Frederic Henry: Character Analysis in A Farewell To Arms

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FREDERIC HENRY’S CONCEPT, IDEOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY AND INVOLVEMENT WITH WAR: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT

Not an Ideal Portrait or Personality
      In A Farewell to Arms the protagonist Frederic Henry is presented to us as an unconventional hero. This unconventionality is discussed in relation to the two main themes in the novel: War and love. In his attitude to war, Henry undergoes various changes as the novel progresses and his shortcomings more than his merits are discussed. He is not an ideal person, he is a man with faults and yet likable. To understand this view better we shall look into his changing views of war in greater detail.

His Initial Pleasure Seeking Attitude
      As the novel opens and we are introduced to Henry the first thing that strikes us is that he is an American who is serving in the Italian army. He is in charge of an ambulance unit. He is an officer with the rank of lieutenant but it is to be noted that he is very casual in lies attitude to war. He is not a patriot serving a cause with passion and fervour. He is quite superficial and his motive for joining the Italian army is never made clear in the novel.

      At the beginning of the novel, Henry comes across as a pleasure-loving person. He spends his time eating and drinking with the other officers, going to the brothel. At this point what his duties are and how he goes about it, has not been shown. He goes away on leave and the manner in which he spends his leave, going on a pleasure-seeking spree through the big cities shows that he is a serious man. He is interested more in carnal pleasures. Wine and women are his chief recreation. Nothing else matters. During his leave, there had been little differences between one day and another and between night and day. Therefore, he seems to be in the war to have a good time, to enjoy himself rather than to perform any patriotic duty.

His Performance of His Duties
      However, when Henry returns from his leave and gone back to duty, we find that he is rather conscientious and efficient in discharging his duties. As he comes back to Gorizia, he immediately goes and inspects the ambulances under his charge. He is ever slightly disappointed that even in his absence everything has been running smoothly and everything is in good condition. He had been under the impression that he was indispensable to the unit. “But the whole thing seemed to run better while I was away” reflects Henry; This shows that Henry is not adverse to performing his duty and does carry them out to the best of his ability. It also shows that he is honest and frank and he doesn’t deceive either himself or the other about his ride in the war.

Courageous, Kind and Sympathetic
      Soon after returning to the front, Henry goes to survey the Front where the war is going on. He shows no signs of nervousness or fear in carrying out his duty. He remains completely unpurterbed, calmly driving back even though a number of shells burst quite close to his vehicle. The next day while driving back to Gorizia from the mountains he comes across a straggler i.e., a soldier who cannot keep up with his regiment. He is suffering from tension but his lieutenant said he had injured himself deliberately and refuses to let him go to the hospital. Henry is sympathetic and offers to take him in his ambulance. Further he advises this soldier to get “a bump on his head” so that he can pick him up when he expresses an unwillingness to go back on the times. This incident also indicates that Henry is sympathetic towards a fellow creatures and that he is willing to bend the rules on little in order to help him.

War Not of Vital Concern
      Henry is a man given to quick reflection. Later, after the above-mentioned incident henry begins to think about the war he was in. He muses about the war and calls the place (the war front) a strange and mysterious zone. For no reason he wishes that he were in some British unit instead of an Italian one. This implies that it does not matter much whether he serves America, Italy or England as a nation. Then he feels that in the war, the risk to his life was not so great, especially since he is only in charge of the ambulance unit; and yet it occurs to him that even ambulance drivers do get killed. Still, he feels that he would not get killed in the war. And yet, he wishes to God that the war were over though the war does not vitally concern him and seems no more dangerous than a war in the films. This chain of thoughts throw light on an attitude of unconcern towards the war. He performs his duties as he would at any other job. Out he is not overtly concern which country to serve or which side should win the war. He is not in the war due to patriotism or nationalism. He is not in the war to win glory or dignity. He is not a conventional hero of the war.

