A Farewell to Falsity

Anni A Farewell to Falsity Love, a mysterious emotion, floats in people’s hearts like air: invisible, unavoidable, and unpredictable, it scars people with its caprice. In Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms and several of his other short stories, Hemingway shows readers that some strategies, however, do help promote and secure a stable relationship. He teaches readers how to look through their partners’ disguise and discover the truth.

In his books, Catherine, as well as female characters from his other stories, employs extensive mind games ceaselessly in the “battlefield” of relationship as a hint of their complex nature. Frederic, luckily, cares about Catherine enough to finally comprehend her and provides her with what she wants. Other male characters in Hemingway’s short stories, nevertheless, treat their women more nonchalantly and even as an object to satisfy their own desires. The comparison between different couples in Hemingway’s book reveals some clues that can lead to a successful relationship. When people first start a relationship, they can’t commit themselves completely to it because they don’t feel secure enough or their last love hurts them too severely. Therefore, they tend to look for verbal promises, such as saying “I like you” to each other, to bind themselves together.

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Similarly, Catherine constantly asks Frederic to say he loves her. It almost seems as if she believes they have to remind each other of their love relationship by keep mentioning it, or otherwise, they will forget it. Catherine loses her fiance? at war, which probably causes her to feel so insecure and not ready to recommit into her relationship with Frederic. Frederic, however, loves her so dearly that “everything [turns] over inside [him]” ( Farewell 80). He can change everything that he is so used to and even himself just for Catherine. He also never loses patience when Catherine asks him the same old “do you still love me” question over and over again.

In fact, he understands that what Catherine asks for is more “love.” Knowing that she is complex, he takes every single action carefully in order to attract her. His patience and gentleness have proven to Catherine that he cares about her as a person and won’t use her as an object to satisfy his own needs. Frederic’s devotion to her and their relationship makes Catherine feel secure enough that she is ready to go to the second stage. Liz from “Up in Michigan,” unfortunately, experiences a similar situation with a different ending.

She loves Jim truly while he uses her as a prostitute and rapes her. Jim doesn’t care about her feelings in the relationship and considers her as a prostitute to satisfy his own needs. By saying “I got to. I’m going to. You know we got to” ( Complete Story 62), he reveals his coercive nature which causes the relationship one-sided. His superiority also hurts Liz who feels “such a sharp, aching, hurting feeling that she thought she couldn’t stand it” (61) when he rapes her.

Liz, however, is still willing to sacrifice herself for Jim. As soon as the rape ends, and Jim falls asleep, she “took off her coat and leaned over and covered him with it” (62). She “tucked it around him neatly and carefully” (62) to protect Jim from getting cold. She forgives him instantaneously and considers him as a baby who needs her to protect. Liz’s ability to remit and to love shows that she is more humane than a prostitute.

A prostitute only does whatever her customer wants for the money and won’t do a single more once she is paid. Jim’s failure of seeing Liz as a moral person and mistreating her as if she were an object gives us the first warning in a relationship: don’t underestimate others and use them just to satisfy your lust. In a deeper level of a relationship, people begin to care less about themselves and more about their lovers. They develop a sense of increasing responsibilities not only for each other but also for their future. Some people get scared and retreat in front of the pressing responsibility, such as having a child.

Catherine vividly shows us her concern about this emotion when she tells Frederic she is pregnant. She would like to have this baby and hasn’t “worried about it” (Farewell 120) for she considers it as the connection and symbol of their love. She worries that Frederic, on the other hand, might feel “trapped” by her and the baby and won’t like her anymore. Frederic shows his responsibility and willingness to have a stable family with Catherine by saying that “I’m not worried. I only worry about you” (120).

He genuinely welcomes the baby and tells Catherine that “people have babies all the time… It’s a natural thing” (120). He comforts Catherine into believing that he loves her and will take care of her. She begins to change her attitude to Frederic from this time on.

On the contrary, the man from “Hills Like White Elephants” reacts completely differently facing the same situation. He also tells his girl “it’s perfectly natural” ( Complete Story 212), but what he refers to is the abortion, not the pregnancy. The man refuses to treasure their baby. Instead, by comparing the baby to the air and saying abortion is just simply “[letting] the air in” (212), the man shows his inhumane and practical thoughts which alerts the girl that he doesn’t match up with her artistic views. He doesn’t view their baby as a person and doesn’t acknowledge its own desire to survive and grow. He retreats in front of the pressure and plainly states that “we’ll be fine afterward.

