Roxane Noffra Mr. Livingston 06/11/2012 Task 2 In Farewell to arms, written by Hemingway, we can appreciate how the (Henry) protagonist grew due to his relationship with Catherine and his experiences in war. His growth represents a genre convention: a typical development in the characters, overall in the protagonists. At the beginning of this book, Henry is characterized as being a drunken, womanizer fascinated with the nightlife; in fact, when he knew Catherine, he considered her just as another adventure, as the women he used to meet in the brothel.
In chapter 3, it’s easy to noticed how Henry indulged the temptation preferring to drink and having fun with girls, just for pleasure, without getting involved in a serious relationship “ . . . and the strange excitement of waking and no knowing who it was with you . . . ” (pag. 13). Through his best friend Rinaldi, Henry met Catherine, the woman that will influence his changed.
She was a mature woman, a woman that had a fiancee who died in a battle before they could get married; In fact, she had a different perspective of war from Henry’s point of view, she was more realistic about it instead Henry was not even interesting in the war, he did not really know why he joined the war effort. However, as his experiences in war intensify, he became deeply pessimistic about the war. However, he realizes that his love for Catherine is the only thing he is willing to commit himself to, considering her as his religion.
One of the relevant developments of Henry character is how his point of view toward war changed. On chapter 5 the difference between Catherine and Henry’s point of view is highlighted through their conversation in which Catherine looks more mature and realistic “ . . . Let’s drop the war. ” Henry said, Catherine answered, “It’s very hard. There’s not place to drop it” but on chapter 9 when Henry had more experience and is in love with Catherine his point of view changed, when he responded to Passini that omething worse than war is defeat (pg. 50). In point of fact, Henry became pessimist toward war. Some of his arguments were that he had not seen or appreciated any kind of glory or sacred (pg. 185), something that they were supposed to feel and go through in war. This conversation with the Italian soldier Gino, stand out how he was growing through his experiences. He claimed that the people sacrificed themselves for nothing; there were not results in war just more number of deaths.
Previously, Henry did not consider his relationship with Catherine a serious one. However when he was wounded, learned to value life and to prepare him to enter into a love relationship with Catherine. His first step to realize, that his feelings toward Catherine were different can be read in the next passage “I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly, I had gotten somewhat drunk and had nearly forgotten to come but when I could not see her there I was feeling lonely and hollow. ” (pg. 41).
Here Henry is realizing that with her he was changing his manner of treat women and that being away from her affected him. First of all, she was the first person whom gave him a reason of being scared of, since had something to lose; there is a quote on page 137 said by Catherine before she confessed his pregnancy “Life isn’t hard to imagine when you’ve nothing to lose. ” Here she means that until that point they did not have any to loose but now they were going to have a baby: an objective in life.
But for Henry the thing that he had more fear of losing was Catherine, as we can read in the last chapter “ . . . you took the baby but don’t le her die. That was all right but don’t let her die. Please, please, dear God . . . ” (pg. 330) also we can see how the character desperately pleaded with God to save his love, something that never occurred in the novel before. On contrary, Henry never showed any kind of belief in God. In fact, his relation-ship with Catherine had been the main reason of his development.
Being in company with a brave and mature woman taught him those characteristics. His growth is very clear: from a guy that did never feel in love, whom loved to drink and have fun, became a responsible and mature guy, something that even his closest friend noticed. Through his experiences, he understood that one must be engaged in life and be responsible. In fact, the development of this character represents a genre convention; the author used the relationship between Henry and Catherine to highlight Henry’s growing.