A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway is a story of Love, war and one Man’s pursuit of finding his own personal code in order to make a separate peace. Fredrick Henry is an American who serves as a lieutenant in the Italian army to a group of ambulance drivers. Hemingway portrays Frederick as a lost man searching for order and value in his life. Catherine Barkley is an English volunteer nurse who serves in Italy. She is considered very experienced when it comes to love and loss since she has already been confronted with the death of a loved one when her fiancé was killed earlier in the war. Their love affair must survive the obstacles of World War. The background of war-torn Italy adds to the tragedy of the love story. The war affects the emotions and values of each character. The love between Catherine and Frederick must outlast long separations, life-threatening wartime situations, and the uncertainty of each other’s whereabouts or condition. This novel is a beautiful love story of two people who need each other in a period of upheaval.
At the start of the novel, Frederick is given a vacation to leave the war for a period of time in order to relax. He befriends a priest because he admires the fact that the priest lives his life by a set of values that give him an orderly lifestyle. He is told by the priest to go to Abruzzi, there in the mountains he can relax and forget about the worries of war. But Fredrick is hardheaded and listens to his friends and decides to go to Naples, there he drinks and travels from one house of prostitution to another and yet he is discontent because his life is very unsettled. This vacation was his free ticket out of the war but Fredrick does not realize nor understand how bad this war is. He decides to return due to his pride and patriotism.
A close friend of Fredrick, Rinaldi is also a Lt. In the army. Together they share stories and interests. Rinaldi is a strong man, one who understands what war is about. Through numerous attempts of lessons given to Fredrick, he still doesn’t understand. Rinaldi constantly calls Fredrick “baby” which is an accurate description of him. He is still a child and is not aware of the true meaning of war, love and life.
Comparing Dubliners and To the Lighthouse
Comparing Dubliners and To the Lighthouse
In Dubliners and To the Lighthouse, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf explore the depressing results of lives devoid of growth or meaning versus those who dare to live their lives in spite of all strife and adversity. Joyce and Woolf are both concerned with the meaninglessness of stagnant lives, the first operating in pre-WWI Ireland, the second in England during and after the war. “The Dead” and To the Lighthouse both reveal the despair of lives that occupy but do not fill the short span of time between birth and inevitable death.
With “The Dead”, Joyce brings his lament for Ireland’s plight to its depressing yet strangely peaceful conclusion. Like all the previous stories in Dubliners, “The Dead” gives the reader a heavy dose of the social depravity of an Ireland torn by internal war. Everyone in the story seems so caught up in remembering the faded glory of the past that the living have become even more stagnant and perished than the dead themselves. Aunt Julia appears first as a faded flower: “her hair…was grey; and grey also, with darker shadows, was her large flaccid face. …[She had] the appearance of a woman who did not know where she was or where she was going” (187-188). Even this initial description seems to be of one near or even past death. Even while singing more beautifully than she ever had (202-203), she seems more prepared for her funeral than “Arrayed for the Bridal”. She has both authored and, for every Christmas party she has ever thrown, performed this song about a wedding, and yet has never herself married or produced children. Her life, though intermittently beautiful while it has lasted, will soon end in obscurity, fruitless, childless, “wasted”, as her …
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…ort of lasting meaning. What the lamented heroes of old had, and the zombie-like characters of the present generally lack, is the knowledge that the formation and maintenance of emotional bonds between human beings are the only meaningful enterprise of the human spirit and the only worthwhile endeavor of the human life. Both authors make it clear that those who spend their lives going through the motions of an unemotional society waste their lives as slowly and painfully as their bodies waste away. For them, the only way to truly live one’s life is to follow the feeling, the passion of the soul.
Benstock, Bernard. Critical Essays on James Joyce. G.K. Hall