Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms

A review of Ernest Hemingway’s novel `A Farewell to Arms.`

This paper examines Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms. based on Hemingway’s memories of driving an ambulance during World War I. Many of Hemingway’s novels are semi-autobiographical and the character of Frederic Henry is in fact modeled on himself and part of the story on his relationship with his wife. It shows that while this is a novel of memory, it is also a novel of self-discovery, structured to show the self-exploration and self-discovery of Frederic who’s character changes from the beginning of the novel to the end. It analyzes how the title of the novel has a dual meaning, for by the end of the novel the Frederic Henry will have been tested by arms, meaning the tools of war and he will have been held by the arms of his wife. He says farewell to both, to the war as he deserts and to his wife because she dies. `It is, of course, through his relationship with Catherine that his ability to care is brought forth most clearly so that it becomes a part of his overt personality. Catherine, for her part, is drawn to Frederic precisely because he is not deceptive, whether that is because he does not care enough or not. Catherine `defines herself as someone living life as fully as she can` (Hays 62), and `her love and devotion convert Frederic Henry from a selfish, uncaring individual to one who loves, who shares, and who serves others` (Hays 62). The relationship mirrors the one Hemingway himself had with Agnes, as noted, and he uses the story in the novel as a metaphor for his reality.`