No Affectation or Hypocrisy
      As the Italian offensive starts, Henry and his unit are posted at the front. We observe Henry competently doing his duty. He finds a proper dugout for his drivers to stay in during the offensive and promptly goes to arrange for their food when told that they are hungry. This shows his deep concern for those working under him. In the subsequent shilling Henry is severely wounded in his legs and scarp. Later, when Rinaldi inquires if he has done any heroic act because a silver medal can be awarded to him, he frankly says he had done nothing of the sort and that he had been wounded while eating. He has neither carried wounded soldiers on his back, nor has he given up his turn at the medical examination to other wounded soldiers. This kind of condone makes Henry a likeable character. He doesn’t brag about his achievements where there aren’t any. This put him on a different plane from the soldiers who deliberately wound themselves to escape war duty and also from those who are into war to earn medals and glory. He is free from hypocrisy and he is in no way affected. However, in a later chapter he lies to the doctor about his brave deeds. But this is just in order to please the doctor and facilitate the operation on his knee. He doesn’t in the least intend to glorify himself when he calls the doctor that he had killed a large number of enemy soldiers. Later on Rinaldi says of Henry that “You are really an Italian. All fire and smoke, and nothing inside.” This is absolutely true of Henry’s attitude to the war.

Depressed by the war
      Henry takes a long leave and returns to the front having recovered from his injuries. He rejoins his unit at Gorizia. He is ordered to take charge of the ambulances now stationed in Gorizia. In his room he is visited by the priest. During the courses of their conversation, Henry says that both sides shall not stop fighting at once because no one ever stopped fighting when they were winning. The Austrians will not stop as they have won a victory. “It is only in defeat that we become Christians” he says.

      Further he says that even Jesus Christ attained humility only due to a feeling of defeat. Suddenly all these war talk depresses Henry and he tells the priest that was why he never tried to think of the war.

      He doesn’t believe in either victory or in defeat. This implies that Henry is depressed by the war. Earlier he had wanted the war to end. Now he doesn’t even want to think about it or anything else related to it. Thus at this point there is a change in his attitude. Earlier he was casual and unconcerned. Now he is freed from the illusion that the war cannot affect him.

No Trust in Traditional or Conventional Ideals
      The Italians faces a defeat at Caporetto and are forced to retreat. Just before this defeat when the Italians are facing the hardships of being unable to get food to eat and the fear that it might affect the morale of the soldiers and the ultimate fear of losing the war. Henry is shown talking to Gino or patriot. As Gino talks about the war with patriotic fervour. Henry feels embarrassed by such words as “sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in rain”. He feels that such words are empty and have little meaning. Only the names of concrete places have dignity. Abstract words such as “glory, honour, courage, or hallow” appear obscene to him. Henry clearly has no believe in these traditional ideals. These conventional ideals are more abstractions, Henry feels the name of places has more dignity than these abstract words because places are concrete and solid.

Quick to Action
       The order for the retreat is given. During the retreat Henry’s job is to get the ambulances to Pordenone. And as the road becomes overcrowded and jammed Henry takes the initiative and diverts the ambulances from the main road to a by-lane. Later, when they get stuck in this by-lane and the two sergeants walk-off refusing to help, Henry immediately takes out his pistol and shoots at them, actually hitting one of them. In these two incidents, the first proves a failure. The second cannot be fully justified. Both prove that Henry is quick to action. He doesn’t hesitate to take action where the action is necessary. This is proved further as he made his group of four drivers towards Pordenone. He takes the lead in everything. Again, this is proved when he jumps into the Tagliamento river as he is about to be captured by the Italian battle police undue suspicion of being a Gunman in an Italian uniform. Jumping into the river to escape the firing squad shows that he has presence of mind, is quick to decide and has the capability to act instantly or that decision. Henry’s instant reactions tend more towards the rash side. But neither are they unjustifiable. Henry’s escape, technically a desertion, is right from the point of view that otherwise he would have been surely shot by the Italian Battle Police.

