Significant Theme of Love in “A Farewell to Arms”

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In Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms, one of the most significant themes Hemingway emphasizes on in the novel is love. He showed this theme through the novel by descriptively describing Lt. Henry and Catherine Barkley’s relationship.

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Although in book one of the novel, Hemingway’s view on love is very cynical. He expresses this cynical idea on love through describing Lt. Henry and Catherine Barkley’s relationship as a game where Lt. Henry must plan each action out like moves in a chess game to get what he wants from Catharine. Early on, Lt. Henry thinks he is playing this game alone. However, later in their relationship Catherine to his surprise reveals that she is also playing what she refers to in the text as a rotten game we play. This indicates that they both were playing a game with each other in which they were both trying to get something out of one another.

At first sight, Catherine Barkley was attracted to Lt. Henry, it was also the same attraction that Lt. Henry had for Catherine. After first meeting Catherine, Lt. Henry promised to come and see her every day or as often as he could, which is what he does. Them seeing each other leads to their somewhat fake relationship leading to a very serious and meaningful relationship over time. Lt. Henry’s leg injury later in the book also strengthens their relationship even more when he gets to see her again at the hospital in Milan after being moved there to treat and have his leg operated on.

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