Essay on A Farewell To Arms

Essay on A Farewell To Arms

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A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, is somewhat of

a Romeo and Juliet love story, with a tragic ending. In this

novel, Romeo is Frederick Henry and Juliet is Catherine

Barkley. Their love affair must survive the everything that is

around them during World War I. The setting of this novel is

war-torn Italy. The love between Catherine and Frederick

must outlast long separations, life-threatening war situations,

and the uncertainty of each other's whereabouts or

condition. This is a love story of two people who need each

other in a period of chaos.

The book A Farewell to Arms is partly autobiographical.

Hemingway , like his hero, was a Red Cross ambulance

driver on the Italian Front in World War I. Not only was

Hemingway wounded in the war, but he also recuperated in

a hospital in Italy. During his recuperation, Hemingway had a

very romantic liaison with a nurse. The relationships between

the characters in the novel, including doctors, soldiers, etc.,

reflect the actual relationships Hemingway had during his

stay in Italy, and the plot of the story is historically as well as

geographically accurate. Before Ernest Hemingway wrote

the book A Farewell to Arms, he was already regarded as

a good literary writer, but after the publication of this book

he was considered a great one. A Farewell to Arms was

Hemingway’s first commercial success, selling over 80,000

copies in the first four months.

In this story there are only two main characters, Frederick

Henry and Catherine

Barkley. Frederick Henry acts as both the narrator and

central character in the novel. The reader is not told so much

about Catherine, only what is understood from Frederick’s

point of view. Catherine acts as a static character in the

novel. She has already known love and lost it so she

understands that she cannot build her whole life around

Frederick. Frederick, on the other hand, is a very dynamic

character, and he has to come to grips with many of the

principles of life and death that Catherine has already

learned. There are few other characters in the book of any

significance, but of some small importance are Rinaldi, who

is Frederick’s best friend on the fighting front, and also the

priest in Frederick’s company whom he befriends and with

whom he has long talks about life.

The plot structure of A Farewell to Arms starts out with an


... middle of paper ...

... in order and yet he

still seems discontented. He continuously has to convince

himself that he has "a fine life," and he has not yet reached

Catherine's emotional level that enables her to be perfectly

happy in their love and yet not dependent on it for all

comfort and support. He never reaches a place of internal

peace until the end of the book when Catherine dies and he

realizes that he can not be totally dependent on another for

happiness in this life.

A Farewell To Arms was a was a well written novel that

gives people a whole different perceptive about the people

and events of World War I in Italy. The book was not the

least bit confusing when it came to the text and was really an

enjoyable book to read. This book could be appreciated

both by the average high school student or an adult looking

for a great book. It had an interesting, moving plot that kept

the reader interested in the book, and has been appreciated

and read for many years by people of all ages. From reading

this book one learns much about Ernest Hemingway himself

plus the times and problems of World War I. This book was

a classic in 1929 and is still seems contemporary today.

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