Love In War

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Lieutenant Henry has fallen in love with Catherine Barkley. He is an American ambulance driver for the Italian Army. She is an English nurse. This is World War I. Love in itself is complicated but to be in love during the war is a fight within itself. The war pulls them apart and brings them back together after Henry is injured during an attack from the Austrian Army. During his recovery their love and passion intensifies. They discover she is with child, but he must return to the front. Things take a turn for the worst during a retreat when Henry must run for his life and somehow find the woman he longs to be his wife.
                A Farewell to Arms was an honest interpretation of new love. Catherine at times can be annoying with her proclamations of love but she was raw with her emotions. Henry was much more reserved with how he relayed his information but was still very willing to convey his feelings to her. Henry was the narrator of the story so we were exposed to his every day activities, his friends and his duties as Lieutenant in the Italian Army. I commend Hemingway on creating such a unique situation where we have an American in an Italian Army during the first World War. It made for an interesting landscape for this story to play out. People would encounter Henry and in many situations were not sure exactly how to react to his presence. Some thought he was a traitor, others a spy. He was easily recognizable as the American “Tenente” which did not always work towards his advantage.

                I’m not sure how I feel about this novel. Was it interesting? Yes. Was the writing enjoyable? Yes and extremely detailed and filling. Would I recommend it? Yes, but it was very bleak. There was a lot going on in this novel. There were parts that I enjoyed, like conversations between Henry and his friends and the relationship as a whole between him and Catherine. But I personally would have loved to see more of Henry as the Lieutenant in the war. The war was almost played as a filler between Henry’s interaction with Catherine. I have to take into consideration that this book was released in 1929 so I don’t know how much information was available for him to elaborate on the Italian front. What this novel did make me do though, was root for the couple. I wanted them to be together, be married and be happy because I felt how honest the relationship was and how much they were willing to go through to be together. For that reason alone I would suggest you give a try.


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