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Love as a response to the horrors of war and the world Hemingway repeatedly emphasizes the horrific devastation war has wrought on everyone involved From the opening account of cholera that kills only 7000 men to the graphic description of the artillery bombardment to the corrupt violence during the Italian retreat A Farewell to Arms is among the most frank anti-war novels But Hemingway does not merely condemn war Rather he indicts the world at large for its atmosphere of destruction Henry frequently reflects upon the worlds insistence on breaking and killing everyone it is as if the world cannot bear to let anyone remain happy and safe Indeed whenever Henry and Catherine are blissful something comes along to interrupt it - be it Henrys injury his being sent back to the front his impending arrest or finally Catherines death from childbirth With such misery confronting them at every turn the two turn to each other Catherine especially plunges almost too easily into love when she first meets Henry She admits she was crazy at first most likely over the fairly recent death of her fianc but Henry too succumbs to the temptations of love Love is a pleasurable diversion see Games below that distracts lovers from the outside world the two often tell each other not to think about anything else as it is too painful Hidden within the shelter of Catherines beautiful hair Henry and Catherine feel protected from the cruel outside world The major problem with such escapist love is as Henry and other characters point out several times one does not always know the stakes of love until it is over or that one does not know about something until one has lost it Henry hardly allows himself to think of life without Catherine while he is in love and once he does lose her it seems unlikely that he will recover Grace under pressure and the Hemingway hero Although less
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