An Analysis of Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley from the Existentialist Perspective
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A Farewell to Arms, based on Hemingway’s own experiences serving in the Italian campaigns during the First World War, is considered by some critics as the finest novel to come out of the war and Hemingway’s personal best. It is a first-person account of an American, Lieutenant Frederic Henry, who serves in the ambulance corps of the Italian Army during World War I and falls in love with a British nurse named Catherine. In this paper, I will analyze the two protagonists, Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley from the perspective of existentialism. In the face of the absurdity of the world and the nothingness of life, the two characters choose to move on and live the best they can. By creating such two protagonists, Hemingway, though a spokesman of the “Lost Generation”, is telling us that despite the world’s malevolence and irrationality, one is free to choose to move on with some measure of control and dignity and to create their own individual meaning for their own life.
Hemingway, existentialism, Henry, Catherine