Main Themes in a Farewell to Arms

Categories: A Farewell to Arms

Composed in 1929 by Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms has constantly been thought about a timeless piece of literature. A significant source of the novel’s success is how its styles tied into reality experiences during the First World War. While soldiers of the war defended their nation, they searched for love to get away total chaos and destruction. The two main themes in A Farewell to Arms are the gruesome truth of war and the relationship in between love and discomfort.

The very first primary style of A Farewell to Arms is the destruction that war brings.

Just as the title explains, A Goodbye to Arms deals mainly with the procedure by which the lead character, Frederic Henry, detaches himself from the war and leaves it behind. While there are a few characters in the book who in fact support the effort, such as Ettore Moretti, a bulk of the characters stay uncertain about the war, angry of the total devastation it causes, and unsure of the elegance it supposedly brings.

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For example, while Henry and Passini discuss the war, Henry says, “I think we need to get the war over …

It would not end up if one side stopped combating. It would only be even worse if we stopped combating” (Chapter 9, Page 49). The 2nd primary theme of the novel is the connection between love and discomfort. While the war happens, Hemingway illustrates the real, strange habits of love. Although Catherine mourns for her dead future husband, she rapidly begins to seduce Henry.

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Her intentions for courting Henry are apparent, that is she wishes to separate herself from the pain of losing her future husband by finding a new love to fill deep space.

Similarly, Henry tries to distance himself from the war as much as possible. By doing so, Henry and Catherine find convenience within each other from the dilemmas that surround them. Similar to they fell in love with each other, Henry’s feelings for Catherine pass simply as quickly as he witnesses her death. As he offers goodbye to Catherine’s body, Henry says, “But after I got them to leave and shut the door and shut off the light it wasn’t any excellent. It resembled saying good-by to a statue. After a while I headed out and left the health center and strolled back to the hotel in the rain” (Chapter 41, Page 332).

Although Henry and Catherine genuinely loved each other, Henry’s heart is now void without the companionship of Catherine. The tragedy of A Farewell to Arms is that their love, although authentic, can never be more than temporary. In my opinion, I enjoyed this novel for a few reasons. First, A Farewell to Arms is a semi-autobiography about Hemingway and his time fighting in the Italian campaigns during World War I. Secondly, the novel is able to give perspective of the troubles and triumphs of those soldiers that fought during the war.

Finally, the mysterious love that Henry and Catherine have for each other proved to be interesting and unusual. In conclusion, A Farewell to Arms proved to be a masterpiece in my opinion. While addressing the struggles and feats of those soldiers who fought during World War I, we are able to dive into the conscious of a unique fighter who parts himself from the war as much as possible while trying to find true love, even though the reasoning behind finding love was only to help escape from the war.

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Main Themes in a Farewell to Arms. (2016, Sep 06). Retrieved from

Main Themes in a Farewell to Arms

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