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Catherine is one of the main characters. She is a nurse with some emotional issues and she is in love with Frederic Henry. She is strong and she is weak and it is Catherine that leads the narrating Henry to state:
“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
You can find more information at the Farewell to Arms page on eNotes.
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1. Lt Frederic Henry, who is a soldier on the Italian Front in World War 1 and
2. Catherine Barkley, the nurse with whom Henry falls in love when he is wounded and brought to hospital in Milan.
These are the two central/main characters of AFtA, the 'hero' and 'heroine' if you will. They both fall in love, find that war is cruel and brutal and senseless and they escape to (neutral) Switzerland -- but ironically, Catherine dies there while giving birth to Henry's baby (stillborn); so, in the end, he is left all alone and broken. No one can really 'escape' life, he feels, which will ultimately break/destroy you, one way or the other.
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