A Farewell to Arms

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by TahaBaig27
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A Farewell to Arms

Plot Development/ Key Events • Henry, the narrator of the novel, begins the story as an ambulance driver on the front lines in the Italian Army during World War One. • Henry meets Miss Catherine Barkley, a nurse, and the two begin a romantic relationship. • Henry is wounded in the legs following a mortar strike during a battle and is sent to a hospital in Milan. • While Henry remains in the hopsital for several months, his relationship with Catherine slowly transforms and escalates into a love affair. • Catherine reveals her pregnancy to Henry • Henry is eventually brought back to the front, but following a retreat, Henry escapes the army and abandons the war. • Henry finds Catherine and the two of them move to Switzerland. • After a few happy months in Switzerland, Catherine gives birth to a son. Tragically, due to the complications of the childbirth, both Catherine and her son died shortly after the birth was complete.

Career: Catherine is an English nurse during WW1 who works for the Italian Army. She assists in the care of wounded soldiers in hospitals and tends to their needs to ensure that they remain healthy.Impact on Others: Catherine, who is described as an attractive woman, grabs the attention of various men in the novel. Early in the novel, Rinaldi expresses an interest in her and later on so does Henry. Catherine's impact on Henry develops further as the novel progresses and as their relationship grows. Henry soon falls madly in love her, and Catherine slowly becomes his most valuable source of happiness. After her death, Henry enters a state of sorrow and depression and beings to feel bitter and resentful towards the world. Family Life: Over the course of the novel, little is revealed about Catherine's parents or other direct relations. Prior to the events of the novel, Catherine was set to marry her fiancé but he was killed on the battlefield before the wedding could occur. Her fiancé's death contributed toward her initial interest in Henry as Henry's infatuation with her served as a distraction from remembering her late lover. Also, although Henry and Catherine never ended up getting married, Catherine referred to herself as essentially being Henry's wife several times throughout the novel making the two of them family. Catherine and Henry had a deep loving and caring relationship. Catherine was always fiercely loyal to Henry (often to the point of submission). The two of them moved to Switzerland together near the novel's end and enjoyed a happy life prior to Catherine's death following childbirth.

Love Does Not Conquer All

A Farewell to Arms


Characterization:Catherine Barkley

Literary DevicesSymbolism: Hemingway utilizes rain serveral times throughout the novel to symbolize death and the cruelty of the world. The concept of rain relating to death first appeared during one of Henry's conversations with Catherine: " 'All right. I'm afraid of the rain because sometimes I see me dead in it.' 'No.' 'And sometimes I see you dead in it.' "(126). The rain shows up a few more times in the novel. Rain was present during the executions of the officers in Chapter 30 and during Henry's walk back to his hotel following Catherine's death. On both occasions the deaths involved represent the cruelty of the world; the killing of the officers was unnecessary and unjust and Catherine's death marked the end of Henry's one major source of happiness.Foreshadowing: After a night in a hotel in Stresa with Catherine, Henry ponders to himself that "The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gently and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." (249). Henry's realization portends tragic events in his future, specifically, the death of his son and the death of Catherine. Hemingway utilizes this foreshadowing of tragedy to illustrate that the world is not empathetic. Even if one is happy or in love, destruction and death are always awaiting in the future.

The events of the novel take place in various cites throughout Italy and towards the end of the novel, in Switzerland. The novel is set in the middle of World War I with scenes from battlefields and towns occupied by soliders being common. By the time in the war depicted in the story, most soldiers and citizens have been disillusioned with the idea of war. Most are not in favor of the war continuing and many view its outcome in a pessimistic light with some even claiming the war will end up being another Hundred Year's War. The book was released a relatively short time following the end of World War I, so the events and experiences Ernest Hemingway encountered as a World War I ambulance driver were still fresh in his mind at the time of writing.


Text to MediaErnest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms relates directly to the 1996 film In Love and War directed by Richard Attenborough. Both the novel and the film follow a romance between a nurse and a soldier in the midst of World War I. In the book, the romance is of course between Henry and Catherine while in the film, Ernest Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky's relationship is followed. Also, In Love and War is based upon Hemingway's life during World War I so it gives the events depicted in A Farewell to Arms more background.


Text to SelfA key section of the story was Henry's farewell to arms following his escape from the Italian Army. Following his departure from the army after being almost executed, Henry considers himself fully dissociated from the war and recognizes that that chapter from his life is now closed. By relinquishing his duites as a soldier, Henry essentially is giving a farewell to arms which gives the novel its title. Henry replaces arms and fighting with his love for Catherine.In my own life I have also had to give "a farewell to arms" (to an extent). In the celebration pictured to the right, I had to relinquish my (toy) gun in order to fully enjoy the festivites and food of the party.

Text to WorldThe actions, beliefs, emotions, and hardships endured by soldiers in this novel are still very much present in the world today. The world back in World War I is not all that different from the world today. War still goes on and war never changes. Soldiers still have to endure serious injuries, the conflicted morality of killing other human beings, and the realization that they could die at any moment. Debate over whether war is a necessary evil or if a peaceful coexistance is possible still continue to this day.

ThemeThe central theme of the novel is that in the midst of a cruel, uncaring world filled with warfare and pain,not even love can survive. In this world, feelings of true happiness and sincere love are only transitory. Such emotions only serve as temporary distractions from the true nature of life. Everything crumbles in the end."The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gently and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." (249) .

Text to TextA Farewell of Arms reminded me grealty of The Red Badge of Courage. Both novels involve youthful narrators who describe their experiences in war and who mature and come of age as their stories progress. Another interesting element that I found connecting the two was that both novels depicted the true brutality and injustices of war as opposed to showcasing war as a romantic event where one obtains glory and honor. This occurs throughout "Red Badge" with vivid imagery of events on the battlefield and the horrors involved in fighting. A Farewell to Arms also illustrates shocking elements of wartime affairs such as the scene where Henry shoots an engineer: " 'Halt' I said. They kept on down the muddy road, the hedge on either side. 'I order you to halt,' I called. They went a little faster. I opened my holster, took the pistor aimed at the one who had talked the most, and fired. I missed and they both started to run. I shot three times and droped one. The other went through the hedge and was out of sight. I fired at him through the hedge as he ran acrosss the field. " (204).


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