The Reflection Of Fredric Henry's A Farewell To Arms

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The reflection, which takes place during Fredric Henry’s train ride to Milan in A Farewell to Arms, proves to show the impact the war has had on his psychological instability through the battle of love. In other words, the war has left him frightened with anxious thoughts constantly running through his mind. There is no escaping the war, or the feeling of having to run for the sake of one’s life. The battle is no longer physical, but rather an eternal battle to refrain from insanity. This novel takes on a chaotic style where the pieces of Frederic Henry’s mental standing slowly reveal themselves through his lover, Catherine Barley as the war deepens. Not caring about the way he is perceived, the narrator takes on a confessional and honest tone, by telling his journey through the war in all truth. While this passage shows Henry’s need for Catherine’s affection and escapism of his own mind it proves that Henry will forever be at war with himself. Abandoning and serving in the war has left Henry with an ongoing train of worry for the remainder of his life. The train he takes to Milan resembles his future struggle with posttraumatic stress disorder and the after affects of being exposed to such vivid war imagery. Italy is now a broken and corrupt landscape, which also resembles the personality change in the character’s lives, as they will attempt at leading normal lifestyles but will never again be the same. The train is a calm and peaceful setting, where a soldier may reflect on the journey thus far. There are only a few places considered to be safe for reflection or breakdown. Bars are for deep thoughts; hotels are for loneliness; hospitals are for escape through death, or illness, etc. This explains why Henry is constantly found ... ... middle of paper ... will too be taken out of consequence for his secret withdrawal. Unlike the floorwalker Henry does not have insurance, which can be extended to the insurance of pride, purpose, death, etc. that cannot be brought back. The repetition of emptily, and coldly in this passage resembles the war experience, foreshadow death, and the way Henry is left feeling at the end of the novel. There are many foreshadows of death present throughout the novel, but this passage particularly can explain the title. The word arms can be thought of as weapons or the limb of a human body. The title foreshadows the death of his loved ones, as must say goodbye to Catherine and his child. It also presents irony in that while on the train he is retiring himself from the war, saying “farewell,” yet there are weapons of the war beside him indicating that the war can never be entirely abandoned.

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