The Horrors of War: a Comparison

Topics: Emotion, Alcoholism, Ernest Hemingway Pages: 7 (3085 words) Published: June 6, 2006
"Only dead have seen the end of war"

The world has turned a blind eye to the wars that are occurring at this very moment, while subconsciously knowing how vile and pestilent these wars are. Millions die, millions more are injured, and survivors are left with crippling memories that will never heal. Shell-shocked soldiers could not fall asleep at night because they are tormented by the nightmarish sounds; the non-stop barrage of mortars and bullets. They could not function in society anymore because whether they knew it or not, the War had effected their minds and they could not be healed. Famous author and writer, Earnest Hemingway was a war veteran that served in the First World War. He came out of the War with countless memories and interesting, capturing stories. On a day just like any other he was injured on the battlefield and fell in love with nurse in a tragic Romeo and Juliet type of story which one of his novels is based on. Many of his morals and lessons from the War can be followed throughout his writings. In The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms both in print by Ernest Hemingway, readers discover that war can be physically and emotionally damaging by examining alcoholic tendencies, relationships of the main characters as well as visible scars, both emotional and physical. In The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway, the protagonist, Jake and his companions reveal symptoms of alcoholism, presumably adopted to mask pain from post-war emotional and physical scars. The reason for their alcoholism could be held true with evidence in present day society. A grandparent that has fought and survived in a war may often drink to lighten the thoughts of their past. "I went back into the hotel to get a couple bottles of wine to take with us." (Hemingway, 103). The circumstances of this quote are just as important as the quote itself. As Jake and his companions find it rather arduous to complete any activity, especially social activities without alcohol in their systems. They do not merely use alcohol as a social lubricant but are unable to function without alcohol. This group of friends makes it customary for everyone else in the group to be drunk or drinking. The characters would call it immoral for them to be sober at any time. "Perhaps I am drunk. Why aren't you drunk? Why don't you ever get drunk Robert?" (Hemingway, 143). The group tries to question Robert Cohn for not having a drink in his hand. They appear to be getting provoked because Robert is sober therefore not "normal" in their eyes. Every spare moment this group of companions has, which is virtually every minute of the day, due to the fact they are on vacation in Europe, is spent with alcoholic beverages in hand. "Yes! Yes! Arriba! Up with the bottle!" (Hemingway, 158). Their recklessness and negligence for the well being of themselves is proved through the excessive need to be drunk. It is not "fun" or suitable for them to be sober anywhere in the novel, which is a more violent case of alcoholism then in A Farewell to Arms. The protagonist in A Farewell to Arms drinks with his fellow soldiers almost every night to help him cope as the time passes in the War. In their minds the soldiers believe that if they go to bed drunk that they will not be filled with the thoughts of fighting and the battlefield. "Looking out of the bawdy house, the house for officers while I sat with a friend and two glasses drinking a bottle of Ast." (Hemingway, 6). Here all the officers gather on a nightly basis to drink and talk. To take their minds off the War and replace those thoughts with anything at all. They will do anything to accomplish this, such as talking about completely random subjects and drunken idiocy, such as making fun of other members of the platoon. "Today I see priest with girls. No said the priest. The officers were amused at the baiting." (Hemingway, 7). They start to attack a priest for something to occupy themselves with for a...
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