Farewell To Arms Essay, Research Paper
One of the best novels of Ernest Hemingway is A Farewell to Arms. Hemingway takes much of his life story to his novels. A Farewell to Arms is the typical classic story that can refer to Romeo and his Juliet placed against the odds. In this novel, Romeo is Frederick Henry and Juliet is Catherine Barkley. Their love affair must survive the barrier of World War I. The background of war-torn Italy adds to the tragedy of the love story. The story starts when Frederick Henry is serving in the Italian Army. He meets his love in the hospital after he gets injured from the mortar attack. A Farewell to Arms is one of the best American novels because of the symbolism, the exciting plot and the characteristic of the main character, Lieutenant Henry. The symbolism in A Farewell to Arms is very much apparent. For example, In the book, Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Farewell to Arms, Malcolm Cowley focuses on the symbolism of rain. He sees rain a frequent occurrence in the book, as symbolizing disaster. He points out that, at the beginning of A Farewell to Arms, Henry talks about how “things went very badly” and how this is connected to “At the start of the winter came permanent rain”. In the book, Miss Barkley is afraid of the rain because she has a nightmare and she sees death in the rain. She says, “Sometimes I see me dead in it”, which she is referring to the rain as a death. It is raining the entire night when Miss Barkley is giving childbirth and when both she and her baby die.Another interesting symbol in A Farewell to Arms was the Priest. The Priest seems to reflect two different symbols in Hemmingway s novel. First of all the Priest is part of the Hemmingway code of discipline. The Priest is a very disciplined character. Fredrick looks up to the Priest because he is so disciplined. Discipline is an important part of the Hemmingway code of honor. Self-discipline and being in control of the situation are two extremely important aspects of the Hemmingway code of being a hero. Throughout the novel Fredrick seems to be able to control the situation. When he was wounded he ordered the doctor to heal him. He chose to leave the war and even after Catherine s death Fredrick still remains in control. The average person would most likely be shattered completely, but he said, “it was like saying good-by to a statue”. The idea here is it is like saying good bye to something inanimate, something frozen in time. Fredrick was in control enough to move on in his own life. The Priest is also a symbol of Hemmingway s view on religion. The officer ridiculed the Priest. This is saying that men don t want God anymore. During the time of World War II faith was down by many people. This is because people could not understand that if there is a God why would these atrocities happen. This made people lose faith in religion and ridicule religious figures like the Priest. Hemmingway is stating that people are ridiculing God. Another idea of God, which is complex, is that God is everlasting. Fredrick is a character that likes ephemeral things. Drinking and prostitution are ephemeral. They are straightforward and are quick pleasure. To achieve the concept of “good in God s eyes” it may take a lifetime. A lifetime that people don t want to wait. That is why Hemmingway s characters mock God, they want “quick pleasure”.