Henry Broods Over the War
      Having swum away in the Tagliamento now jumps into a freight train carrying guns. And as he lies crouching on the flower of the freight train he contemplates about the war. He thinks about how he lost the three ambulances that he was to get to Pordenone and feels that he had failed in his duty. But now he is out of the war and he feels that he has no responsibility and obligation to the Italian army Now, this swim in the river, that he had been forced to take such a step, had washed away any kind of obligation that he had. His anger had also been washed away too. He doesn’t even want to wear his uniform anymore. For him, it's all over. He is thorough with the war. These reflections reveal Henry’s deeper nature and temperament. Thus, now Henry has gone from being casual to or conscientious officer taking care of those under him, to bitterness and anger as the brutal reality of the war unfolded before him. Now he no longer wishes to have anything to do with the war”. He has left the war and is now heading towards Catherine. He is frank with his sentiments. He wonders what they will say of him and about Rinaldi and the priest and others. But for him, that life was over.

Sense of Guilt
      Later, however, his desertion makes him feel guilty and this sense of guilt persists till the end of the novel. There are several instances when this guilt comes to the fore. For example, as he takes the train to Stresa from Milan, he doesn’t read the newspaper because he doesn’t want to be reminded of the war. He says he has made “a separate peace”. Therefore he wants to forget the war. In the Grand Hotel in Stresa, the barman questions him, about the war, again he tells him that he doesn’t want to talk about it. He feels that the war is a long way away. For him the war is over. But he is not completely happy. He feels like a student who thinks about what might be happening at a certain hour in the school from which he has played truant. He expresses the same sentiment when Count Greffi asks him about the war during their game of billiards. The war refuses to leave him, however. The fear of arrest for having deserted the army drives them to Switzerland. But even the idyllic life in Switzerland doesn’t cure him of these persistent thoughts. In the mountains when Catherine asks him, he says, “Sometimes I wonder about the front and about people I know but I don’t worry”, but he subconsciously worries. Thus, even though he repeatedly says” I am thorough with the war”, subconsciously he cannot forget it.

Conclusion
      Henry’s involvement vis-a-vis the war is a long and constantly changing one. He starts out with a very casual attitude towards war. It is almost as if he joined the war as a personal whim. However, he gets personally involved when he gets wounded and returns to serve the army after recuperating. However, this time the army is forced to retreat and as he joins it he comes face to face with the grim realities of war and deserts. But feelings of guilt haunt him till the end. This warring and fluctuating nature of Henry’s attitude however in no way detracts from the character. In facts it shows him as an evolving and developing character.

FREDERIC HENRY: LOVER OF VARIOUS MOODS

Love of Sensuousness
      In much the same way as Henry’s relationship to the war undergoes changes throughout the novel, Henry’s love for Catherine also undergoes stages of changes and development. In the beginning he lias no intention of falling in love with Catherine. It is just a game for him. Then he goes to her for physical love. He says, coming to her was better than going to the brothel in the town Catherine is beautiful and easily surrenders. He comes to her simply to have a good time.

From Sensuousness to a Deeper Feeling
      However, Henry’s attitude changes very soon. Once he treats going to her very lightly and almost forgets going over. But once there, he finds that he cannot see her as she was not feeling well. And suddenly he feels lonely and empty—when he could not see her, he feels lonely and hollow. Later as he easy wounded in the hospital and she comes in, he thinks that he had never seen anyone so beautiful and he says “when I saw her I was in love with her. Everything turned over inside of me.” But clearly his love is still more of physical love.

Crazy in Love
      To the hospital in Milan, where Henry has been shifted from the field hospital, Catherine arrives. She has been transferred there. As they meet again, their love affair develops. Henry was fallen in love with her at last. And he tells her that “I am crazy in love with you, and by her to stay with him pleading that the authorities just couldn’t send her away. Then he admits that God knows. He had not wanted to fall in love with her. He had not wanted to fall in love with anyone. But as he lay in the hospital, he knew he had fallen in love and all sorts of things went through his head and he felt wonderful.

