Henry And Catherine essay example
Frederic Henry is the hero of this book. He is a disciplined and courageous person, but he feels detached from life. He is a young American ambulance driver with the Italian army in World War I. The Italians are fighting the Austrian-Hungarians. Whilst working on the front lines Frederic Henry meets a beautiful Red Cross nurse called Catherine Barkley, whose fiancee has already been killed in the battle of the Somme... Her most outstanding feature is her long, beautiful hair. Henry tries to seduce Catherine.
But it is not until he gets wounded in the leg by a trench mortar shell and is taken to a hospital in Milan to convalesce, that he meets up with Catherine again who is working at the hospital. Henry and Catherine begin a passionate affair but he has to leave Catherine when he is better to return to the battle and the war front. Henry is called ' Tenente' by the soldiers under his command. Tenente is the Italian word for lieutenant. The Italian forces become overrun by the Austrians and Germans and have to hastily retreat. The Italian forces become disorder and chaotic and Henry is forced to shoot an engineer sergeant under his command.
In the confusion he is arrested by the Italian Military police and charged with the crime of not being an Italian. Henry decides to desert the Italian Army, knowing he faces certain death. He dives into the river and escapes. He swims to safety and boards a train to Stress. He reunites with Catherine who is pregnant with his child. With the help of an Italian bartender, they escape to Switzerland, which is a neutral country and not involved in the war.
They forget the past and Henry's troubles and spend a happy time in Switzerland. They plan to marry after the baby is born. When Catherine goes into labor, however, things go terribly wrong: the doctor announces that her pelvis is too narrow to deliver the baby. He attempts an unsuccessful Caesarean 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.
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