Ernest Hemingway – 3
Being at the front, Ernest Hemingway began to realize that the war had
been started by ruling classes, which sent millions of men to death for the
sake of their own profits. Many young men who had gone through the war thought
the same. Hemingway expressed this view on World War I in many of his books.
The novel "A Farewell to Arms” is one of them. The hero of the novel, an
American Frederic Henry, volunteers for the Italian army. He sees the horrors
of the war with his own eyes and begins to hate it. At this time he meets
Catherine Barkley, a nurse from the British hospital. Shortly afterwards,
Frederic Henry goes into the battle and is badly wounded. He is sent to
hospital, where Catherine takes care of him. They fall in love with each other.
The time they spend together at the hospital is the happiest in their lives.
But their happiness cannot last long. On leaving the hospital Frederic Henry
goes back to the front. The Italian soldiers are leaving their positions and
the army police arrest and shoot their officers. Frederic Henry is among the
arrested officers, but he manages to escape, changes into civilian clothes and
goes to Catherine, who is now in a small Italian town not far from Switzerland
Frederic Henry decides to get out of the war, that is, to say farewell
to arms. He is not a coward; many episodes at the front show that he is brave
and active. He does so because he hates the war and those who started it.
Together with Catherine he rows over the lake to Switzerland, where he is sure they
will be happy. But a man can’t be happy in a world of wars, says the author.
His novel has a tragic end: Catherine dies in childbirth and Frederic Henry is