A career as distinguished as that of Ernest Hemingway cannot simply be condensed into a handful of words. If one were to make the attempt anyway, no choice seems to be more fitting than “love, death and women”.
These topics are constant companions throughout all of his work and indeed, his life. His 1929 masterpiece, “A Farewell to Arms”, is a particularly good example of this. In this paper, I will show how these recurring subjects – the fascinating interplay between Eros and Thanatos and the depiction of women – help shape this seminal work.
To fully appreciate the tale told in the novel, and to better understand the aforementioned, seemingly inadequate three-word …show more content…
Compassion and courage were nowhere to be found, but cruelty abounded, as illustrated in this passage: “’If there is a retreat, how are the wounded evacuated?’ ‘They are not. They take as many as they can and leave the rest.’” (Hemingway 167)
In conclusion, I hope that the importance of the changing influence of Eros and Thanatos and the questionable portrayal of women in “A Farewell to Arms” has become obvious. These topics appear in all of Hemingway’s works, with varying importance.
Much of the novel becomes clearer when viewed through the lens of Hemingway’s biography. Taking into consideration some of the key points of his life I mentioned in the introduction, the autobiographical tendencies of the book should emerge – perhaps helping to make his overt machismo understandable, if not palatable.
Most importantly, “A Farewell to Arms” does an excellent job of showing the reader the sheer insanity and, through the author’s unique style, the stark reality of war. Hemingway himself put it quite succinctly: “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a