A Farewell to Love

Essay by sarabennett02High School, 11th gradeA, November 2014

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A Farewell To Love ! Ernest Hemingway's A Farwell To Arms follows the narrative of Frederic Henry, a distinctly past-less, apathetic young American in the Italian ambulance corps during the first World War. Although he is changed and molded by multiple characters and events, Henry is undoubtedly most influenced by his relationship with Catherine Barkley. Through her, he recognizes both his own loneliness and desire to find happiness and spiritual awareness, yet discovers a fear of separation in the face of the inevitability of death. Frederic Henry's dry and retrospective interpretation of his experience with Catherine attempts to bring comprehension to the knowledge he gains from it. Ultimately however, his growth as a result of this knowledge proves to be circular, as his discovery of love and spirituality only serves to return Henry to his original fatalistic mindset. At Frederic Henry's introduction, very little is known of his past, and even less, perhaps, is known of Henry himself. He is presented as an apathetic, impulsive, and in some ways immature young man, just as detached from the war he fights in as he is from every aspect of his life. He is largely defined by not caring. This lack of caring first presents itself in the narrative in his response to the question of why he joined the Italian army in the first place: "I was in Italy, and I spoke Italian" (Hemingway, 22), and "There isn't always an explanation for everything" (18). Taken alongside his murky past, his nonchalant approach to joining the war suggests his impulsive yet dispassionate approach to life. This attitude extends towards choosing his destination for leave. Although the priest had urged him to visit the Abruzzi, a place described as clear and cold, a world with order and reason, Henry decides...