"A Farewell to Arms"

Essay by Mashutka April 2004

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The action of the novel takes place in Italy during the First World War. The novel tells about two people who fall in love with each other and whose lives are destroyed by the war. The events are narrated in the chronological order. The exposition starts at the beginning of the novel when Henry meets Catherine and they fall in love with each other. The development of actions shows us their further relationships and all problems, which they face because of the war. The climax is in that part of the novel where Henry decides that he cannot return to the army and together with Catherine they run from Italy to neutral Switzerland. The denouement, from my point of view, is in the last chapter of the novel, when Catherine dies and Henry is left alone in this world:

"Upstairs I met the nurse coming down the hall.

"I just called you at the hotel," she said.

Something dropped inside me.

"What is wrong?"

"Mrs. Henry has had a hemorrhage."

"Can I go in?"

"No, not yet. The doctor is with her."

"Is it dangerous?"

"It is very dangerous.""

"But after I had got them out and shut the door and turned off the light it wasn't any good. It was like saying good-by to a statue. After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain."

The main characters of this novel are Frederic Henry, an American officer of the Italian army, and his lover Catherine Barkley. Henry is also the narrator. The first person narrator in the novel is central and subjective. He judges about all the events from his point of view. In my opinion, the author of the novel wanted to express his own opinion through...