relationships giving no chance to recover from such issues. Realities of the harsh world full of brutality were described in the novel showing its impact and negative associations experienced by ordinary people, characterized by different religious beliefs, ethnicity, age, and other issues.
The fact that Frederic Henry was an American, he did not experience as much involvement and passion to win the war fighting on the Italian side. In addition, Henry did not value his life greatly, until he met Catherine and fell in love with her. Hemingway clarified the nature of love in the novel stating that “when you love you wish to do things for, you wish to sacrifice for, you wish to serve” (Hemingway 70). Love really changed Henry greatly, as well as his perception of other people and the surrounding...