A Farewell to Arms The character of Frederick Henry in Ernest Hemingway?s A Farewell to Arms is disillusioned, ??.first with the war which he had presumably volunteered to be in, and second with his romance with Catherine [Barkley], which, to give him credit, he had not initially volunteered for.? (Lewis 42) Initially, he is detached from the war because he is merely an ambulance driver and therefore, has nothing to do with the actual war. He must ultimately decide to follow his obligations to the Italian army or to follow his love for Catherine Barkley, both of which cause Frederick Henry great internal conflict. Eventually, his surroundings and the events that occur change Frederick Henry from a disillusioned young man, into a matured character that had suffered life?s greatest agonies: to lose in love and war.
Frederick Henry starts off as a lost young man without any set goals in life and in need of something greater than what could be satisfied by cheap alcohol and solicited sex.
Frederick drinks and visits brothels and yet he is discontent because his life is very unsettled, and lacking any order. Not until his love affair with Catherine Barkley does Frederick Henry feel like he has some order and value to his life.
The only type of relationship that Frederick wanted with Catherine was a physical one. He does not love Catherine at first but tells her he does to get her into bed. Frederick turns love into a game.
?I knew I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards. Like bridge you had to pretend you were playing for money or playing for some stakes. Nobody had mentioned what the stakes...