Essay, Research Paper
SUFFERING Through many works of literature, authors tend to show many different tragedies when a person suffers in his/her life. In his novel A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemmingway shows these tragedies through the relationship between Fredrick Henry and Catherine Barkley. Hemingway portrayed these types of sufferings in ways that the reader feels the characters pain. A person during the rough times of war goes through several types of suffering. Hemingway s protagonist ,Henry and his love Catherine, experience three types of suffering. Both characters go through physical suffering, emotional suffering and suffering of separation. Henry experienced physical pain when he was wounded in the war. He goes through emotional suffering when he becomes depressed about being in the war. The most difficult type of suffering that he goes through is the suffering of separation when he is separated from Catherine and his other loved ones. He was the Lieutenant of an ambulance service in the Italian army.Emotional suffering caused by the war occurred throughout Hemingway s novel. Henry was faced with emotional suffering very early in the war. He got very emotional when he thought of his family in America. Henry had not seen his family in a long time because After high school he went to Europe as a volunteer ambulance driver (qtd in Brasen 2Hemingway 43). While henry was in the hospital he fell deep in love with a young, beautiful nurse named Catherine Barkley. He really did not want to fall in love, but he still did. Henry desperately wanted to have her hand in marriage, but was unable to because of the war. He would not be able to be in a relationship with her because he was to be at war. When trying to help Henry s emotional suffering Catherine stated And you don t feel trapped (135). Henry replied Maybe a little, but not with you (135). No one likes to be in a war, especially Henry. He did not like being I the war because of what he saw. All he saw was Austrians dead lying on their faces with their pockets turned out and each body surrounded by postcards, and letters from a surprising quantity of paper (qtd in Cowley 43-44). This experience is the most gruesome sight that he had seen. This made Henry suffer terribly. Since Catherine Barkley loved Henry so much she sacrificed and changed her life. She changed her life so she could be with Henry as much as possible. When Catherine was enformed that she was carrying his child she was so happy. She could not wait to tell Lieutenant Henry that he had his own little Sergeant on the way. Catherine thought it was a good idea but it wasn t; Henry suffered because he so upset that he was going to have a baby during the war. He also had no place to live with his child and his love. Henry now wanted to marry her even more, but he still couldn t. He looked forward though to when his son Will have a gun and they can pop off to the forest like two boys together (qtd in Fielder 87). He really did not think about many things. All he could think about was The relations of father to son of battle companions, friends on a fishing Brasen 3trip, fellow inmates at a hospital, a couple of waiters preparing to close up shop, a bull fighter and his manager, a boy and a gangster (qtd in Fielder 386). Henry and Catherine both felt that they could not remain where they were. Henry and his love escaped to Switzerland and remained there for the rest of Catherine s pregnancy. Just when he thought he was in heaven he suddenly went to hell. While giving birth Catherine hemorrhaged and died. The baby, strangled by its umbilical cord, also died. This is where henry started to suffer badly. His life would never be the same. Henry wanted to say a final good- bye to his love and his child but It was like saying good-bye to a statue (330). Henry was now lost in life, he did not know what to do. There was nothing to do, But what we find in the treatise is not the emotion of death as the profound, inspiring an infinitely human phenomenon that is but the celebration of that sordid post parricidal slaughter with its cruel and mannered ritual (qtd in D Agostino 153). Henry then began to think he was trying to Simplify life, but instead it include the sort of essential emotion it presents, a wide range of connotations (qtd in D Agostino 159-160).
The most obvious suffering that was inflicted by the war was physical suffering. Henry s experience with this suffering will never be forgotten. His suffering began when he was having dinner with his friends in an old abandoned house. One moment they were having a discussion and the next Henry felt as though he was dead. You saw flesh then heard the crack, then saw the smoke ball distort and thin in the wind ( qtd in Hoffman 110). I knew I was hit and I leaned over and out my hand on my knee. My knee wasn t Brasen 4there. My hand went in and my knee was down on my shin (72). When being assisted by the ambulance workers h replied I d rather wait; there are much worse wounded then me, I m alright (58). After all the other soldiers had been assisted and taken care of he was finally assisted. Henry was taken to the hospital where doctors operated on him.The final physical suffering Henry experienced was the pain he felt when rowing his boat to Switzerland. He was badly wounded in the Italian front: he was given a silver metal: and after being patched together in a Milan hospital he served for a long time in the Italian troops, the Arditi (qtd in Cowley 43). When he had to evacuate Italy in order to save his love s and his unborn child s lives. The only way he could do this was by boat. He had to row all the way to Switzerland. He constantly rowed. Continuously he rowed through the night for the safety of Catherine. Sometimes I missed the water with the oars in the dark as the wave lifted the boat. It was quite rough, but I kept on rowing until we were close ashore against a point of a rock that rose beside us, the waves striking against it rushing high up, then falling back (270-271). He rowed for twenty hours with only three brakes. He was suffering with tremendous pain but it was worth it, for he was saving his love s life.Almost all the characters in Hemingway’s novel experienced this final suffering. That is the suffering of separation. The war, once again, the cause of some of this suffering. Henry was separated from his love and he was depressed. This was the hardest suffering of the war. Everyone who went to fight in the war was separated from his or her loved ones. Brasen 5The most difficult suffering of separation was the separation caused by death. Henry lost many friends in the war but most importantly he lost his love Catherine. Every moment that went by henry would say what if she did not die (32), She won t die (32). He believed himself that he couldn t die but he was wrong. This wasn t the only suffering he was going through. His little sergeant [his child] died also. With its Umbilical cord around its neck it had no chance of survival. Only the dead woman becomes neither a whore nor a mother: and Catherine can quite become either she must die, killed by childbirth (qtd. in Fielder 87). During the course of the novel henry tried to do a lot of things. Henry attempted to escape the obligations which life imposes. He tried not to fall in love, but he did. He attempted to escape war, but he felt like a school boy playing truant (qtd. in West 36). Henry tried so hard to live a prefect life but instead he could only live a suffering one.