The scene at the very end of part 3 stood out to me. Hemmingway writes, “I had taken off the stars, but that was for convenience. It was no point of honor. I was not against them. I was through. I wished them all the luck. There were the good ones, and the brave ones, and the calm ones and the sensible ones, and they deserved it. But it was not my show any more and I wished this bloody train would get to Mestre and I would eat and stop thinking. I would have to stop” (232).
Frederic, much like our other two protagonists this year, firmly believes that the war is terrible and brutal and not meant for him. But, Frederic contrasts Paul and Nellie in how he actually goes through with deserting his army. He is the first character we see who rips off his stars and denounces them. He looses care for honor or for how those at home will view him, instead he does what is best for his well-being. Frederic even thinks to himself that those stars he wore were not for him and that they were only for the brave, etc. While deserting your army may be seen as a cowardice act, which is exactly how Frederic views it, it is actually incredibly courageous. He is the only character I have seen who has put agency back into his story, who goes against societies notion that this war is great and good, and who has not been turned into a machine who mindlessly does work until he dies. Him leaving the war was something I never saw coming since none of the other books this year have gone that route yet. While Frederic has his many other flaws, I think his actions in this passage are admirable in how they take what we have seen as typical war stories so far this semester in a new direction.