A Touch of Dullness
      On the other hand, it can be said that Henry experiences moments of dullness in their relationships. Some critics have pointed out that his eventual isolation with Catherine is not altogether blissful. That their love cannot be completely happy is brought out by these critics in the race-course episode. Catherine is tired of being with lots of other people and wants to be alone with Henry. Later Henry says, “after we had been alone or while we were glad to see the others again.” Even Catherine had acknowledged it by saying, “don’t let me spoil your fun, darling. I’ll go back whenever you want.” It is as if he is merely indulging her and he is bored being alone with her.

      On the other hand, it is common that two people cannot stay together for twenty-four hours in a clay. Moreover, Henry, who had so strongly stated that he had never wanted to fall in love with anyone, has repeatedly expressed his strong and deep love for her. So we can also say that Henry may have found being alone at the races dull but that he indulges her, also shows the extent of his love for her.

Idea of Marriage
      Henry has by now fallen deeply in love with Catherine and has even thought of marriage. He invites Ferguson to come to their marriage. Catherine however doesn’t want to get married as that would mean that they would have to be separated. And Henry reflects that he worried about marriage in case Catherine became pregnant or something happened to him but he was happy not being married. His love is however not devoid of a sense of responsibility because the moment he finds out that Catherine is really pregnant he insists on marriage but Catherine firmly says no and he withdraws saying he would marry her the day she said so.

Thoughts of War and Distraction.
      Book-V is a chronicle of the united bliss that the lovers share in the mountains. The lovers lead a very happy and contented life in the mountains far away from anyone. They are almost in an isolated state, the only people they know and talk to being the couple who owns the house and Catherine’s hairdresser. Catherine seems to have completely submerged herself to the role of a good wife and is absolutely happy. Henry however is sometimes ragged by the thoughts of war. In a way, he is distracted from love by the feelings of guilt that crops up in his mind. He says he doesn’t worry but the very fact that he thinks and that Catherine finds him distracted shows that he does worry.

Premonitions of Doom
      As Catherine and Henry share an idyllic time high up in the mountains a slight tone of boredom is evident in their everyday life. They are always together, they hardly talk to anybody, their days are filled with such activities as watching the terraced mountainside, the winding roads, etc. It is most clearly visible when Catherine suggests to Henry that we would and it shall be something for him to do. There is also a sense of restlessness evident not in Catherine but mostly in Henry. As they enjoy a wonderful holiday Catherine is a “lovely wife” and he tells her, “Oh, darling, I love you so”. Yet he senses trouble in Paradise and the readers along with Catherine senses a restlessness in him. His premonitions are subtly put across to the reader. For instance, one night he woke to find Catherine awake too. Then Catherine suggests that they go to sleep at exactly the same moment. But Henry says “we did not”. I was awake for quite a long time thinking about things and watching Catherine sleeping, the moonlight on her face. Then I went to sleep, too. Later, as the time for the delivery of the child comes near, Henry says the coming of the baby gave them both a feeling as though something was hurrying them and they could not lose any time together.

      However, that Henry and Catherine have found true love in each other and that they really are happy cannot be doubted. All through the novel, winter is a time of death and pestilence. But the winter that Henry and Catherine lives through “was very fine and we were very happy”. For the first time winter is a fine time. It should, however, be noted that some critics find a “note of irony in the lines that express the happiness of the couple. For instance, when Catherine tells Henry that after the baby comes, she shall turn into a brand new Catherine for him to fall to, he says "Hell, I love you enough now. What do you want to do? Ruin me?” Here, Henry means that her excessive beauty shall draw excessive love from him and ruin him but in the end, he is “ruined” in a sense by her death.

