The setting of A Farewell to Arms is Italy, where they were fighting Austria, during World War I. The story is about Frederick Henry, an American, who served as a lieutenant in the Italian army to a group of ambulance drivers. At the start of the novel, Frederick was a drunk who traveled from one house of prostitution to the next. Yet he was discontent with his unsettled lifestyle. Frederick meets Catherine Barkley an English volunteer nurse, who serves in Italy, at a near by hospital. In the first few chapters, Frederick’s life is seeing Miss Barkley, drinking with the others at his barracks, and driving the ambulance.
Frederick is in a bunker, preparing to drive the ambulance when, the bunker is shelled. One of his drivers is killed, two are wounded, and Frederick is hit in the knee. Frederick is forced to go to a hospital. Frederick transfers to the hospital where Catherine is stationed. Catherine was very experienced with love and loss. She lost a fiance in the war. Frederick slowly fell in love with her and in his love for her he found commitment. Catherine volunteers to work nights so they can spend time together. Frederick recuperates and returns to the front line after spending a week traveling with Catherine. But Catherine tells him that she is pregnant. Frederick admits to feeling trapped.
At the front line Frederick again starts driving ambulance. The Italian army is forced to retreat, though. While retreating Frederick looses three of his ambulances and two of his men. He is almost killed by the Carabinieri or army police, when they are stopping officers at a bridge. Frederick escapes int…
…end doing a little research before you start reading so you know what to expect and how to understand it.
There is great power in being an author; you can make things happen which do not necessarily occur in real life. Hemingway acted out his feeling of inadequacy and powerlessness by hunting, drinking, spending lots of money, and having many girlfriends. I believe Hemingway had Catherine Barkley and her child die because he believed that death comes to everyone; it was inevitable. Death ends life before you have a chance to learn and live. He writes, in A Farewell to Arms, “They threw you in and told you the rules and the first time they caught you off base they killed you… they killed you in the end. You could count on that. Stay around and they would kill you.” This shows the hopelessness that enveloped him.