A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is a love and war novel about the love between lieutenant Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley, an English nurse. Love plays a critical role in this novel. When Frederic and Catherine first encounter each other, they immediately become invested in eachothers lives. However, Catherine is skeptical about an incoming relationship because prior to Henry she was engaged to a soldier who tragically passed away at war. This event changed her perspective on love. She did not want to marry Henry because of what happened to her fianc?©, however, she did love Henry deeply and tried to do everything in her power to please him. Frederic slowly begins to fall in love with the English nurse. For example on page 41 the reader is able to acknowledge that he feels lonely without Catherine. Frederic said, I went out the door and suddenly I felt lonely and empty. I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly. I had gotten somewhat drunk and had nearly forgotten to come but when I could not see her there I was feeling lonely and hollow. The couple become infatuated with each other and fell completely in love. Frederic did not plan on finding love at first, he did not like commitment and was more a player and a drinker. He was very surprised when he fell deeply in love with Catherine. On page 93 he states, God knows I didn’t mean to fall in love with her.
The love that Frederic had for Catherine came with a lifestyle change and brought order to his life. Love made the couple do courageous things for one another. Such as long distance while Frederic is away at war. Also Catherine was deeply brave when it came to being apart for many years and knowing that her loved one could be in danger. However, their love for eachother grew stronger and stronger. The love that the two shared for one another changed their perceptions of war in a drastic way. For example, the couple ran away together to get away from the fighting war. Frederic only cared about Catherine and their baby that was on the way. Frederic never liked the idea of war or fighting in it, however, after meeting and falling in love with Catherine, he disliked the idea of war even more. On page 49 Henry states, I believe we should get the war over. it would not finish if one side stopped fighting. It would only be worse if we stopped fighting. The couple just wanted to get away from war. The war shaped the couples love story. If it was not for the war, Frederic and Catherine would not have met and fell in love. Because of the war, their love story had many ups and downs and was very chaotic and challenging. The couple went through long distance, went without seeing each other for years, and went through danger together. The war taught the couple to love one another through any challenge that came their way like rowing away in a boat while pregnant and being away from each other for years.
The war shaped their love story as the amazing, challenging, and loving love story that it was. 2. F. Scott Fitzgerald was and still is a very popular American fiction writer. However, he believed that Catherine’s character was a weak link in this novel. Critics think that Catherine is not fully believable for the reader. Fitzgerald said, Catherine was the weak link in A Farewell to Arms and I think I’m inclined to agree. She seems to be slightly unnatural, maybe a bit one dimensional. What is she really like? I have no idea. Fitzgerald thought that the readers couldn’t understand who she really was because she was too willing to please Henry. For example, Catherine did not have any religion and she told Henry, You’re my religion. She wants Henry to know that he is all she believes and cares for. Catherine was always trying to please Henry and to not make him have any troubles or go through much work. For example, when she was pregnant as told Henry, I’ll try and not make any trouble for you. I know I’ve made trouble now. But haven’t I always been a good girl until now? She did not want the pregnancy to trouble and worry Henry. This quote shows how much Catherine wanted to please Henry. Hemingway portrays Catherine as a caring English nurse who has gone through a tragedy a while back. She is also portrayed as a very brave woman. Catherine traveled to many different countries to cure patients.
She works tirelessly, especially during her pregnancy taking care of injured or ill soldiers. She also was able to row a boat while being pregnant and without complaining. For example, she offered to row the boat and said, Nonsense. Rowing in moderation is very good for the pregnant lady. She was a very brave and strong person. She was formally engaged to a soldier who tragically passed away at war. This dismal event changed Catherine into a mature, independent women who knew how to handle disappointing and sad changes in life and who was able to unknowingly change Henry’s player ways. Catherine’s past experiences with engagement made her decide that she did not want to get married to Henry. She thinks that being married to Henry would keep them from being together during the war. According to Catherine they did not need to get married because We’re really married. I couldn’t be any more married. Catherine felt that they were already married and they did not have the need to do the real thing. Also her last experience of her fianc?© is what is keeping her from marrying Henry. I do not agree with Fitzgerald’s opinion of Catherine’s character being a weak link in this novel. I disagree because Catherine is just trying to please and take care of Henry because of all the love she has for him and because she does not want to lose another loved one like what had happened to her fiance.
She is a very brave and strong character in this novel. She can handle disappointment and is very independent when she needs to be. 3. In this novel, A Farewell to Arms, foreshadowing plays a very crucial role. It especially plays an important role in the outcome of Henry and Catherine’s life. Foreshadowing is a writing technique used to help the reader anticipate the outcome of an situation. Hemingway uses setting and foreshadowing techniques to make the readers feel the suspense about what is about to occur. In this novel foreshadowing can be interpreted in many different ways and there are many examples of it in this novel. In this novel, Hemingway subtly signaled the reader, using foreshadowing, that Catherine was going to die during childbirth. This changes the reader’s perspective and approach when they reach the ending of the novel. On approaching the final chapters, the readers can interpret that something bad is going to happen to Catherine.
There are many examples of foreshadowing throughout this novel. These examples help the readers infer what will happen in the upcoming chapters. Throughout the novel Catherine kept on insisting that’s she is afraid of the rain. She tried to deny it, however, she knew she was terrified of it and she could not deny it. In chapter 19 she states, It’s all nonsense. It’s only nonsense. I’m not afraid of the rain. I am not afraid of the rain. Oh, oh, god, I wish I wasn’t. While reading this quote, the reader can feel how scared Catherine is of the rain. She believe that should would see herself dead in it. For example, on page 129 she told Henry, I’m afraid of the rain because sometimes I see myself dead in it. This quote foreshadows the upcoming event of her death. After Catherine and her child die, Henry walks out of the hospital and walks home in the rain. In the last chapter of this novel it is stated that It was like saying goodbye to a statue. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain. Catherine’s thought of seeing herself dead in the rain mostly came true because she died while it was raining. Catherine also stated that she has lost many loved ones prior to meeting Henry.
This fact from Catherine’s life made the reader predict something bad was going to occur to the couple. Another form of foreshadowing is Catherine always telling Henry and saying that terrible things were going to happen to them. The feeling of melancholy is permeated, or spread out, throughout the novel. This feeling affects the readers perception of the story, the characters, and the outcome. This feeling of complete sadness that roams through the novel when u read makes the reader infer that an unhappy and sorrowful even will be coming up. It changes their views on the story, characters, and outcome because it gets the readers prepared for a sad ending. If this novel did not have the melancholy feeling that Hemingway portrays, then the readers would not be prepared for a sad or disappointing outcome. Hemingway provides the readers with hints of the finals chapters by foreshadowing and using the feeling of melancholy to make the tragic event of Catherine dying in childbirth predictable.
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