Inability to Feel for the Child
      Catherine goes through a difficult and protracted labour. Henry is extremely worried. But for Catherine of the child, he says “It makes trouble and is born and then you look after it and get fond of it may be.” He is hardly concerned about the child. Later when the child is born, he has no feelings for it. He doesn’t feel like a father. And when the nurse asks him "aren’t you proud of her son?” he says “No, he nearly killed his mother.” Then when he finds out that he has died, he feels pity for the kid but nothing much. He feels no fatherly remorse.

Utter Numbness and Desolation in the Last Moments
      Maybe Henry was not psychologically ready to be a father. He doesn’t really feel like a father. When he had learned that Catherine was pregnant he had felt overtly happy that he was going to be a father. He had only worried about Catherine and what would happen to her. In the last moments of the novel when Catherine undergoes immense pain in her attempt to give birth, Henry is desolate, empty, and unable to do anything. He knows she is in great pain and that she is going to die. He feels it is a biological trap. Nature was punishing her for the nights spent in Milan. This was what happen. He thinks and thinks about it, saying they got you in the end. As Catherine lay in the hospital dying, Henry says she is going to die and for the first time he prays to the Almighty to spare her and he would do anything. He takes the news of her death calmly and tries to say goodbye and love her for one last time but it was no good. It was like saying goodbye to a statue. He walks back to his hotel in the rain. And when he leaves he is hollow and empty. He doesn’t cry and scream and rage. But his sorrow is evident and as he walks away in the rain we know that his life shall never be the same again.










DEVELOPMENT AND ROLE OF FREDERIC HENRY

Self-realization Through Experiences
      The structure of the novel A Farewell to Arms can be understood if the key to it the lesson that Henry leaves from the various experience in the course of the story. The story’s true effect largely depends on the degree of Henry's self-realization and his recognition of the meanings evident in his experiences, his acceptance of these meanings, because it is only in his progressive recognition of his meaningful experiences in life that a man’s identity can be measured.

The Motif of Self-discovery
      This motif of self-discovery and self-recognition is introduced as early as in chapter 3 in the novel. In this chapter Henry tries to explain to the priest why he had not gone to Abruzzi, a calm, quiet place and also the priest’s native place during his furlough but had spent it in the big cities of Italy, going from one city to another blindly following the sleep-inducing carnival-like Atmosphere and not knowing whose he was, what he was doing or who he was with. A further study of the following passage will help the student to understand better the frame of reference in which Henry’s self-discovery and experience take a more significant shape.

      “I had wanted to go to Abruzzi. I had gone to no such place but to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring. Suddenly to care very much and to sleep, to wake with it sometimes morning and all that had been there gone and everything sharp and hard and clear.”

      This passage is important. It helps us to know, the Henry that is, before his experiences begin, i.e., his experiences of both love and war. The difference between what he is at the beginning of the novel and what he becomes in the course of the novel, and in the end is important because it is the measurement of this difference that brings out the growth and development of Henry.

Henry in the Beginning: A Rootless Empty Life
      At the beginning of the novel, Frederic Henry comes across as a rootless character. He is an American serving in the Italian army. The reason behind this is neither patriotism nor honour or glory. In fact the reason for his joining the war is never clear. He has no feelings of hatred against the Austrians and Germans either. He is in the war but the war is of no vital concern to him. He did not have anything to do with it. It was no more dangerous to him than the war in the movies. In the same way he is semi-detached from his family and as far as women are concerned he has had sexual relationships with a large number of women but he has never truly loved a woman. He hasn’t had a meaningful relationship till now. Thus, in the outset of the novel Henry as a character is almost non-existent. There is nothing much to him. He can only be identified or recognized by his manners and his persisting urge to satisfy his physical needs—the need to drink, eat and be merry, the need to fulfill his sexual urges, and the excitement of the war. Apart from this, he is detached and aloof from everything else. His character is symbolized by a central emptiness which is evident in the image of the masquerade. Henry is a rootless American masquerading as an Italian officer. Ferguson calls him a dirty sneaking American Italian: “a snake with an Italian uniform with a cape around his neck.”

