A Farewell To Arms Study Guide

This essay has a total of 1160 words and 5 pages.

A Farewell To Arms

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is based largely on Hemingway's own personal
experiences. The main character of the book, Frederic Henry experiences many of the same
situations that Hemingway experienced. Some of these experiences are exactly the same,
while some are less similar, and some events have a completely different outcome.

A Farewell to Arms is the book of Frederic Henry, an American driving an ambulance for the
Italian Army during World War I. The book takes us through Frederic's experiences in war
and his love affair with Catherine Barkley, an American nurse in Italy. The book starts in
the northern mountains of Italy at the beginning of World War I. Rinaldi, Frederic's
roommate, takes him to visit a nurse he has taken a liking to. Catherine Barkley, the
nurse Rinaldi speaks of, is instantly attracted to Frederic and likewise.

At the front, Frederic is wounded in the legs and taken to an aid station and then to an
army hospital. He is then transferred to an American hospital in Milan where he meets up
with Catherine again. Their love flourishes. They spend their nights together in
Frederic's hospital bed and their days going to restaurants, horse races and taking
carriage rides.

Frederic returns to the war after his recovery. The war is going badly in Italy. The
German troops forced a full-scale retreat. Soon after Frederic's return, he deserts the
war in a daring escape. Frederic leaves and meets a pregnant Catherine in Stresa.

The two go over to Switzerland where they spend an peaceful time waiting for the birth of
their baby. Catherine has a long and difficult labor. Their baby is delivered dead.
Catherine dies soon after from "one hemorrhage after another." After Catherine dies,
Frederic leaves and walks back to his hotel. A Farewell to Arms is a story of love and
pain and of loyalty and desertion set in the tragic time of war.

There are many similarities in the experiences of Ernest Hemingway and his character
Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms. Hemingway and Henry were both involved in World War
I, in a medical capacity, but neither of them were regular army personnel. Like Hemingway,
Henry was shot in his right knee during a battle. Both men were Americans but were
ambulance drivers for the Italian Army. In real life, Hemingway met his love, Agnes, a
nurse, in the hospital after being shot; Henry met his love, Catherine Barkley, also a
nurse, before he was shot and hospitalized. In both cases, the relationships with these
women were strengthened while the men were hospitalized. Another difference is that in A
Farewell to Arms, Catherine and her child died while she was giving birth, this was not
the case with Agnes, who left Henry for another Italian Army officer. These slight changes
allowed Hemingway, an extremely private man, to try and prove to the public that it was
not himself and his own experiences which he was writing about.

There is great power in being an author; you can make things happen which do not
necessarily occur in real life. Hemingway felt throughout his life, powerless, and so to
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