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How does Henry Frederic's conversation with Rinaldi show Henry's changing views...

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nickr | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:26 PM via web

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How does Henry Frederic's conversation with Rinaldi show Henry's changing views concerning the war, women, and the church in chapter 10 of A Farewell to Arms?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 24, 2013 at 6:15 AM (Answer #1)

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From the beginning of Hemingway's narrative, Henry has viewed the military efforts with ironic detachment. In Chapter Vii Henry narrates,

Well, I knew I would not be killed. Not in this war. it did not have anything to do with me.

Later, when Henry visits the first mountain post, he meets a soldier who has a hernia and does not want to return to warfare. As they talk, the soldier asks Henry what he thinks of this war. "Rotten" is Henry's reply.

After his leg is injured from a mortar in Chapter IX, Henry is carried to a field hospital in Chapter X. There Rinaldi, who is "all alone at the war" visits him and sarcastically asks him questions in the purpose of obtaining for Henry  a war medal, even the silver star. But, Henry is not amused at Rinaldi's flippancy and cynical joking about the awarding of military medals; instead he earnestly inquires about the troops, asking if they crossed the river safely. Also, he does not like Rinaldi's teasing about Miss Barkley. Sensing that Henry is growing serious about Catherine, Rinaldi tells Henry there is little difference among woman other than the circumstances around being intimate with them,

"There is only one difference between taking a girl who has been good and a woman....

When Henry snidely replies, Rinaldi criticizes him for his apparent love for the English nurse, "Millions of fools like you don't know it."

It is apparent, then, that Henry has taken a more serious attitude toward both the war and women, and, perhaps, even the Catholic Church since he tells Rinaldi that he likes the priest. Rinaldi banters with Henry, thinking that he is as before, but notices instead that Henry does not like his bantering about the silver star or about Miss Catherine Barkeley, with whom he is beginning to fall in love.

 

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