Q) Hemmingway’s depiction of the condition of man in a society that has been upset by the violence of war, in light of “The Sun also Rises” and “A Farewell to Arms”. No American writer is more associated with writing about war in the early 20th century than Ernest Hemingway. He experienced it first hand, wrote dispatches from innumerable frontlines, and used war as a backdrop for many of his most memorable works. Commenting on these experience years later in Men at War, Hemingway wrote: "When you go to war as a boy you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed; not you. . . . Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it can happen to you. After being severely wounded two weeks before my nineteenth birthday I had a bad time until I figured out that nothing could happen to me that had not happened to all men before me. Whatever I had to do men had always done. If they had done it then I could do it too and the best thing was not to worry about it." Many persons whose outward lives do not in the least resemble that of a typical ‘Hemingway’s character’ are still conscious of the dislocation due to war, and of which he has made himself the outstanding fictional spokesmen of our time. Hemingway’s characters are soldiers, sportsman, Prize fighter and his world of fiction swarm with ferrets, drunkards and prostitutes. He is greatly pre-occupied with death and violence. ‘A Farewell to Arms’ shows Hemingway’s ability to create life like character, both male and female, in such a way as to make us feel that we have actually met them. The First World War plays an important role in the novels of Ernest Hemingway. He has depicted all real war experience in his novel. The war led up to a deep distrust of all established institutions and values religions, ideals, society, patriotisms etc. Only concrete experiences were valued. Thus, Hemingway emphasized the sense and the experience based on them. The Sun also Rises is one of his such novels. It is a story of a few American expatriates who were living in Paris after the War. There were all wounded either physically or psychologically by the war. "I got hurt in the war," I said.
"Oh, that dirty war."
We would probably have gone on and discussed the war and agreed that it was in reality a calamity for civilization, and perhaps would have been better avoided. I was bored enough. Just then from the other room someone called: "Barnes! I say Barnes! Jacob Barnes!" (3.9)
| The banal discussion of the war that Jake and Georgette narrowly escape is one that’s unsatisfactory and not comprehensive. We get the feeling that there’s a lot more to be said about the war, but nobody knows how to communicate it yet. "My dear, I am sure Mr. Barnes has seen a lot. Don’t think I don’t think so, sir. I have seen a lot, too." "Of course you have, my dear," Brett said. "I was only ragging." "I have been in seven wars and four revolutions," the count said. "Soldiering?" Brett asked.
"Sometimes, my dear. And I have got arrow wounds. Have you ever seen arrow wounds?" (7.18)
| The count’s definition of "seen a lot" is associated with war – as though war is the only real experience a man can have. The old pre-war values cannot give them the direction that they are looking for and in this lost world they are all lost souls. They drink heavily to quieten their inner distressed voices. Jake Barnes is a casualty of the First World War. He has been made impotent due to his injury and thus is now ‘half the man than he was before.’ His physical impairment has made it impossible for him to consummate his love and thus this becomes the tragedy of his love for Brett Ashley. Although there is no mention of it in the novel directly, it has been implied in certain scenes. As Brett is not willing to settle for less, Jake is drowned in the ocean of unrequited love. Thus, Jake then becomes a tragic hero, one of the most praised heroes of...
Book: Hemingway on War
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