Farewell to Arms Is a Novel Without Hope

Topics: Ernest Hemingway, Meaning of life, Life Pages: 3 (1033 words) Published: May 30, 2011
Farewell to Arms is a novel without hope

Ernest Hemingway’s novel ‘A Farewell to Arms’ shows the destitution of war and the hopelessness of life. Throughout times of hardship and despair, the need to believe in a better future is enhanced, and through the horrors of death and injury, Hemingway implies that all is hopeless. Attempts to find meaning through alcohol and sex proved unsuccessful, societies corruption highlights the absurdity of war, and the love Catherine and Henry felt for each other ended in horror.

During the war, soldiers turned to the simple pleasures of live in a means finding hope and escaping the misery. The constant drinking and journeys to “bawdy houses” shows the change in moral standards as the need for meaning in life rises, and the social norms change from modesty to going to the “whorehouse before it shuts” This lowered standards as a result of the soldiers’ position leads the reader to understand that in war, there is no hope; the constant death and destruction leaves soldiers feeling as though they have no purpose in life. The routine death, to the point that a soldier dying is unimportant, shows the brutality of war on the emotions of men. The positive connotations of “only seven thousand” soldiers dying highlights the hopelessness of life and the need for an outlet from war. While in normal circumstance one could turn to religion as an answer for the reason behind war and how to alleviate oneself from the terror, Henry and his friends believe “all thinking men are atheists”, and interrupt the priest when he attempts to tell Henry about the Abbruzi. This disruption of spirituality affirms Hemingway’s belief in the falsehood of religion, and shows how in times of war, society changes itself and consequently, all hope of peace and happiness is lost.

Once Henry injures himself and is forced to take leave from the war, it is evident to the reader that the world is corrupt, and it drags everyone with it. While in the hospital...
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