On Hemingway’s Pessimism in a Farewell to Wars

Topics: World War II, World War I, Tragedy Pages: 3 (1003 words) Published: March 26, 2011
In China, much research word on Hemingway has been focusing on his anti-war attitude which is shown through his works and the manhood. However, not much attention has been paid to the tragic vision that Hemingway tries to show in A Farewell to Arms. In this thesis, I’m going to explore the tragic vision from the aspects of its contents and the techniques that Hemingway employs in A Farewell to Arms. Through careful investigation and sufficient illustration and analysis, I will conclude that Hemingway’s tragic vision pervades the whole novel both thematically and technically. Therefore, I shall illustrate this point of view from the following three aspects: the world tragic vision, the thematically unfolded tragic vision and the technically achieved tragic vision. To begin with, in A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway presents us a world of violence, despair and depression, a world of self-infliction and vanity, a world of chaos and inhumanity. Such a world produces a disillusioned society, a tragic world. Thematically speaking, there are three cycles: the seasonal cycle of land, the seasonal cycle of the war, and the seasonal cycle of love. The development of the three cycles finally proves to end with nothing. The ending of the novel, with the death of the heroine and her baby in the hospital and the hero’s lonely return to his hotel room, clearly makes it a tragic novel. Technically, most of the big events or scenes in the novel are playing symbolic function in the novel. Hemingway’s famous “ice-berg” theory is also very well employed in the novel. Besides, in A Farewell to Arms motifs are images, objects or situations that keep reoccurring throughout the story, and symbolism deals with metaphoric substitution. A Farewell to Arms is strongly saturated in images of nature, many of which serve as recurring motifs throughout the work. Most of them can be found in the first chapter, where Hemingway apposes image of harvest and life against those of death, and this...
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