3 December 2012
A Farewell to Arms Essay
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry,” (Henry, Pg. 249). After his escape from the destructive war he had initially volunteered in, the main character of A Farewell to Arms, Frederic Henry, realizes this statement of his to be the hidden truth of the world. Having fought in a war himself, the author, Ernest Hemmingway understands this and makes it out to be one of the major themes in the novel to help share his view on war that it is a senseless waste of life, but is inevitable much like death itself. Using Henry’s experiences in the war along with symbolism and other characterizations, Hemmingway accurately portrays the harsh realities of both war and death.
Knowing when one is going to die is nearly impossible until the event is present. This gives death a certain randomness as far as who is going to die next or even when, yet its inevitability remains constant. Hemmingway illustrates this concept in the novel with his use of symbols. The most common symbol used for this illustration is the looming rain throughout the book. Whenever the story is impacted by death, it is almost always raining. An example of this is when Henry says in chapter one, “At the start of the winter came the permanent rain and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army.” This illustration points out the fact that death can occur as randomly and as unstoppably as rain can fall. No matter how hard you try to out run the rain, it will always find you, much like death. Even after Henry escapes the war with Catherine, his lover, he cannot escape death when she dies while giving birth to a stillborn baby. After she...
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