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"Farewell To Arms" By Ernest Hemingway: Who Is The More Admirable Character Frederic Henry Or Catherine Barkley?

956 words - 4 pages

"Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway is a novel of love and war during the First World War, narrated by the main character, Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver for the Italian army. Between Frederic and his love companion Catherine Barkley, the reader observes the personality traits of both their good and their bad. While Catherine is viewed in a more positive light by not only Hemingway on a few occasions, but also the author of the article "Catherine Barkley and the Hemingway Code: Ritual and Survival", Sandra Whipple Spanier and for the most part the author of "Frederic Henry's Escape and the Pose of Passivity", Scott Donaldson, Frederic is unfairly given a bad rap. On the ...view middle of the document...

Frederic continues to think about and daydream of being with Catherine in many areas of the book and his loyalty to her from their first encounter on throughout the book is just one of the many commendable traits of his character that exemplifies his admirable nature.Throughout the book, Frederic expresses his indifference for the war and its elements. During a discussion with Rinaldi after he has been wounded (Hemingway 63-65), Frederic doesn't express any feelings of the emotions of the war or its romantic ideals of glory and honor, but rather he simply states the cold hard facts and shows that he doesn't feel a sense of patriotism for either side in the war. While his stoic stance and laid-back nature isn't exactly romantic, his daydreaming of being with Catherine shows that he is more focused on love than war, much unlike the other characters around him. For being someone who is very much a part of the war, Frederic is particularly admirable for not wanting to be involved with such a brutal occurrence as war as well as his reluctance to be awarded with medals that Rinaldi speaks of, or any sense of heroism.During periods where Frederic is on his own or involved with the war, he is more exposed to the reader than any other character, particularly Catherine. While it is appropriate that as the main character Frederic is appearing in almost every scene and chapter, people are able to see his flaws more so than Catherine. Catherine really only appears when she is with Frederic and that takes away from what the reader can...

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