A Farewell to Arms – Plot Elements
In the novel “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway, readers are provided with a variety of
literary elements. Hemingway used these elements to tell a story of war, love, and life. Within the
novel readers are given a first person narrative of the accounts experienced by Lieutenant Frederic
Henry. Hemingway also used setting and characterization to help the story become as real as possible.
The following paragraphs will explore Hemingway's usage of these three literary elements within the
Ernest Hemingway uses first person narration as the first literary element. This is indicated by
his usage of the word “we” in the very first line of the novel. “In the late summer of that year we lived
in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.” (Hemingway, 277)
This suggests to the reader that the narrator is not only telling us a story he is also part of the story. By
opening with this line Hemingway makes it clear that the novel will be a story based on the narrators
Now the question readers are faced with is answering, who is narrating the novel. This question
is not answered until the second book. Within the second book the narrator has recently been injured
and just arrived at a hospital where a nurse by the name of miss Walker is taking care of him. Upon
their greeting, she asks for his name. To which the narrator replies, “Henry, Frederic Henry.” (1289)
Finally, the audience has been formally introduced to the main character and narrator.
The next literary element used by Hemingway was setting. Within his usage of setting, the
reader is met with a large amount of detail, and description. “The plain was rich with crops; there were
many orchards of fruit trees and beyond the plain the mountains were brown and bare.” (277) This
line gives Hemingway's audience the vision of...
Cited: Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner, 1957. Print.
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