Free Essays – Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms
A FAREWELL TO ARMS
Do you agree that Farewell to Arms is as successful in the portrayal of fear and suffering as when he writes of courage and comradeship?
The four themes of fear, suffering, courage and comradeship are prominent issues which are raised in the novel Farewell to Arms.
The protagonist, Frederick Henry faces fear when he is injured where he admits his own fear. He shows courage without second thought when he helps injured men coming from the front. Individual suffering is shown through the eyes of Frederick Henry having to face the death of his wife and child. Physical suffering is obviously shown by the men that get injured in the war. This physical suffering provides the context in which courage can take place. Comradery, surprisingly, doesn’t seem to be as obvious in the novel as the other themes; it is mainly shown by the nurses’ commitment to one another and the ‘male bonding’ at the mess. There also seems to be more of an individual comradery within friendships and with individuals rather than a whole group. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be a sense of people working together for a common cause.
These four themes contribute to the many decisions that Frederick Henry has to make. That is in regards to the war and his relationship with Catherine, he has an inner conflict with himself with external forces pulling him in opposite directions which the protagonist must sort out which is more important to follow.
Frederick Henry is an American who serves as a lieutenant in the Italian army to a group of ambulance drivers, whom is portrayed by Hemmingway as a ‘lost man’ searching for order and value in his life.
The fear and suffering the Frederick Henry has in his life which he experiences by the war, shows him how pointless the war is, he disagrees with the war because it is too chaotic and immoral for him to rationalize its cause. However, he fights anyway, in order to achieve the discipline which the army forces into his life. The courage he has in the war and comradeship or the individual comradeship he has with various people such as Catherine and the priest gives him a sense of order and value in his life that the war does not give him. Frederick Henry befriends the priest because he admires the fact that the priest lives his life by a set of values that give him an orderly lifestyle.