A Modern Tragedy
Throughout the history of American literature, stories of the white knight saving the damsel in distress and riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after have plagued our shelves for centuries. The birth of the modern tragedy came in the late 19th century and early 20th century with novels such as Red badge of Courage, and All Quiet on the Western Front. They show the realism of war and the harass tragedy that comes with it. Ernest Hemingway was a product of war himself, serving in the WWI. Some consider his short narrative, A Farwell to Arms to be a reflection on his life during the war. Hemingway uses many themes, including love, faith, war and death in order to turn this story in a modern tragedy for the world to see.
Some older writers of literature believe a true tragedy can only depict those with power and high status. As centuries past, the modern writer's belief that tragedy may also depict ordinary people in domestic surrounding came to life in stories such as Henrik Ibsen "A Dolls House." With the emergency of the modern tragedy, Hemingway released A Farewell to Arms. Through out this short story filled with five short narratives, you are taken on a journey through the eyes of a soldier, Frederic Henry, and into a tragic love story. His farewell is from Henry, to the woman Catherine Barkley, whose arms held understanding in the crazy world of the Great War.
In the beginning of the book, Hemingway takes the main character, Henry, and introduced him to Catherine Barkley, the women he becomes romantically entangled with. Catherine seems to have a full grasp on the idea of war and the tragedy that comes with it. Henry, whose emotions towards woman have dulled, is rekindled with the emergence of Catherine. "I had treated seeing Catherine very lightly, I had gotten somewhat drunk and had nearly forgotten to come but when I could not see her there I was feeling lonely and hollow." (41) Henry is describing his first...
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