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Essay about Frederic Henry: Code Hero

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A Hemingway Code Hero is a trait that almost every main character of Ernest Hemingway’s novels possesses. According to Hemingway, a Code Hero is a man (or woman) who lives correctly and demonstrates respect for honor and courage during a chaotic and stressful world. There is a particular pattern to how a Code Hero conducts his or her life on a day to day basis. In the novel A Farewell to Arms, Frederic Henry is the Code Hero because fate is a determining role in his life’s events, he lives in the here and now, and he shows grace under pressure.

The first and most accurate trait that Frederic Henry exemplifies is that fate plays a determining role in his life events. Fate rules almost every single major event in the novel. Frederic’s entire life is due to fate and chance. Before the war, Frederic just wanders around without much purpose. His family is sending him money to live on, and he is spoiled. He enrolls in the Italian army just because he is there when they enter the war. He meets Catherine by the fate of the British nurses being stationed at his unit’s hospital. When Frederic is injured by Austrian fire, it is simply luck that Catherine is transferred there as well. Fate sends Frederic back to the front into a retreat, and fate brings him to the checkpoint that endangers his life. The men are executing officers for abandoning their men, so Henry jumps into the river and fate is what keeps him alive. He finds Catherine, and fate allows them to keep safe while they run to Switzerland. However, the fate that rules Henry’s life is rather ruthless to the couple. Fate decides to give Catherine a rough childbirth that ends in a stillborn and the death of Catherine. Many of these events are far out of Frederic’s control and a...


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...cause the Hemingway Hero does not speak about his beliefs often, he just shows them. He does not glamorize death with hopes of an after life. Frederic Henry just takes death for what it is. While Henry is fearful of the unknown, he is not afraid of the process of death because he has lived his life exactly the way a Hemingway Code Hero would want to.

Frederic Henry follows the guidelines and meets the characteristics of a Hemingway Code Hero, but in actuality, Catherine Barkley is the original Hero of the story. Throughout the course of the novel, she passes on these traits to Frederic who assumes the role of the Code Hero in her death. The actions Frederic takes and the things he says and believes define him in this book and leave a lasting impression. Frederic Henry may not be the original Code Hero, but he certainly earns the title through his actions.





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