Frederic Henry’s Traumas and Pain in “A Farewell to Arms”

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As we know, PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, which is warfare for Frederic Henry in this novel. In A Farewell to Arms, Frederic Henry’s trauma and general breakdown in his life can best be understood in terms of PTSD, because it explains: his self-doubts and depression; his detachment from the other characters; and his inability to help himself. Throughout the novel, Frederic’s recollections show various catalysts for PTSD.

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Even though Frederic tries to keep calm and forgot about the memories about the past which he suffered in the war, there are certain details flashback into his mind. Frederic Henry has been suffering with a condition of traumatized while he describe the story. Frederic constantly changes his identity because some shocked incidents he experienced such as the death of his wife, Catherine, died when she gave a birth and witnessing of terrible scenes during the war. Frederic describes he is tormented by a series of traumas because he participates in the Great War. Through Frederic’s experiences, seen through the current description of PTSD, the reader has a deeper understanding of the negative effects of war on the individual.

Frederic does not only receive physical wounds but he also memorized which he experienced in the war. Frederic indicates at least three occasions which makes him mentally scared and these contribute to his self-doubts later. Frederic witness a lot death of his comrades, after the first battle is, I sat up straight and as I did so something inside my head moved like the weights on a doll’s eyes and it hit me inside in back of my eyeballs. (Ernest Hemingway: P59) Frederic reveals his inner thoughts when he is looking at the dead body of his ally. Frederic must think of it a lot he can still keep such a deep memory for this particular scene, therefore suggesting he is traumatized from the terrible events that he has experienced and lived through. Frederic can also be suspected to be affected from the way he portrays how the dead bodies were treated. The drops fell very slowly, as they fall from an icicle after the sun has gone. (Ernest Hemingway: P66) After being recovered from the battle, it is clear that Frederic’s mind changed a lot, but he has to see soldiers stepping the dead soldiers’ body like garbage bags. This traumatize Frederic’s mind, as no one can keep calm while their dead friends’ bodies are being thrown out onto the roads, but Frederic shows no immediate react. He does not wish to recall the gruesome image which suggests that the entire ordeal still haunts him. Frederic proves how traumatized he is from the war as he is describing the ‘shelling’,

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