Just like we were before” (212). The girl knows, however, that nothing will be the same after this. She discovers him as an irresponsible person and says “Once they take it away, you never get it back” (213). What’s never going to come back is not onlytheir baby but also her dependence on him and dream for their future together. This gives us a second advice for a good relationship: people have to mature and take the responsibility for their family and future.

After both people are willing to take responsibility for their family, they seem to automatically form a mutual understanding with each other. Frederic becomes more artistic as Catherine. He regards her as his home and comfort zone and even has a dream where he integrates her into a poem, saying “sweet love Catherine down might rain. Blow her again to me” ( Farewell 172). People tend to do something that can make them feel safe and comfortable when they feel threatened or scared, and Frederic’s dream implies that he subconsciously thinks Catherine can give him protection.

He wants Catherine to become rain that can accompany him and wants her to cover his whole body to protect him from exterior threats. He dreams of “my love were in my arms and I in my bed again” (172). From this warm image, we can see that Frederic can find emotional connection and protection from Catherine because they are both artistic. Their mutual understanding of each other further secures their relationship. In the story “Cat in The Rain,” where rain also takes place, the situation changes.

The woman can’t feel attached to her husband for mutual understanding, and she needs something else that can match with her emotionally. Her husband thinks too practical to understand what she truly desires. By saying “shut up and get something to read” ( Complete Story 131), he thinks of himself as a more educated and complex one and believes his wife complains about nonsense too much. The woman’s demands and desires, however, stem from her needs of her husband’s attention and passion. She wants somebody that can “[make] her feel very small and at the same time really important” (130). She wants a cat or a baby that she can take care of so that she won’t feel useless and unbounded in the world.

The rain reminds her of her ability to care for somebody who is more helpless than she is in a relationship. Even if she can’t find the cat she wants to take care of, and even if her husband doesn’t understand that she wants him to comprehend her, she still looks forward to loving and nurturing. We can imply the third suggestion for the relationship: people need to communicate and find comfort in each other. With all three steps completed, people can move on to the next and final level: unity. Frederic and Catherine find unity in each other that no couples in other stories have ever done. After they fled to Switzerland, Catherine says that she wants Frederic to leave his hair long and she will cut her own short so that they can look alike each other.

She tells Frederic “I want you so much that I want to be you too” ( Farewell 257). Her idea of being neutral and united with her loved one stresses a great importance in the relationship: nobody is better or superior to the other. Couples who really love each other should adopt each others’ characteristics and ways of living. They should be “all mixed up” (258), which means that they equate in the family: they both take care of each other, stay responsible for their relationship, and work out the plan for the future. Frederic won’t be more respectful even if he is strong and fights in wars, and Catherine won’t lose her status at home if she is feminine and helps in the hospital. Essentially, they are just family members that love and respect each other, so their gender, career, and social status don’t matter in the family.

By this way, the husband and the wife can understand each other and will work together to make the family better. Last but not least, people who really love each other should also have the courage to let go and give their lovers freedom. Before Catherine dies, her desire of controlling Frederic suddenly disappears. She used to hate Frederic having too many girls in the past, but now, she knowsthat she can’t survive and can’t take care of him, so she becomes generous and tells Frederic she will always stay with him even after she dies. She says “I want you to have girls, though” (283) to Frederic, and after he refuses, she says “I will come and stay with you nights” (283). She is afraid that he will be too sad and alone after she dies.

The love she has for Frederic changes her from an insecure and demanding girl to a caring and generous lover. False love has many illusions and tricks people into devoting themselves and never get what they want in return. True love, however, nurtures, balances, and completes people with their beloved. Acquiring true love, people reunite a balanced internal state, and this benefit still exists and echoes in their minds even after one has gone. Works CitedHemingway, Ernest.

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: the Finca Vigia Edition. Scribner’s, 1998.Hemingway, Ernest, et al. A Farewell to Arms. Scribner, 2014.