Hemingway's portrayal of Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms is a subject of many debates. I do not agree with Judith Fetterly that Catherine is "too idealistic, too selflessly loving and giving. Catherine's death was the most fitting end to the story. Hemingway's Catherine Barkley may be stereotypical on the surface, but is a much more knowledgeable and strong character underneath.
In the early encounter with Henry, Hemingway sets up Catherine's major faults. She is shown to us as not being emotionally stable. She says to Henry, "We're going to have a strange life"(27). This sounds crazy to us, who typically don't believe that you can know you will have any kind of life with anyone you have just met. This is a time of war, however, and Catherine knows more than we do.She certainly knows more than Henry. She knows that it is a strange time and that loss is a reality. Because she is aware of the constant real threat of loss, this makes her deal with everything as if life was going to end very shortly. This type of thinking is an understandable method of defense against an uncertain end. Her knowledge is greater that his on the pains of war. Another one of her seemingly erratic early actions is the way she slapped his face for kissing her, and then turns around and asks him to kiss her. Not only is this perfectly understandable behavior, it shows an awareness of human nature. It is understandable because in normal times, it would not have been acceptable for her to kiss him so soon. This is war times however, so it is unrealistic to apply the same rules. Everything has a greater sense of urgency. I also think Catherine knows that the reward is swe...
... middle of paper ...
I think that viewing Catherine from a feminist point of view can be very dangerous. While she is very loving, it is not ridiculously so. She simply works to make their relationship work. She does not think about her own needs all the time, but it is impossible to do that maintain a relationship. She is not selfless but she isn't selfish eiether. I believe Hemingway portrays her very realistically as a woman in love during a war.
Fetterley, Judith. The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1978.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995.
Spofford, William K. "Beyond the Feminist Perspective: Love in A Farewell to Arms." Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual 1978. Eds. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Richard Layman. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979. 307-12.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A theoretical perspective or paradigm is a set of ideas that attempt to guide your thinking and explain viewpoints. Within the field of sociology, there are many paradigms. These include structural-functionalism, social conflict, feminism, symbolic interactionism, and postmodernism. As a female who appreciates a viewpoint outside of the standard male outlook, my favorite theoretical paradigm is feminist theory. Feminism is one of the most prominent areas in contemporary sociology. By linking sociological theory and political reform, feminists aim to end inequalities between men and women in both public and private environments.... [tags: Feminism, Feminist theory, Sociology]
1050 words (3 pages)
- A Feminist Alternative to Fetterley's Criticism of A Farewell to Arms After finishing A Farewell to Arms, I found it difficult to reconcile Judith Fetterley's feminist attack of the novel with my own personal opinions. I agree that Hemingway does kick women to the curb in his portrayal of Catherine, but my reasons for pinning this crime on Hemingway are different from hers'. Although she means well, Fetterley makes the ridiculous claim that by portraying Catherine as an angelic, selflessly loving "woman to end all women," Hemingway disguises misogynistic attitudes and a deep-seeded hatred towards the XX chromosome.... [tags: Farewell Arms Essays]
892 words (2.5 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of Surfacing Often referred to as a "feminist / ecological treatise" by critics, Margaret Atwood's Surfacing reflects the politics and issues of the postmodern society (Hutcheon 145). The narrator of the story (who remains nameless) returns to the undeveloped island that she grew up on to search for her missing father; in the process, she unmasks the dualities and inconsistencies in both her personal life and her patriarchal society. Through the struggle to reclaim her identity and roots, the Surfacer begins a psychological journey that leads her directly into the natural world.... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
2906 words (8.3 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of The Good Mother The Good Mother is carefully structured to make the reader identify strongly with the narrator Anna. The story begins with a close look at the intensely loving relationship between Anna and her daughter. We then learn some of Anna's family history and personal background which prepares us for the stark contrast made by her relationship with Leo. Though there are hints, as Anna relates her story, that Leo is now a part of her past, the reasons and details are withheld from the reader so that we feel as shocked as Anna by the phone call from her ex-husband, saying that he is going to fight for custody of Molly and why.... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
1054 words (3 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of A Doll's House In "A Doll's House", Ibsen portrays the bleak picture of a role held by women of all economic classes that is sacrificial. The female characters in the play back-up Nora's assertion that even though men are unable to sacrifice their integrity, "hundreds of thousands of woman have." Mrs. Linde found it necessary to abandon Krogstad, her true but poor love, and marry a richer man in order to support her mother and two brothers. The nanny has to abandon her children to support herself by working for Nora.... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
1221 words (3.5 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of Shakespeare Although William Shakespeare reflects and at times supports the English Renaissance stereotypes of women and men and their various roles and responsibilities in society, he is also a writer who questions, challenges, and modifies those representations. His stories afford opportunities not only to understand Renaissance culture better but also to confront our own contemporary generalizations about gender, especially what it means to be female. In his own time, Shakespeare seems to have been raising questions about the standard images of males and females, about what the characteristics of each gender are, about what is defined as masculine and fem... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
1501 words (4.3 pages)
- Feminist Perspective of The Lie Women have long struggled and battled against men in an attempt to obtain equality. In the story, "The Lie," the character Sylvia Remenzel portrays many of the qualities in a stereotypical female that women for generations have been trying to prove wrong. Her thoughts and actions, plus the possible opinions of females reflecting upon her character, and the fact that this character was written by a male will show the neglect by which the role was depicted. To begin, Sylvia's questions throughout the story are naive and juvenile. For example, “I wonder how many Remenzels have gone to Whitehill,” and “You think those people will like those rooms?” Que... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
779 words (2.2 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of Othello Throughout the length of Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello there is a steady undercurrent of sexism. It is originating from not one, but rather various male characters in the play, who manifest prejudicial, discriminatory attitudes toward women. In the opening scene, while Iago is expressing his hatred for the general Othello for his having chosen Michael Cassio for the lieutenancy, he contrives a plan to partially avenge himself (“I follow him to serve my turn upon him”), with Roderigo’s assistance, by alerting Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, to the fact of his daughter’s elopement with Othello: “Call up her father, / Rouse him: make after him, pois... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
2396 words (6.8 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of To His Coy Mistress Andrew Marvell, a 17-century poetry writer, focuses on a subject that still baffles the readers' minds today, sex. Marvell shows a world where women are seduced. Women and men have focused on the issue of sex for centuries. The most ironic thing that reader should notice while reading this poem is that even though they are in two different time settings, the same persuasions are used as an argument in Marvell's time as well as the present. Although he uses love and time as reasons why should she have sex with him his main focus his her body. The Marble Vault is a part of her body, the female genital. Marvell shows the patriotic att... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
700 words (2 pages)
- A Feminist Perspective of A Midsummer Night's Dream At age fifteen, my hormones went wild and I threw myself at every boy in the neighborhood. Although I didn’t go all the way, I offered as much flesh as I dared. If the suburbs can create such sexual angst, imagine the lust stirred by moonlight, fairies, and a warm midsummer night. In Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena represents the frenzy of young love when fueled by rejection and driven to masochistic extremes.... [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]
651 words (1.9 pages)
- The Irrelevant God in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms
- Catherine as Code Hero in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms
- A Farewell to Arms Essay: Changing Perspective of Religion
- Free Essays - Escape from Reality in A Farewell to Arms
- Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms - No Happy Ending
- Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms - Hopeless Suffering