Hey guys! So today in class we spent a lot of time talking about the relationship between Catherine (Cat) and Frederic Henry’s relationship in the novel. We talked about the layers of their relationship, how they pretend that the hospital room and the hotel room is their own little house and even contemplated if their relationship was real or fake. Obviously, both Cat and Henry have some personal things going on and maybe that is why they are together, they could be a comfort for each other in some weird way. Being someone who has always been in love with the idea of being in love, I got really caught up in the romantic relationships we have seen so far this semester.
But how does the portrayal of love in “All Quiet,” “Not So Quiet,” and “A Farewell to Arms” do? How are they similar or different? Have we seen the type of relationship that Henry and Cat have before?
I think this all goes back to the glorification of wartime and the idea that everything works out in the end. It is the true romantic story: man goes off to war, gets injured, a pretty nurse takes care of him, nurses him back to health, they fall in love and get married, have a family and live happily ever after. Super sappy and in the end everything is wrapped up nicely with a pretty little bow and they live in a house with a white picket fence. It is like this was the dream of the time, the type of relationship people adored and wished themselves to be in. Pictures from this time and posters like that of which Dr. Scanlon showed us in class today add to this belief of the romanticized war.
However, we have already seen how Henry and Cat’s relationship deviates from this idea since she gets pregnant out of wedlock. Their mental states, their perspectives, and their actual relationship is everything outside of what the desired relationship was. So, could their relationship be here to mock this idea of romance during the wartime or is it an accurate depiction of two broken people finding relief and comfort within one another which makes life a little more bearable? And if so, what is trying to be shown here? Now, thinking back to our other books, how about the relationship Nellie finds herself in at the end of “Not So Quiet”? We discussed how she said she would never marry someone who was in the war and was injured because it would be a constant reminder of the things she witnessed, however, she gets engaged to Roy and accepts him even after his injury. Does this make their relationship the same as Henry and Cat’s? If so how? Do you think that these relationships that we see in these wartime stories are parodying the expectations that everyone believed would happen at the time, making fun of the dreams young women had of falling in love with brave soldiers, or do you think that they are just showing the actual “romance” that would come about during a time like this?
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