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A Study in Contrast The views of Catherine Barkley and Brett Ashley in their perspective classes During the early 1900s after the death of Queen Victoria the European world went through a great change under the influence of the Free Womens movement and WWI It was a time of great confusion women were faced with choices unheard of before and having to fight against what they had been taught their entire lives Characters like Brett Ashley from Ernest Hemingways The Sun Also Rises presented the image of the short-skirted shimmying seductive sleek femininity promising unprecedented freedom for the twentieth-century Others characters like Catherine Barkley A Farewell to Arms presented a more conservative Victorian way of life akin to a male dominant world These Hemingways most famous female characters are reflective in their contrast to the decaying Victorian society of the 1800s and the feminist movement of the early 1900s Hemmingways attempt to create the perfect wife through Catherine may have in fact been too successful as he leaves the reader questioning whether she is too idealistic too selflessly loving and giving to be believed as a character This is no truer than at the hospital after Catherine informs Frederic Tenente that she is pregnant her only concern becomes his happiness despite his constant pleas that he is in fact happy about the pregnancy This is only overshadowed by her constant reassurances that she will be a good girl never failing to apologize hastily for any momentary lapse in judgement In fact Catherine never fails to support Frederic for any of the risks he takes with his health through drinking or the operation While this submissive support for Frederic may seem surreal it actually reflects the women of the Victorian era The concepts of Victorianism are in no way supportive of Catherines realism they only provide a potential reason for her surreal personality Brett in contrast to Catherine is believable due to
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