A Farewell To Arms

Topics: Fiction, Literature, Ernest Hemingway Pages: 5 (2049 words) Published: February 4, 2014
Man’s Self-Infliction of Inhumanity in A Farewell to Arms War is the epitome of mankind’s inhumanity. It is in man’s nature to fuel the want and propensity toward war. Wars destroy nations and stability. Soldiers who fight in wars either come back in pieces or do not come back at all. The ones lucky enough to return home have changed drastically in what they feel and how they think. The horrors of war will forever haunt them. In his classic novel, A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway examines the effect of war on man’s ideals and morals amid the World War I battleground of Northern Italy. Ernest Hemingway, born in Oak Park, Illinois, on July 21, 1899, was well nurtured by his parents as a young boy; however, he was never really adequately happy about his life. Hemingway always wanted to escape his life. His first big shot at running away from home came during World War I. Hemingway, at first, tried to join the American Army, but the Army declined him as a result of his poor health and eyesight. He later joined the Red Cross in 1918 as a volunteer ambulance diver. He worked for the Red Cross during World War I and was badly injured by shrapnel from mortar fire when he was at a post in Fossalta di Plave in Italy. As a result of his campaign in World War I warfare, Hemingway was able to experience first-hand the true nature of war and how it affected the soldiers involved. Shortly after being sent back home to America, he became a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. Before the war had started, Hemingway worked as a reporter and journalist for the Kansas Star (“Ernest Hemingway” 1647). His career as a journalist and reporter during this time helped to shape his very distinctive writing style. Another period of his life that greatly affected his writing style and beliefs was when he lived in France in the 1920s. During this time period, the idea of Modernism was flourishing in its popularity. Some modernist ideas, such as the incorporation of the author’s philosophical ideas and the use of a non-fictional setting, helped to affect his writing style. The philosophical idea of Existentialism played a huge role in many of his writings in the 1920s. Existentialism discusses that the reason behind man’s existence in life can be explained through inquiry on the psychological and philosophical level (Corbett NP). Hemingway, over the course of his life, tried to find the true meaning of life and he used this search for identity and purpose in A Farewell to Arms (“A Farewell to Arms” 159). There are many literary devices that appear in A Farewell to Arms. One major literary device is the use of motifs. A Farewell to Arms is embedded with motifs. A major motif presented throughout the novel is weather. Rain symbolizes death in the novel and whenever rain is present in the chapter, it foreshadows and forebodes the reader that something bad is about to occur. In as early as the first chapter, Hemingway tries to incorporate the rain motif into the novel by describing how rain came in the winter and how it spread cholera throughout the army, killing seven thousand Italian soldiers (Hemingway 4). Even in the end of the novel while Catherine is hemorrhaging during and after childbirth, it is raining outside, foreshadowing Catherine’s imminent death. Another weather motif is snow, which represents safety from the war in the novel. Snow appears numerous times when Henry and Catherine reside in their home in Switzerland. Switzerland is a neutral country that does not take part in World War I and its seemingly endless snow suggests that Catherine and Henry are safe from the war. Snow also appears when it is wintertime in the novel. Military forces do not fight in the winter, especially when it is snowing, which provides a momentary break in the war. Another literary device developed in the novel is symbolism. A major symbol that appears in the novel is the use of hair. Catherine’s hair symbolizes the isolation of Henry and Catherine from...
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