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Free Essays – Searching for Truth in A Farewell to Arms

Searching for Truth in A Farewell to Arms

If The Sun Also Rises was one of the best books I have ever read, then A Farewell to Arms is Truth. I simply cannot believe that these books existed so long without my knowledge of how grand they are. I consider myself to read constantly, more than almost anyone I know, and here in less than a month I read two books that are undoubtedly among the best I have encountered.

When I finished A Farewell to Arms I was of course stunned by the death of Catherine and the baby and Henry’s sudden solitude. “What happens now?” I felt, as I so often do when I finish a book that I want to go on forever. This is infinitely more difficult with a book that has no conclusion, and A Farewell to Arms leaves a reader not only emotionally exhausted but also just as alone as Henry and with nowhere to go. The entire work was aware of where it was going and what was going to happen next, and then to stop the way it did was unfair. Now, I’ve read enough essays while deciding which would be the topic for my class presentation that I know many people see that the unfairness of life and the insignificance of our free will are apparently the most important themes in the book, but I don’t agree. I also don’t agree that it is a war story or a love story. Exactly what it is, though, is not clear to me. Can’t art exist without being anything? “There isn’t always an explanation for everything.”

War and love are obviously important themes in the book, and the relationship between the two is explored by Hemingway and, somewhat, by Henry. In the first two Books we are in the war and the war is overwhelming. In the last two Books we are in love. And, just as the first two Books are peppered with love in the time of war, the last two Books are tinged with war in the time of love. GIVE SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF THE “PEPPERING” AND THE “TINGING.” WHAT EFFECT DOES THE “PEPPERING” AND “TINGING” HAVE ON THE NOVEL? THE CHARACTERS?

The third Book is the bridge between the two ‘stories’ and it is not surprising that it centers on the escape.

A Comparison of Hemingway and Frederic in A Farewell to Arms

Parallels Between Hemingway and Frederic in A Farewell to Arms

“All fiction is autobiographical, no matter how obscure from the author’s experience it may be, marks of their life can be detected in any of their tales”(Bell, 17). A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is based largely on Hemingway’s own personal experiences. The main character of the novel, Frederic Henry, experiences many of the same situations that Hemingway lived. Some of these similarities are exact, while some are less similar, and some events have a completely different outcome.

Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Star after graduating from high school in 1917. During World War I, he served as an ambulance driver in the Italian infantry and was wounded just before his 19th birthday. Hospitalized, Hemingway fell in love with an older nurse. Later, while working in Paris as a correspondent for the Toronto Star, he became involved with the expatriate literary and artistic circle surrounding Gertrude Stein. During the Spanish Civil War, Hemingway served as a correspondent on the loyalist side. He fought in World War II and then settled in Cuba in 1945. In 1954, Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. After his expulsion from Cuba by the Castro regime, he moved to Idaho. In his life, Hemingway married four times and wrote numerous essays, short stories and novels. The effects of Hemingway’s lifelong depressions, illnesses and accidents caught up with him. In July 1961, he committed suicide in Ketchum, Idaho. What remains, are his works, the product of a talented author.

A Farewell to Arms is the stor…

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…est Hemingway: The Writer in Context. Ed. James Nagel. Madison: U of Wisconsin, 1984.

Bloom, Harold. Introduction. Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea, 1987.

Donaldson, Scott. “Frederic Henry’s Escape and the Pose of Passivity.” Hemingway: A Revaluation. Ed. Donald R. Noble. Troy: Whitson, 1983.

Lewis, Wyndham. Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Farewell to Arms. Ed. Jay Gellens. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1970. 56-64.

Schneider, Daniel. “Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms: The Novel as Pure Poetry.” Modern Fiction Studies, 14 (Autumn 1968): 283-96.

Spanier, Sandra Whipple. “Hemingway’s Unknown Soldier: Catherine Barkley, the Critics, and the Great War.” New Essays on A Farewell to Arms.

Ed. Scott Donaldson. New York: Cambridge U, 1990.

Young, Philip. Ernest Hemingway. New York: Rinehart, 1952.

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