Essay about Catherine Barkley: Code Hero

Essay about Catherine Barkley: Code Hero

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A Hemingway Code Hero is a character from an Ernest Hemingway novel that follows a particular pattern of how he or she conducts life on a day to day basis. Catherine Barkley from A Farewell to Arms lives with a respect for honor and courage as a Code Hero should. Catherine Barkley is the original code hero of the novel. She has all of the traits of a Hero, and implements them onto Frederic as he matures throughout the story. Catherine’s three main traits that define her as a Hemingway Code Hero are her values of human relationships over materialism, her idealism, and her grace under pressure; she is fearful but not afraid to die.
The first, most obvious trait of Catherine’s heroism is that she values human relationships above materialism. Nothing is more important to Catherine than her lover, Henry, and as the novel goes on, her baby. When Henry is injured and sent to Milan, she has no trouble transferring to the new hospital there. Catherine loves Henry and would drop anything to be with him. Nothing material holds her back from being with him. Even when they live in Switzerland, they don’t have many material possessions. They live very simple lives because all the couple really needs is each other. In chapter forty, Henry describes their time together with this quote, "When there was a good day we had a splendid time and we never had a bad time. We knew the baby was very close now and it gave us both a feeling as though something were hurrying us and we could not lose any time together." Catherine obviously values her time with Henry more than anyone else, but it isn’t the physical aspect of getting out and doing things that satisfies her. What satisfies Catherine is the extra time she gets to spend with the love of her life b...


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...other section in the novel. She repeatedly expresses that she is not afraid to die to Henry, even when faced with a stillbirth baby and multiple hemorrhages. She knows she must be strong for him. She faces death, and while it may not be something enjoyable, she is not afraid. She is fearful of the unknown, and she is fearful of leaving Henry and all that she loves, but she is not afraid to leave the Earth.
While Frederic Henry may be the main focus of the novel, we cannot forget that Catherine Barkley is the original Hemingway Code Hero that helped Henry mature to the hero he is at the end of the novel. Without Catherine’s heroism, Frederic Henry would still be an immature ambulance driver that frequents brothels without much meaning to his life. Catherine forces him to grow up and face the world, and that is why she deserves her title as a Hemingway Code Hero.


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