Hemingway bases most of his books on events that he has experienced. Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms is a book about war, identity, and individualism. His style of using in media res, character, and dialogue, and how he splits the book into five parts, changes the way readers interpret the book. Ernest Hemingway lived through World War I and World War II. During World War I, Hemingway wanted to join the American army, but he was not accepted into it because of his eye sight. Since he wanted to help in the war effort, he moved to Italy to become a Red Cross ambulance driver. During this time, he was severely injured in the legs by enemy mortar fragments. His time in Italy influenced much of his book, A Farewell to Arms. War is a reoccurring theme in the novel. The main character Frederic realizes more and more of how bad war really is throughout the story. One critic, Schneider, said, “War is not glamorized… Instead, it is presented in a very real and horrifying fashion from the perspective of the ambulance driver” (Telgen 179). In the book Hemingway wrote, “I wiped my hand on my shirt and another floating light came very slowly down and I looked at my leg and was very afraid” (Hemingway 56). At this point in the novel, Frederic starts to realize the realities of war. Another critic, Markley, said, “It’s still a game to him” (Bloom 174). Near the middle of the book, Frederic and his fellow soldiers retreat from Caporetto. It this section, Frederic is fully awakened to the horrors of war, and sees it in a completely different way. Identity plays a big role in Frederic’s character. According to Schneider, “Frederic’s identity is displaced by the late introduction of his name to the reader, the fact of his being an American in the Italian Army, and his constant play with words” (Telgen 177). In the novel, the narrator, Frederic, is not introduced until the fourth chapter, and the jokes he tries to make in the story don’t translate well into Italian. This...
Bibliography: Bender, David, ed. Readings on Ernest Hemingway. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997.
Bloom, Harold. Modern Critical Views of Ernest Hemingway. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985.
Oliver, Charles. Critical Companion to Ernest Hemingway. New York: Facts on File, Inc, 2007.
Telgen, Diane, ed. Novels for Students. Detroit: Gale Research, 1997.
Waldhorn, Arthur, ed. Ernest Hemingway. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc, 1972.
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