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An analysis of the main character Lt. Henry in A Farewell to Arms - Essay Example

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The couple, Lieutenant Frederic Henry and a beautiful English nurse, Catherine Barkley has fallen in love with each other that begins with playful games of seduction, but…
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An analysis of the main character Lt. Henry in A Farewell to Arms
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An analysis of the main character Lt. Henry in A Farewell to Arms

Lieutenant Frederic Henry is a young American who feels a strong obligation to serving the Italian army, but seldom finds himself without enjoyment. He interprets himself as a man of duty. The experience on the battlefront does not modify his self belief or feeing of honor; nor does he expect any praise for his services as a soldier. During duties in the war, Henry is seriously wounded on the battlefield and sent to the hospital in Milan for knee operation. His friend Rinaldi criticizes him for his injury and the medals of distinction that Henry may receive. Rinaldi stated, “You will be decorated. They want to get you the medaglia d’argento but perhaps they can get only the bronze.” Henry said, “What for?” Rinaldi replied, “Because you are gravely wounded…. Did you do any heroic act?” Henry’s frustration with his friend insisting on lobbying for a medal goes without notice, “No… I was blown up while we were eating cheese” (63). This clearly shows how Henry distances himself from nonfigurative thinking as faith, honor, and patriotism and also displays the spirit of his personality. During his recovery in the hospital, he feels very fortunate that Miss Barkley is transferred to Milan, and allowed to be by his side.
During this time of healing, Henry and Catherine’s love blossoms causing him to stay with her and not return to battle. Catherine’s feelings are so strong for Henry that she considers their relationship to be a feeling above all belief, “You see, darling, it would mean everything to me if I had any religion. But I haven’t any religion… You’re my religion; you’re all I’ve got” (116). This relationship is seemed to be surprising for the fact he barely knew her and much like his friend, Rinaldi, who forever longed for a night’s simple pleasures. Unaccustomed to such feeling of love and desire, Henry realizes that this new feeling is ... Read More
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