Frederic Henry has many different personality characteristics that are shown during different parts in A Farewell to Arms. It is almost as if he changes his moods back and forth repeatedly depending on what happens to him. He at certain times portrays that he is at peace with himself and is joyful, and at other times he doesn’t seem to know what life means to him and what he really wants. Henry is a very kind and courteous young person who has a certain warmth about him when dealing with other people. During other parts of the story, Henry demonstrates that he is a womanizer.
Henry also shows that he is, at times, a lonesome and confused man. As you can see, Frederic Henry is a very kind and courteous young person who has a certain warmth about him when dealing with other people. While the other soldiers made fun of the priest, Henry took no part in the kidding because of the respect he had for the priest. An alternative reason for this could have been that even though he didn’t believe in God, Henry knew there was something else out there that was bigger than him. During his stay in the hospital, Henry was kind and courteous towards the orderlies who were taking care of him.
He didn’t complain or get frustrated with them even though he didn’t like some of them after they blamed his jaundice on his drinking. While playing billiards with his friend, the old Roman Count Greffi, Henry also treats him well. When Henry is first talking to the Count he very politely says to him “it’s was very nice of you to ask me” (Hemingway, 245) and “I’m very well. Have you been well? ” (Hemingway, 245) These examples just show the respect Henry has for his friends and how polite he is. Likewise, during parts of the story, Henry demonstrates that he is a womanizer.
Henry often visits the brothels for the prostitutes and tells Rinaldi about his wild adventures during his leave. He talks about being with a different girl in every town that he stopped at. His first reactions toward Catherine are purely physical and not at all of having a good relationship or of having any commitment. He doesn’t take advantage of her but he does think about how close he is at getting her into bed with him. Near the beginning of Henry and Catherine’s relationship, he repeats over and over again that he doesn’t love her and that he knows in his mind that it is all just a big game.
He eventually comes around and changes this part of his life when he realizes that he really does love Catherine. Even at this point in the story, he still likes to take her to hotels frequently just to spend a night in bed together with her. Another example of him being a womanizer is when he is certain that he is in love with her and yet she still doesn’t want to marry him right away. It is as if he is almost saying that now that he is a one-woman man, he wants to make sure that he has her all to himself by way of marriage. Furthermore, Henry also shows that he is, at times, a lonesome and confused man.
Near the beginning of the novel, he is shown wandering from one brothel to another, and even though he is a womanizer, he seems to be incapable of discovering any meaning in life. Henry has no long-term enjoyment of the sex even though he likes being with the prostitutes. We see that Henry, throughout the story, has to have order in his life. When the Italian army is in chaos, he deserts it because he no longer feels any loyalty towards it, he finds out what war was really like, and how dangerous it was to be at the front lines.
Henry just can not stand being in an army with foreigners who would arrest and beat him whenever they thought he was a spy or traitor. For him to have stayed in the army there had to be complete order and that even though he didn’t expect the soldiers to be extremely civilized, he did expect them within the rules and guidelines of the war. He also expected them not to go crazy or do something stupid while under attack. Up until the end of chapter seven, Henry was still after Catherine for physical reasons, but when is couldn’t see her he felt “lonely and hollow” (Hemingway, 157).
He felt like he was at “home” when he was with her and like he was off, far away in a distant land when she wasn’t there with him. Henry ‘s different personalities come out during A Farewell to Arms, some more than others. He shows kindness, courtesy, his enjoyment of women, and at times extreme lonesomeness and confusion. Even though the times where Henry is confused and upset outweigh the times that he is happy, he definitely enjoys life. This is shown by his closeness to Catherine and with his aimless conversations with various minor characters.