A Formal Application


A Farewell to Arms:
The Hemingway Code Hero

Ernest Hemingway?s 1914-1918 autobiographical novel, A Farewell to Arms, takes place on the Italian front during World War I. Frederic Henry, the main character, is a young American ambulance driver for the Italian army during the war. He is extremely disciplined and courageous, but feels detached from life. Rinaldi, a surgeon and friend of Frederic?s, introduces him to an English nurse named Catherine Barkley. Once introduced, Frederic discovers a capacity for love that he never knew he held. They begin seeing each other frequently, but keep it secret for fear of the army getting involved. While they were dating Henry was hurt in the war and sent to another hospital away from Catherine. Throughout the novel Frederic changes from an innocent, young soldier to a Hemingway code hero. Critics gave the term code hero to Hemingway?s novels because of the exact characteristics of writing each has. A code hero is one who is a brave man of action, knowledge, stoical, and a strong survivor. Frederic?s change into the code hero is displayed through his change in the way he looks at life and war. His experiences show that life is a trap and there is no hope for happiness.
In the beginning Frederic exhibit?s few characteristics of becoming the code hero. His views on life and the war are extremely naive, innocent, and idealistic. Early in the book he is more of a spectator to the war because he only notices his surrounding?s, but misses the effects of the situation he is in. When talking about the war and the epidemic of cholera that has come through, he says, "?Only seven thousand have died." This illustrates his innocent perception of the war because he doesn?t acknowledge how many people have actually died. Without understanding the reality of his surroundings he forgets that he too can die from the war. When the Italian army decides they must attack, Frederic must then leave for the battle site so he will be capable of getting anyone who is injured or killed. On his way he begins to notice the elegance of the countryside. This shows that his views of war are still idealistic through the fact that he still takes time to admire the beauty of the area around him. He still doesn?t see the destruction of the war that is happening right before his eyes. At the front, while setting waiting for the attack, he begins a conversation with another ambulance driver named Passini. Frederic makes patriotic comments to Passini by defending the fighting and commenting that defeat is worse than war. Frederic gets hungry and goes after a piece of cheese. He insists on eating with the other soldiers in an attempt to bring fairness and equality to the army. This is impossible because of the rank status of officers compared to soldiers. He sits down on after getting the cheese and at that moment a shell goes off sending a bright light in front of him. At first Frederic thought he was dead because of the pain, but the blast had sent shrapnel heavily into his leg. After being taken to hospital and looked at Frederic has surgery done to his knee. He is then put on leave for the summer to let it heal.
The bomb that had injured Frederic killed the other ambulance driver, Passini. This reality marked the beginning his of conversion into the code hero. This conversion however, is not brought by just one event. Later on, once Frederic has returned to the war, one of his men, Aymo, got an ambulance stuck in the mud. At this point Frederic had taken on two engineering sergeants. He orders them to help cut brush to free the car but they both refuse. They begin to walk away and Frederic fires three shots and takes one of them down. Bonello, another member of his crew, goes and finishes off the wounded sergeant. This shows how he slowly begins to convert into the code hero because it represents his courageous character in the fact that he takes any challenging matter into his own hands. Also, once back on their way to rejoin the rest of their people, they must cross a bridge into what has already been claimed German territory. On their way across shots are