At first look, Catherine Barkley, appears to be an example of a dream girl. She appears as a dull character that asks nothing of Henry and is only there to make him happy. Because of this, it has been said that Catherine's character is demeaning to women. This happens when we look at the actions of Catherine or Henry Individually. However, there is an unusual relationship that exists between Frederic and Catherine that is ignored. If Catherine is Hemingway's way of demeaning women then we must also look at the manner in which Frederic is described, for he too is just as attached to Catherine as she is to him. The shared love between Frederic and Catherine degrades neither of the two; rather, it shows them together in a good light.
Catherine Barkley's basic approach to her relationship with Frederic shows her as being inferior. She appears to gladly accept a lower role in her relationship with Frederic. .
"I'll do what you want and say what you want," she tells him, "and then I'll be a great success, won't I"(105). .
Her idea of a successful relationship, and of happiness, is based on making Frederic happy no matter what she has to do. She changes her personality and way of life until she is no longer herself. "I want what you want," she tells Frederic, "there isn't any me any more. Just what you want"(106). She no longer views herself as an individual but rather as an extension of Frederic; her sole purpose is to satisfy him. "Is there anything I do you don't like?" she asks of Frederic in her Mission to make Fredric happy: "Can I do anything to please you?"(116). Catherine even goes so far as to say that she and Frederic are one person. "There isn't any me. I'm you," she tells him, "Don't make up a separate me"(115). By the time their relationship progresses, Catherine is completely devoted to Frederic. "We have such a fine time," she says, "I don't take any interest in anything else anymore"(154).