A Farewell To Arms - Imagery Paper

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Ernest Hemingway used an abundant amount of imagery in his War World I novel, A Farewell to Arms. In the five books that the novel is composed of, the mind is a witness to the senses of sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste. All of the these senses in a way connects to the themes that run through the novel. We get to view Hemingway’s writing style in a greater depth and almost feel, or mentally view World War I and the affects it generates through Lieutenant Henry’s eyes. In Book One of A Farewell to Arms, we get to read of the sense of taste. Taste plays a big role, as we enjoy the flavor of specific foods or liquids, sometimes forcing us to crave for it even. “It tasted of rusty metal, I handed the canteen back to Passani” (Page 54, Hemingway). The wine Lieutenant Fredric Henry’s taste buds had been consumed in was rotten. The reader could get a feel of the taste of this “rusty metal”, almost reminding them of the taste of blood with its metal-like flavor. Hemingway shows us his style in writing by giving us a distinct taste of how your body must crave for a bit of food or liquid to quench the hunger/thirst your body yearns for. Henry stated that the wine tasted like “rusty metal”, but he still continued to drink the wine a bit later. Maybe the “rusty metal” taste of the wine could stand for blood, since blood has the taste of metal, it could almost foreshadow that blood will be shed soon from the incoming shelling. The wine also stands for the theme of diversions, Henry keeps on consuming this rotten wine to divert his thoughts somewhere different. He would rather taste the rottenness of the wine instead of having his thoughts linger to the almost pungent thoughts of warfare and death. Touch is important in our lives, as we feel and touch things daily, our fingers brush against maybe a rough surface of a rock or a soft piece of fabric. We can also feel mentally or physically, feelings such as, protection. Henry describes in Book Two of the novel, the hair of Catherine Barkley and how he feels so protected by it. “I would watch her while she kept very still and then take out the last two pins and it would all come down and she would drop her head and we would both be inside of it, and it was the feeling of inside a tent or behind a falls” (Page 114, Hemingway).

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