A Farewell to Arms

No Separate Peace

War, deeply intertwined with human existence, overshadows action with impasse and ideals with sterility. Although war results in the facade of victory for one side, no true winner exists, because under this triumphant semblance lies the true cost of this plague, the magnified suffering of the people. In Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley attempt to cultivate an ideal and loving relationship in the midst of war, "the total, irrational negation of love" (Lewis 118). Yet, even after they abandon the battlefield and the war for halcyon Switzerland, they cannot live in peace because of an ineludible tragedy of life: death. Catherine "[has] one hemorrhage after another," (331), leaving Henry bereft of love and happiness. Thus, their experience reflects both the futility of World War I and the contribution of this war to Henry's failure of making a lasting separate peace with this malicious world.

Through his observations, Henry depicts the atrocities of war. Instead of alleviating the adverse conditions of humanity, war only catalyzes the advent of death. While on the Italian front, Henry sees his friend, Passini, "biting his arm, the stump of his leg...

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