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The World All Unreal in the Dark

Escapism is a character’s way of trying to abandon something that discourages or frightens that character. Escapism is a form of betrayal and can often be described as a manner of deserting the fears of the character. When a character does not face his fears, it is likely that the character will look for a way to escape their troubles. Ernest Hemmingway’s story, A Farewell to Arms, shows that the main character is faced with problems he believes he cannot cope with. Frederick Henry looks for ways to escape his problems and troubles. Despite Frederick Henry being a modern hero, he is lost between two worlds. Frederick no longer accepts the world of tradition and truth, but is at a point where he cannot abandon this world. He is now in a world where he can only occasionally find an abundant meaning of life. Frederick Henry will try to do anything to avoid dealing with his problems. Frederick will look to drinking, gambling, prostitution, and other distractions, which are seem effortless to achieve.

Ernest Hemmingway shows Frederick Henry’s attempts to escape through his increasing drinking problem, prostitution, gambling, and his search for a more prominent meaning of life. Escaping is deserting the problems that you cannot adequately deny or solve easily. Hemmingway also shows that Henry struggles to decide which aspects of his life are most important and significant. Frederick is a man who cannot face the darkness of the night or sleep in a dark room. Henry remains searching the entire night for reality and possibly another way to escape from his world in which he is trapped. When Frederick first meets Catherine, the illusion that Frederick falls in love with Catherine is created. Hemmingway then continues to stress that Frederick is not in love with Catherine, but will play along and pretend that he is indeed in love with her. It is important that Frederick falls in love with Catherine though to prevent him from continuing his visits to the houses of prostitution. As the story progresses, so does Frederick’s love for Catherine. As their relationship grows, Frederick now looks less to escape, and more towards the meaning of life he had been searching for. Frederick’s determination not to fall in love with Catherine is a determination not to get involved with another person. But as the story progresses, Frederick’s affection towards Catherine grows and the determination to not love another person fades away. Catherine eventually becomes a temporary passageway for Frederick to leave the world he is in, and start a new world, a world with meaning and dignity.

While the relationship between Frederick and Catherine continued to advance, Frederick started looking to escape for different purposes. Frederick is wounded in the leg while at battle in the war. When Frederick goes to the hospital, he will do anything to prolong the time spent with Catherine. He now cherishes this time, and now is beginning to understand what the meaning of life should be based on. Frederick is no longer trying to avoid a relationship with another person, but he is trying to avoid loosing the person in his life. Frederick starts to realize that he cannot sleep as well and he is gradually not being able to sleep at night. Frederick cannot sleep well until it is daylight. He is unable to sleep because of the uncomfortable visions associated with the darkness of the night. Frederick and Catherine first have their first sexual encounter in the hospital room of where Frederick was staying. This led to the realization by Frederick that he was actually in love. Catherine has gotten her schedule changed to the night shift, and plans to spend the entire time with Frederick. It is Frederick who worries about the traditional concept of morality, not Catherine. Frederick is now trying to escape what he has engaged himself into to be with Catherine. He has abandoned his army in a sense, trying to maintain a relationship which he doesn’t want to loose.

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