Books and Movies Reviews

A farewell to arms

The setting of the story is mainly in Italy. This is where all the action of the story takes
place. Fred is in Italy at the beginning of the war and he joins the Italian army. The city that Fred
is stationed in throughout most of the book is Gorizia.
Frederic Henry meets a beautiful English nurse named Catherine Barkley near the front
between Italy and Austria-Hungary. Atfirst, Henry’s relationship with Catherine is an
complicated game based on his attempt to seduce her, but when he is wounded and sent to the
American hospital where Catherine works, their relationship progresses and they begin a
passionate affair. After his recovery in the hospital, Henry returns to the war front. During
a massive retreat from the Austrians and Germans, the Italian forces become disordered and
chaotic. Henry is forced to shoot an engineer sergeant under his command and in the confusion
is arrested by the Italian military police for the crime of not being Italian. Disgusted with the
army and facing death at the hands of the battle police, Henry decides he has had enough of war.
He dives into the river to escape. After swimming to safety, Henry boards a train and reunites
with Catherine–now pregnant with Henry’s child–in Stresa. With the help of an Italian
bartender, they escape to Switzerland and attempt to put the war behind them forever. They
spend a happy time together in Switzerland and plan to marry after the baby is born. When
Catherine goes into labor things go terribly wrong. The doctor announces that her
pelvis is too narrow to deliver the baby. He attempts an unsuccessful Caesarian section, and
Catherine dies in childbirth. To Henry, her dead body is like a statue. He walks back to his hotel
without finding a way to say good-bye.
The overall tone of the book is sad, confused and love. Frederick’s actions are determined
by his position until he deserts the army. Floating down the river with barely a…


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