A Farewell to Arms

The novel’s action begins in the late summer of 1915; it ends in spring of 1918. Has Frederick changed during this period of time? Is there any redemption at the end of this tragedy?

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At the start of the A Farewell to Arms, Lt. Henry's life is adrift. Instead of visiting the home of a priest while on leave, he drinks and parties in Milan. When asked why he didn't go like he promised, he has no reason, no explanation. His actions have no purpose. By the time Lt. Henry finds his purpose, it is too late. He goes AWOL after seeing his friends and soldiers die in a horrific retreat, and flees to Switzerland with his pregnant girlfriend. Of course, A Farwell to Arms is a tragedy, and Lt. Henry ends the novel as adrift as he began it. One could read Lt. Henry's life as an analogy to Europe. He goes to war for no purpose, tries to fight his way out of it, and his story ends only after he has lost everything. His future is as bleak as Europe's. Henry's ruminations in the tragic final chapter of the novel sum up Hemingway's central theme about the horrific world: "But they killed you in the end. You could count on that. Stay around and they would kill you." inhabitants. The violence and chaos of war is merely an extension of the cruel world, which is out to break and kill its inhabitants.I don't think there is, in the end, redemption for Henry more than he has grown more mature and forlorn of this world.