Free Essays - Searching for Truth in A Farewell to Arms


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Searching for Truth in A Farewell to Arms


If The Sun Also Rises was one of the best books I have ever read, then A Farewell to Arms is Truth. I simply cannot believe that these books existed so long without my knowledge of how grand they are. I consider myself to read constantly, more than almost anyone I know, and here in less than a month I read two books that are undoubtedly among the best I have encountered.

 
When I finished A Farewell to Arms I was of course stunned by the death of Catherine and the baby and Henry's sudden solitude. "What happens now?" I felt, as I so often do when I finish a book that I want to go on forever. This is infinitely more difficult with a book that has no conclusion, and A Farewell to Arms leaves a reader not only emotionally exhausted but also just as alone as Henry and with nowhere to go. The entire work was aware of where it was going and what was going to happen next, and then to stop the way it did was unfair. Now, I've read enough essays while deciding which would be the topic for my class presentation that I know many people see that the unfairness of life and the insignificance of our free will are apparently the most important themes in the book, but I don't agree. I also don't agree that it is a war story or a love story. Exactly what it is, though, is not clear to me. Can't art exist without being anything? "There isn't always an explanation for everything."

 
War and love are obviously important themes in the book, and the relationship between the two is explored by Hemingway and, somewhat, by Henry. In the first two Books we are in the war and the war is overwhelming. In the last two Books we are in love. And, just as the first two Books are peppered with love in the time of war, the last two Books are tinged with war in the time of love. GIVE SPECIFIC EXAMPLE OF THE “PEPPERING” AND THE “TINGING.” WHAT EFFECT DOES THE “PEPPERING” AND “TINGING” HAVE ON THE NOVEL? THE CHARACTERS?

 
The third Book is the bridge between the two 'stories' and it is not surprising that it centers on the escape.

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It is during the escape that Henry resolves that he is through with the war (a war in which he really has no place) and decides that all he wants is to be with Catherine. Until the third Book Henry doesn't seem to be agonizingly concerned with matters of right or wrong in the war and it seems, in fact, separate from him. Even when he is injured it doesn't appear that he is really a part of the war which surrounds him. He maintains a distance from it and this distance isn't really closed until Aymo is killed by his own army, he discovers that Bonello is only staying with him out of respect, and he is almost killed as a spy. After this he resolves to desert the army and be reunited with his love, Catherine. Henry is no dummy and he could easily tell that everything was not all correct with Cat, which leads to the question of his love for her. You must admit that Cat is a bit...well... flaky when they first meet. She loses that persona soon enough, although I couldn't help but distrust her integrity until somewhere in the middle of the fourth Book. It is also difficult to believe wholeheartedly in his love for her until much later in their relationship, and it leaves me wondering if he is leaving his involvement in the war because of his unfailing love for Cat or if Cat and any feelings he has for her are just excuses to escape the insanity of the war he experiences in the third Book. When he is with Catherine, they are in another place, untouched by the war, both symbolically (in the tent of her hair) and literally (in Switzerland).

 
[It seems like I don't ever say anything earth-shattering, or even critical, in these response papers, and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to do that. The line, "The war seemed as far away as the football games of some one else's college," is beautiful.]

WRITE OUT THE TITLE OF THE NOVEL AND UNDERLINE IT.

THIS ESSAY EXPRESSES MANY THEMES THAT OCCUR IN THE NOVEL BUT  DOES NOT DEVELOP ANY OF THEM.  PICK A THEME TO DISCUSS AND EXPLORE IT THOUROUGHLY.  THE “excuses to escape the insanity of the war” WOULD HAVE BEEN A WONDERFUL THEME TO DEVELOP AS WOULD THE BEGINNING THOUGHTS ABOUT THE INCOMPLETENESS OF THE NOVEL.  THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LOVE AND WAR WOULD ALSO HAVE MADE A GREAT THEME TO DEVELOP.  THE POINT IS DEVELOP ONE OF THOSE THEMES INSTEAD OF SIMPLY STATING ALL OF THEM.  CRITICAL ANALYSIS IS NOT JUST STATING A THEME BUT FIGURING OUT WHY THE AUTHOR USES THAT THEME AND WHAT ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL SPECIFICALLY DEAL WITH THAT THEME.  WHAT IS THE RESOLUTION OF THAT SPECIFIC THEME?  HOW DOES THE AUTHOR RESOLVE IT? 

ALSO, STICK TO THE CRITICAL ANALYSIS.  DO NOT WRITE A PLOT SUMMARY.

WHEN YOU USE A QUOTATION CITE THE SOURCE.  AT THE END OF THE QUOTE PUT THE AUTHOR’S NAME AND THE PAGE NUMBER ON WHICH THE QUOTE CAN BE FOUND IN PARENTHESES. 

WITHIN THE PAPER THRE ARE FOUR DIFFERENT TOPICS TO EXPLORE.  EACH OF THESE TOPICS SHOULD HAVE THEIR OWN PARAGRAPH.  WHEN YOU BEGIN A NEW SUBJECT ALWAYS BEGIN A NEW PARAGRAPH ALSO.


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