Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms - Apathy or Self Preservation? Essay

Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms - Apathy or Self Preservation? Essay

Length: 1046 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A Farewell to Arms: Apathy or Self Preservation?

 
Lieutenent Frederic Henry goes through hell in Hemingway's celebrated pacifist novel, A Farewell to Arms, yet as each crisis sweeps him along, it doesn't seem to quite register. He tells the story a decade later which could partly explain the baldness of statements like this one: "But [the cholera] was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army" (4). He describes the horrors of war in bare and matter-of-fact tones while waxing most eloquent about the countryside or food and drink. He often even recounts times spent with Catherine in a flat and uninflected voice. Is he simply a passive observer, content to let the traumas of war buffet him from one place and mindset to another? Perhaps his almost monotone narration is less apathy than a defense mechanism that has allowed him to survive the shattering experiences of war and loss.

 

The opening chapters focus so intently on the surrounding countryside, the forests and valleys and the villas in which Henry and his fellow ambulance drivers live, that the war almost seems incidental. He even notes the possibility of an Austrian occupation of the town with some complacency, "I was very glad the Austrians seemed to want to come back to the town some time, if the war should end, because they did not bombard it to destroy it but only a little in a military way" (5). This is a man who does his job, doesn't question authority and makes the best of the situation at hand.

 

It is never explained outright why Henry, an American, is driving ambulance for the Italian army, but mention is made of family disputes and an architectural study in Rome cut short by the war. So this is also a man who seems to...


... middle of paper ...


...d States after the war. The war has returned to background status and is only mentioned as something that is read about in the papers; Henry's feelings about this are mentioned, but not extensively.

 

In the tragic closing of the story, as he comes to realize that Catherine is dying, again he retreats to recounting meals, drinks, who he sees in the tavern, in marvelous detail. Even as he agonizes "But what if she should die? She won't die. She's all right.  But what if she should die?" there's still that sense of detachment (321). After she has died, he sees her as a statue and saying good-by "wasn't any good"(332). He walks out into the rain, having sown the seeds of his survival by remaining somewhat apart from the mayhem and the passion and the need for connection.

 

Works Cited:

Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner's, 1929.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Code Hero Frederic Henry in Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms Essay

- In Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, the code hero is the protagonist Lieutenant Frederic Henry. Frederic is no exception and presents with the common features of any Hemingway hero. He treats women as mere objects of sexual pleasure, religion and the afterlife as inconsequential, and defeat with a measure of grace and finesse incomparable. His love for Catherine Barkley is sexually motivated, the author consistently casts a level of skepticism on religion through Frederic and his interactions, and even while facing the death of his child and beloved Catherine, Frederic walks away evidently unfazed....   [tags: character analysis, literary criticism]

Strong Essays
609 words (1.7 pages)

A Farewell Of Arms By Ernest Hemingway Essay examples

- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is a novel set in Italy during World War I. It tells the story of its protagonist, an ambulance driver named Frederic Henry (most often referred to as simply Henry), and his love for a nurse named Catherine Barkley during a time in which Henry has sought to escape from the war around him. A Farewell to Arms, which is notable for its melancholy plot, strongly resembles some aspects of Hemingway’s own life; he committed suicide after a lifelong case of depression, and he too experienced the tragedies of war....   [tags: A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway]

Strong Essays
1449 words (4.1 pages)

A Farewell Of Arms, By Ernest Hemingway Essay

- In the novel A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway expresses love and relationships in many forms. The role of love moves the plot forward in the novel. The first example of love is shown when Henry dreams of Catherine in his sleep and talks aloud about her, “ You’re so lovely and sweet. You wouldn’t go away in the night, would you. Of course I wouldn’t go away. I’m always here. I come whenever you want me.” (Hemingway, 197- 198). When Henry is dreaming about Catherine it shows that he misses her when he is away fighting in the war....   [tags: Marriage, Love, Ernest Hemingway]

Strong Essays
1338 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Ernest Hemingway and A Farewell To Arms

