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Love Leads to Immaturity: A Farewell to Arms Essay

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Immaturity is considered to be lacking wisdom and emotional development. Immature actions lead to consequences that the person doesn’t foresee. Thus this lack of knowledge and development leads to problems. In the novel A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway illustrates how the protagonist Frederic Henry is able to gain maturity through the relationships he initiates. This novel follows Frederic through World War I as he acquires wisdom and develops emotionally. Initially Frederic acts only out of lust and desire. Every leave is filled with prostitutes and copious amount of drinking. This all seems like a game to Frederic, all his actions and decisions show juvenility. Even after meeting Catherine Barkley the relationship they have is merely a game to him. He doesn’t love her; he lies to her even though he knows he shouldn’t. As his love affair with Catherine progresses in the novel, this love seems to change Frederic’s behaviour and he starts to grow up. Finally Fredric gains insight, develops emotionally and changes as a man.
Near the beginning of the novel, Frederic shows his immaturity through his actions and decisions. As Fredric gets ready to leave for his holiday, all his friends including the priest give suggestions as to where he should visit. While the priest suggests he go see his town the others mention places of “good girls”. Rather than listening to the priest he follows the advice of his friends. Fredric isn’t interested in the rich culture of Italy instead he desires lust. Later on his undeveloped emotions are displayed as he lusts for Catherine. For instance when Catherine asks him if he loves her, he says yes but in his monologue he states: “I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had nay idea of loving her. This was...


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...desire and made immature decisions. Even the advice from the priest didn’t have any effect on him. As the interactions with Catherine develops into a relationship, the talks with the priest makes Fredric question his past decisions and he makes changes for the future. He wants to make Catherine his wife and spend his life with her. This isn’t what Frederic would have wanted in the beginning of the novel. Even the meaning of war changes for Fredric. To be with Catherine he is willing to forget about it. Meanwhile, in the beginning of the novel Frederic has no desire to be defeated in the war. In contrast, now he wants it to be over whether they win or lose. His motives changes as he develops emotionally with Catherine and gains wisdom from the priest. Overall by the end of the novel, Frederic is a changed man even if the death of Catherine influences him negatively.



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