Free Essays Characterization In A Farewell To Arms

1215 words - 5 pages

Characterization in a Passage from A Farewell to Arms



Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation. Although that ceased when the carabiniere put his hands on my collar. I would like to have had the uniform off although I did not care much about the outward forms. I had taken off the stars, but that was for convenience. It was no point of honor. I was not against them. I was through. I wished them all the luck. There were the good ones, and the brave ones, and the calm ones and the sensible ones, and they deserved it. But it was not my show anymore and I wished this bloody train would get to Mestre and I would eat and stop thinking. I would have ...view middle of the document...

The stars also serve as a symbol but represent the same thing the river does. When he removes them he is simply calling it quits and removing himself from the war. Frederic becomes a civilian in the uniform of a soldier at this point. The uniform is not mentioned directly in the passage but it also has a definite representation. While he can remove the stars from the uniform, he cannot take it off. That shows that while Frederic can take himself out of the war, it will never completely leave him. Even when he dresses in civilian clothes, he mentions how he feels strange and misses his old clothes. "In civilian clothes I felt a masquerader. I had been in uniform a long time and I missed the feeling of being held by your clothes" (Hemmingway 243). The scenes of battle will stay with him forever and he will never be completely normal again.


The passage also demonstrates how much Frederic has changed from the beginning of the novel. His view towards honor is completely different. Frederic has come to the conclusion that there is no honor in the war as once believed but he does not ridicule those who continue to fight. He wishes them luck but for Frederic, it is no longer what he wants to be doing. Is this noble or cowardly? I would tend to believe that it is more cowardly than noble, because he is not really doing the killing but helping out those who have been injured; he has made a commitment to help and is running away from it. However, it could be considered noble because he is looking for peace by refusing to support either side. This all brings the reader to the fact of how much Frederic has changed since the beginning. He is no longer seeking the action and glory that was commonly associated with the war but running to the arms of his love. Also he is making the transition from "Hemingway hero" to "Code hero" because is bring up the fact that he has to stop and eat and fulfill his needs.


This passage illustrates to the reader that a huge turning point has just occurred. The Italian army is despairing the retreat and losing faith in their own men and executing without much logical reason. The army, which has never been on the offensive, has been able to maintain their defensive position up until now. They are retreating for the first time and the situation is growing more complicated. The Italians are hoping for...

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