- Ernest Hemingway and A Farewell To Arms      "We did not do the things we wanted to do; we never did such things" (Hemingway 13). This single sentence voiced early in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms by the American protagonist, Lieutenant Frederic Henry, sums up the rather pessimistic and drab tone and mood presented in Hemingway's works, particularly this novel, which also reflects the pessimistic and judgmental mind housed within the author. Regardless of the unhappy circumstances and heart-breaking situations which prevail throughout the novel, A Farewell To Arms certainly deserves a place in a listing of works of high literary merit....   [tags: Farewell Arms Essays]

Strong Essays
3202 words (9.1 pages)

A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway Essay

- A Farewell to Arms is a novel by Ernest Hemingway about an American ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, and the nurse, Catherine Barkley, with whom he falls in love. The story is narrated by his driver, named Frederic Henry. Whether or not this book is truly an anti-war novel is debatable, but it well depicts the effects an ongoing war has on soldiers and how the men try to numb this pain. Henry's close friend at the front, Rinaldi, forgets the war with the help of sex and seduction, the priest takes comfort in God, the Captain has humor and jokes about the priest, and almost all drink profusely, taking wine and brandy like water....   [tags: Farewell Arms Hemingway]

Strong Essays
1859 words (5.3 pages)

Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms Essay

- The setting of A Farewell to Arms is Italy, where they were fighting Austria, during World War I. The story is about Frederick Henry, an American, who served as a lieutenant in the Italian army to a group of ambulance drivers. At the start of the novel, Frederick was a drunk who traveled from one house of prostitution to the next. Yet he was discontent with his unsettled lifestyle. Frederick meets Catherine Barkley an English volunteer nurse, who serves in Italy, at a near by hospital. In the first few chapters, Frederick’s life is seeing Miss Barkley, drinking with the others at his barracks, and driving the ambulance....   [tags: A Farewell to Arms Essays]

Strong Essays
1772 words (5.1 pages)

Essay about A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

- I have read the book ”A Farewell to Arms” written by Ernest Hemingway in 1929. Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 in Illinois, USA. When he was young the First World War broke out and he decided to join the Italian army as an ambulance driver. After the war he worked as a correspondent in Europe. As a correspondent he visited France, Spain and Greece, and among other things reported from the Spanish Civil War. He stayed in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. In addition to his work as a journalist he began writing books....   [tags: Hemingway Farewell Arms Book Report]

Free Essays
1517 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Imagery in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms

- Imagery in A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway        Imagery placed strategically through the novel A Farewell to Arms shows how well Ernest Hemingway is able to prepare the reader for events to come. Catherine Barkley, the English nurse who falls in love with Fredric Henry, an American in the Italian army, states, "I'm afraid of the rain" (125), as they stay in Milan. She goes on to explain "I'm afraid of the rain because sometimes I see me dead in it. ... And sometimes I see you dead in it" (126)....   [tags: A Farewell to Arms]

Strong Essays
3707 words (10.6 pages)

Essay on Religion in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms

- The Role of Religion in A Farewell to Arms       Religion played a significant role in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. The attitudes that the character had towards the war and life were closely associated with their views on religion. Due to extreme circumstances of war, moral standards were obscure for the characters. Almost everything related to the war violated the normal code of morality, which led many to feel disenchanted. Those who viewed the war as senseless had no faith in God or religion....   [tags: Hemingway A Farewell to Arms]

Strong Essays
1984 words (5.7 pages)

Essay on The Symbolism of Water in A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

- The Symbolism of Water in A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, is a story about love and war. Frederic Henry, a young American, works as an ambulance driver for the Italian army in World War I. He falls tragically in love with a beautiful English nurse, Miss Catherine Barkley. This tragedy is reflected by water. Throughout the novel Ernest Hemingway uses water as metaphors. Rivers are used as symbols of rebirth and escape and rain as tragedy and disaster, which show how water plays an important role in the story....   [tags: A Farewell to Arms]

Strong Essays
599 words (1.7 pages)