A Character that Develops along with the Novel

      Henry has not been drawn as a static character as we find in the novels of Dickens. He is a developing and constantly evolving character. In the beginning itself another aspect of his character to which the responds is that he is a character with a strong potential for “caring”. Even though he is portrayed as one not normally given to caring for other people, it is also given out that he is not totally devoid of the virtue and that he at times cares a good deal and also there are times when for Henry everything becomes “sharp and hard and clear”. This aspect of his character grows and develops with the novel’s progress though it remains suppressed and hidden in the beginning till he is wounded and shifted to the hospital in Milan. In the extract quoted in the above paragraph, Henry says that he had wanted to go to Abruzzi but did not go. However, it is clear that he had wanted to go on that pleasure-seeking spree that he indulges in the big cities. He wanted to and he did. And this is one lesson that Henry learns in the course of the novel; that people always do the things they want to do and if a person’s capacity for caring is limited or very less, then their needs are easily satisfied by passive activities of an instinctive kind. Henry’s potentiality for being a caring person is brought out in his relationship with Rinaldi and the priest and very soon with Catherine.

Henry’s Initial Ambiguous Personality
      Ferguson calls Henry “a dirty sneaking American Italian” and Rinaldi says “You are really an Italian. All fire and smoke and nothing inside, you only pretend to be American.” The implication, therefore, is that Henry has two identities one of being American born and the other of being Italian as he was serving the Italian army. Another aspect to this is that later during the retreat Henry realizes that the Military police will obviously take him for a German in Italian Uniform.

Initially no Caringness Towards Catherine
      Henry meets Catherine an English nurse at the Italian front through his roommate Rinaldi. He goes back to meet her again just for the sake of it and in this second meeting his attitude is one of uncaringness. In this his attitude is similar to his attitude to war. The war does not vitally concern him. And Catherine doesn’t concern him much either. He says “I knew I did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her.” To him it was just like a game of bridge. And, instead of playing for money one played for certain stakes. Only between them nobody had mentioned what the stakes were going to be. He keeps coming to her inspite of his chosen wish not to love her. And he reasons that coming to her was better than going to the whores in the officer’s brothel. This attitude undergoes a slight change when one night he is unable to see her and he feels hollow and empty due to it.

Rinaldi’s Perception of Love
      Rinaldi as surgeon in the Italian army shares the same attitude of “uncaringness” that Henry has. However, he is restricted to girls and love. Otherwise he is a dedicated surgeon. He has the same casual and flirtatious attitude. He doesn’t believe in love but he enjoys visiting the brothels and coweling girls. Rinaldi rightly observes that underneath he and Henry are the same and sort of warns Henry about Catherine whom he calls “Your English Goddess”. Henry however neither accepts nor rejects Rinaldi’s views at this stage.

Priest’s Perception of Love as ‘Caritas’
      In the next chapter the priest comes to visit and an idea the complete opposite to Rinaldi’s is expressed. First, he observes correctly that Henry doesn’t mind the war, doesn’t even see it, whereas he hates it. Later he tells Henry, that what he tells him about what happens during the night is not love, only passion and lust. He tells Henry “when you love someone you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.’And Henry answers “I don’t love”.

     Of the two viewpoints, Henry at this stage is closer towards Rinaldi but as the novel progresses his love grows and his concept of love hovers more towards that of the priest. At any time, however, he is not exactly like either of them. He rather represents a position somewhere between the two.

Realization of Love
      In Book II as Henry lay wounded in the hospital in Milan he yearns for Catherine and when only she walks into his room, he realizes that he loves her. Their love affair then blossoms during the summer of his convalescence. And in their affair, Catherine’s love is almost exactly what the priest describes love should be. She completely surrenders herself to Henry and does all the things that Henry wants. Henry has also come away from his initial position of just playing a game but for him love is something very physical as Rinaldi perceives it. Though he frankly admits that he loves her and his love is of the more sensuous kind. He is moving away from it but in his love there are as yet Ao aspects of surrender or sacrifice or the wish to serve.

