A Farewell to Arms Questions

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A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is a love and war novel about the love between lieutenant Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley, an English nurse. Love plays a critical role in this novel. When Frederic and Catherine first encounter each other, they immediately become invested in eachothers lives.

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However, Catherine is skeptical about an incoming relationship because prior to Henry she was engaged to a soldier who tragically passed away at war. This event changed her perspective on love. She did not want to marry Henry because of what happened to her fianc?©, however, she did love Henry deeply and tried to do everything in her power to please him. Frederic slowly begins to fall in love with the English nurse. For example on page 41 the reader is able to acknowledge that he feels lonely without Catherine. Frederic said, I went out the door and suddenly I felt lonely and empty. I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly. I had gotten somewhat drunk and had nearly forgotten to come but when I could not see her there I was feeling lonely and hollow. The couple become infatuated with each other and fell completely in love. Frederic did not plan on finding love at first, he did not like commitment and was more a player and a drinker. He was very surprised when he fell deeply in love with Catherine. On page 93 he states, God knows I didn’t mean to fall in love with her.

The love that Frederic had for Catherine came with a lifestyle change and brought order to his life. Love made the couple do courageous things for one another. Such as long distance while Frederic is away at war. Also Catherine was deeply brave when it came to being apart for many years and knowing that her loved one could be in danger. However, their love for eachother grew stronger and stronger. The love that the two shared for one another changed their perceptions of war in a drastic way. For example, the couple ran away together to get away from the fighting war. Frederic only cared about Catherine and their baby that was on the way. Frederic never liked the idea of war or fighting in it, however, after meeting and falling in love with Catherine, he disliked the idea of war even more. On page 49 Henry states, I believe we should get the war over. it would not finish if one side stopped fighting. It would only be worse if we stopped fighting. The couple just wanted to get away from war. The war shaped the couples love story. If it was not for the war, Frederic and Catherine would not have met and fell in love. Because of the war, their love story had many ups and downs and was very chaotic and challenging.

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