War In Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms

1471 Words6 Pages
The novel offers masterful descriptions of the conflict’s senseless brutality and violent chaos: the scene of the Italian army’s retreat remains one of the most profound evocations of war in American literature. As the neat columns of men begin to crumble, so too do the soldiers’ nerves, minds, and capacity for rational thought and moral judgment. Like in this example
They blew him all to bits." (4.83)
That’s typical Modernist language Catherine is using. World War I "blew up" the idea that the world was a safe place, and the Modernists were obsessed with fragments and pieces and breaking in general.
The characters work ceaselessly to hold on to their hopes for happiness while doing right by their brothers and sisters in arms.
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Can they stop it?"
"I do not know." (11.53, 54)

This is a rather meta-fictional moment. Hemingway’s novel is often seen as a protest against war, and the sentence expresses doubt over whether such protest can really help stop it.
Love is dangerous in A Farewell to Arms. In the middle of a war zone, anyone can die at any moment, breaking the hearts of the loved ones left behind. Yet the characters in the novel risk it all, to be both good romantic lovers and good lovers of human kind.
"We are war brothers. Kiss me good-by." (10.70)
We admit it. We want to be war brothers with Rinaldi, too. We want him to call us "baby." The love between Rinaldi and Frederic is complicated. The erotic overtone of the scenes between the two men is not to be denied.
Like all humans, they make mistakes, and sometimes aren’t the lovers they want to be. But as long as they have breath in their bodies, they keep on trying. They keep on trying to love, even with tragedy exploding all around
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I’m you. Don’t make up a separate me." (18.21-21)
Frederic is talking about marriage, but Catherine is suggesting, as she does many times in the novel, that marriage for them is anti-climactic. Since they are already so close that they are a single person, formal marriage seems pointless.
THEME OF MEN AND MASCULINITY A Farewell to Arms shows men fulfilling what are often consider traditional male roles, or even stereotypes – they drink hard, fight hard, play hard, and commit heroic acts of bravery. However, as we get to know them better, their masculinity is revealed as subtle, complicated, and individual to each man. All in all, the men in this novel are human – they love, they suffer, they hurt, they hope, and, sometimes, they even break.
"Tell me, baby, when you lie here all the time in hot weather don’t you get excited?" (10.35)
Rinaldi’s speech drips with sexuality. For Rinaldi, masculinity is all about sexiness, and he can’t seem to turn it off.
After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain." (41.292)
This is a great example of Hemingway’s theory of omission. How can Frederic express all the pain and turmoil he’s feeling now that he’s lost Catherine and his son? He doesn’t have to. We can feel it all from just these seemingly simple
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