The foundation of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms is based on lies. Hemingway exposes the reality, or truth, of love and war by presenting the story of Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, lives ironically entrenched in lies. Henry in particular assumes a different role at every turn, pretending, for example, to be a soldier, a civilian, a doctor or Barkley's dead fiancé.
The lies in Henry's life begin when he joins the Italian army. Here, he pretends to be "one of the guys," silently siding with their bawdy humor and macho activities and not the morality of the priest. Hemingway best displays this conflict in the scene where the priest urges Henry to visit Abruzzi while the captain insists Henry visit Naples' whorehouses. Henry says nothing during this conversation. However, his silence shows Henry does side with the priest. Ultimately, Henry joins the captain at the bordello, the equivalent of conceding to peer pressure. The soldiers traditionally see sexual conquests as a prerequisite for the lifestyle of war and violence, and by following this precedent, Henry plays along with this stereotype even though he would rather be in the comfort of Capracotta, welcomed by the priest's family.
Just as Henry pretends to be a soldier, he later pretends to be a civilian. When mistaken for a spy during the retreat, Henry escapes but hides his identity as a soldier as not to be recognized and punished as a deserter. A proprietor of a wine shop warns Henry "Do not go out with that coat. ... On the sleeves it shows very plainly where the stars have been cut away" (Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, 239). Henry has made an effort to veil his rank and avoid capture. Later, ...
... middle of paper ...
... room," Henry changes his mind (318). Now that Henry plays the role of a doctor, if the doctor can eat, so can he: "At two o'clock I went out and had lunch" (318). Henry even goes so far as to say he looks "like a fake doctor with a beard" and begins giving orders to the nurse when the real doctor is absent such as "get another cylinder" (319, 322). Henry pretends to be a doctor, thrown into this role by the situation and playing it very convincingly.
After reading this novel, I still do not have a true understanding of the character of Henry. He plays so many different roles, I do not know whether to view him as an authentic lost soul or the ultimate con man. Every aspect of his life is a great game of "let's pretend" - when do the lies stop?
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, the code hero is the protagonist Lieutenant Frederic Henry. Frederic is no exception and presents with the common features of any Hemingway hero. He treats women as mere objects of sexual pleasure, religion and the afterlife as inconsequential, and defeat with a measure of grace and finesse incomparable. His love for Catherine Barkley is sexually motivated, the author consistently casts a level of skepticism on religion through Frederic and his interactions, and even while facing the death of his child and beloved Catherine, Frederic walks away evidently unfazed.... [tags: character analysis, literary criticism]
609 words (1.7 pages)
- Ernest Hemingway and A Farewell To Arms "We did not do the things we wanted to do; we never did such things" (Hemingway 13). This single sentence voiced early in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms by the American protagonist, Lieutenant Frederic Henry, sums up the rather pessimistic and drab tone and mood presented in Hemingway's works, particularly this novel, which also reflects the pessimistic and judgmental mind housed within the author. Regardless of the unhappy circumstances and heart-breaking situations which prevail throughout the novel, A Farewell To Arms certainly deserves a place in a listing of works of high literary merit.... [tags: Farewell Arms Essays]
3202 words (9.1 pages)
- A Farewell to Arms is a novel by Ernest Hemingway about an American ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, and the nurse, Catherine Barkley, with whom he falls in love. The story is narrated by his driver, named Frederic Henry. Whether or not this book is truly an anti-war novel is debatable, but it well depicts the effects an ongoing war has on soldiers and how the men try to numb this pain. Henry's close friend at the front, Rinaldi, forgets the war with the help of sex and seduction, the priest takes comfort in God, the Captain has humor and jokes about the priest, and almost all drink profusely, taking wine and brandy like water.... [tags: Farewell Arms Hemingway]
1859 words (5.3 pages)
- The Truth of War Exposed in A Farewell to Arms The soldier takes his last breath as he faces the menacing glare of the beast known as the enemy gun. Emotions run through him as he awaits the final blow that will determine his destiny. Memories flash through his mind, none of which will be of any significance once he leaves this world. Out of the barrel of the gun, had suddenly come terror, murder, and chaos, all at once. "I say it's rotten. Jesus Christ, I say it's rotten." (Hemingway 35) Summarized in two sentences is Ernest Hemingway's personal attitude towards World War I. In A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway, the characters criticize the war and views it as the sourc... [tags: Farewell Arms Essays]
1049 words (3 pages)
- The setting of A Farewell to Arms is Italy, where they were fighting Austria, during World War I. The story is about Frederick Henry, an American, who served as a lieutenant in the Italian army to a group of ambulance drivers. At the start of the novel, Frederick was a drunk who traveled from one house of prostitution to the next. Yet he was discontent with his unsettled lifestyle. Frederick meets Catherine Barkley an English volunteer nurse, who serves in Italy, at a near by hospital. In the first few chapters, Frederick’s life is seeing Miss Barkley, drinking with the others at his barracks, and driving the ambulance.... [tags: A Farewell to Arms Essays]
1772 words (5.1 pages)
- Accepting Death in Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms A Farewell To Arms is Ernest Hemingway's poignant yet simple tale of two young lovers who meet during the chaos of W.W.I and the relationship that endures until its tragic end. Frederick Henry, an American lieutenant in the Italian army, and Catherine Barkley, an English volunteer nurse, share a devout love for one another that deepens as Catherine becomes pregnant, yet their blissful relationship becomes tragically shortened as the baby and Catherine die as a result of the birth, leaving Frederick alone to accept their deaths.... [tags: Farewell Arms Essays]
701 words (2 pages)
- I have read the book ”A Farewell to Arms” written by Ernest Hemingway in 1929. Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 in Illinois, USA. When he was young the First World War broke out and he decided to join the Italian army as an ambulance driver. After the war he worked as a correspondent in Europe. As a correspondent he visited France, Spain and Greece, and among other things reported from the Spanish Civil War. He stayed in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. In addition to his work as a journalist he began writing books.... [tags: Hemingway Farewell Arms Book Report]
1517 words (4.3 pages)
- Imagery in A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway Imagery placed strategically through the novel A Farewell to Arms shows how well Ernest Hemingway is able to prepare the reader for events to come. Catherine Barkley, the English nurse who falls in love with Fredric Henry, an American in the Italian army, states, "I'm afraid of the rain" (125), as they stay in Milan. She goes on to explain "I'm afraid of the rain because sometimes I see me dead in it. ... And sometimes I see you dead in it" (126).... [tags: A Farewell to Arms]
3707 words (10.6 pages)
- The Role of Religion in A Farewell to Arms Religion played a significant role in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. The attitudes that the character had towards the war and life were closely associated with their views on religion. Due to extreme circumstances of war, moral standards were obscure for the characters. Almost everything related to the war violated the normal code of morality, which led many to feel disenchanted. Those who viewed the war as senseless had no faith in God or religion.... [tags: Hemingway A Farewell to Arms]
1984 words (5.7 pages)
- The Symbolism of Water in A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway, is a story about love and war. Frederic Henry, a young American, works as an ambulance driver for the Italian army in World War I. He falls tragically in love with a beautiful English nurse, Miss Catherine Barkley. This tragedy is reflected by water. Throughout the novel Ernest Hemingway uses water as metaphors. Rivers are used as symbols of rebirth and escape and rain as tragedy and disaster, which show how water plays an important role in the story.... [tags: A Farewell to Arms]
599 words (1.7 pages)