What is love? How does one fall in love? Is there only one true love per person or is there many? Does it take time to fall in love or is there such thing as love at first sight? It seems like Frederick and Catherine at first didn’t seem to feel the same for each other than they did at the end.
At the beginning of the book, Frederick lives a very strange life. He drinks and visits burlesque houses in his free time. It seems that his life has no direction. He is an American joining the Italian army in World War 1 only because he is in Italy and can speak Italian. This is also strange because he doesn’t like where the war is going and sees chaos in it. Then when he meets Catherine, a nurse at the hospital, there isn’t really love between them, but she gives some order to his chaotic life. I believe that one of the reasons that there is no love right away is because Catherine is still in love with her old boyfriend. He was also in the Italian army and she became a nurse so that when he would get an injury, like a saber cut, she could nurse him back to health. Well, he did get injured, he got blown up, and died, so I guess you could say that Catherine is experienced in the field of losing loved ones. Frederick, I believe, was too stuck on his old ways of whore-mongoling and drinking to appreciate a true relationship and was just in it for the sex.
After Frederick leaves the army, I think that is when Frederick begins to feel for Catherine. He knows that the war is too dangerous after seeing his friend get killed and that the Italians are losing so there is no point in staying. The biggest factor for him leaving the army is the pregnancy of Catherine. The baby makes the relationship more serious and now that Frederick is out of the army they can spend time together. This is the point in the book where they, in my opinion, they are still not in love, but have a stronger feeling for each other now. On page 108 Frederick is having a conversation with Ferguson, a nurse in the hospital Catherine worked at, “’Will you come to our wedding, Fergy?’ I said to her once. ‘You’ll never get married.’ ‘We will.’ ‘No you won’t’ ‘Why not?’ ‘You’ll fight before you’ll marry.’ ‘We never fight.’ ‘You’ve time yet.’ ‘We don’t fight.’ ‘You’ll die then. Fight or die. That’s what people do. They don’t marry.’ “ ( Hemingway, 1995, page 108) This quote just tells about how Frederick is devoted enough to think about marriage, even if he is not serious about it. It also gives a little something away from the end.
When Catherine is in the hospital at the end having the baby with the possibility of dying, you can tell he truly love her now. Some people might say that he has loved her throughout the whole book, but in my opinion he only loves her when he thinks that he’s going to lose her. On page 321 at the end of the paragraph from the previous page, Frederick is talking to himself about Catherine. “But what if she should die? She won’t die. But what if she should die? She won’t. She’s all right. But what if she should die? She can’t die. But what if she should die? Hey, what about that? What if she should die?” In Frederick’s head he is going on and on about if Catherine will die or not. The reader can tell he is in love with her because he keeps trying to think of what it would be like without her, but he just can’t imagine being without her and that is why he is denying to himself that she won’t die. After the doctor tells him that she had died from a complicated pregnancy, you can tell right then and there that he is utterly crushed. He turns down a ride back to his hotel and walks back in the rain because he is in shock. This is what happens when