Rinaldi, The Priest, and Henry: A Comparison of Their Moods
      When Henry comes back after his sick leave, again Rinaldi and the priest come to see him as they had when he returned from his furlough. This time they are both in bad spirits. Both have fared badly during the summer during which the Austrians have been more successful. The longest offensive has strained them. Rinaldi feels that he has got syphilis and apart from treating himself for it has thrown himself into his work thereby exhausting himself and enveloping himself in a mood of bitterness. On the other hand the priest is also depressed. The War has also taken its toll on him. He has lost faith.

      For a long time he had hoped for victory. Now he doesn’t know. He doesn’t believe in victory anymore. Henry, however, answers that he doesn’t believe in anything. So, even here he hasn’t as yet developed the attitude of “care” towards the war. Both the other men are depressed and dejected. Henry’s move towards such moods shall come later during and after the Caparetto retreat.

Forced to Desert the Army
      A very important point that needs a detailed discussion is Henry’s escape from the Battle police which results in his dwelling the Italian army. He had no idealistic concept about the war but he was a man to conscientiously perform his duties. And this is exactly what we observe when he comes back to the front after his convalescent leave. He checks on the ambulances etc. during the retreat he tries to do his duty as much as he can. However, the sudden situation is that there is a possibility that he shall be mistaken for a German in Italian uniform and be executed. So he plunges into the Tagliameno river and flees. He is therefore forced to desert. His close contact with the retreat had brought a sense of disillusionment about the war, but the point is that Henry might never have deserted if he had not run into the Battle police but that he does make his disillusionment complete. And as he moves towards Metre on the freight train he thinks about the war and about Catherine. At this point he has begun to ‘care’ about.

Further Growth in His Character
      As Henry is forced to flee due to circumstances beyond his control and we are shown a disillusioned Henry reflecting on the war and the people close to him we realize that he has come further away from the wearing attitude he had before, towards both love and war. Later, on the train to Stressa, on his way to see Catherine, we realize that Henry is going to see her for the first time as himself. Meeting Catherine at Stressa at this point is like going to Abruzzi. Like leaving the city lights and the sex-pots for the calm and peace of beautiful place as the priest’s native to win.

      He has begun to care and things have become “sharp and hard and clear” to him. So much so that later when Count Griffi questions as to what he values most, he answers “someone I love” obviously meaning Catherine. His love and care for her, has therefore become one of the deepest kind. It is no longer a mere game. He had made a separate peace.” When he fled the army. Now he has a separate union with Catherine in the mountains of Switzerland. He is now a man who really loves.!

The Final Catastrophe and its Effect on Henry
      Henry has been living an idyllic life with Catherine. However, tragedy strikes when Catherine who had an easy pregnancy dies after a complicated and protracted, labour. Henry is emptied out and hollow. He prays to God and pleads the Almighty to spare her. But, Catherine dies having given birth to a stillborn baby boy. And as he attempts to say a final goodbye we find that it was like saying goodbye to a statue.

      Thus, he is left with nothing in the end. He returns to his hotel in the rain. Henry, therefore, is like the winner at gambling. He gets nothing except a self with a sense of vulnerability to the wounds inflicted on a person by a cruel, unflinching world.

     Henry had finally established a relationship with the world in his relationship with Catherine. He had grown from an uncaring, detached person to a very loving and caring man. His experiences had taught him to care and love. Catherine’s love doesn’t nullify his experience. Henry’s development is more towards the reality of the naturalistic world. He doesn’t accept or move towards the stand taken by Rinaldi of complete detachment neither does he acquire the faith of the priest. He has moved away from the emptiness and dryness of Rinaldi’s position. He has learnt to accept death and sex as realities of the naturalistic world as much as he accepts the reality of a love which he had helped to create.

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