There Is Nothing Worse Than War

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“There is nothing worse than war” – This is a story about war and its effect on human beings. Discuss

It is evident that Ernest Hemingway portrays war, in his novel “A Farewell to Arms”, as the ultimate act of destruction, chaos and turmoil. Through contrasts in the landscapes Hemingway is able to depict the ferocity in which war can tear apart nature and through characters such as Henry and Catherine, Passini and Rinaldi he expresses the futility and devastation of war, how it dehumanises people to the point where death becomes a mere statistic and how war changes all those involved, sometimes for the better, but on the most part for the far worst.

The environment is perhaps the most visual aspect in the novel by which the absolute destructive nature of war is shown. Hemingway is able to depict this bleak imagery by constantly contrasting the beauty of nature to the ravaging force that is the military and war itself. He describes with awe the splendour that is the natural environment but then instantly replaces that with the “instruments of death” tearing through “with ammunition boxes secured under their capes making them look like they were six months gone with child”. He uses this imagery as a way of contrasting the life and fertility of nature with the death and destruction of war. He also shows that for victories to be had in war, everything including the landscape suffers, telling of how the Italian army had seen success in their campaign but how the forests “had been green in the summer...but now there were stumps and the broken trunks and the ground torn up”. The mere fact that the environment is not mentioned as often later on in the novel as it is in the beginning shows that the beauty that once was, is all but gone through the effects of war.

The tragedy and horror of war is then explored by Hemingway in his characters, as is first seen in the ambulance driver Passini but also, later on, through Rinaldi. Passini is one of the...
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