A Farewell to Arms

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A Farewell to Arms, one of the most renowned masterpieces of Ernest Hemingway, is a detailed account of life during World War I, which depicts a gruesome and deleterious reality of a soldier by incorporating themes of impermanence and change. The author of this work tries to convey his notions about the concept of war and love. Throughout the novel, relationship between man and woman in a grim reality of war is frequently discussed. Thus, A Farewell to Arms paints Ernest Hemingway’s view of love and war, espousing his modernistic belief: both love and war can never be more than temporary in this world. They are impermanent and changeable.

To begin with, this novel is mainly derived from the author’s life stories. Hemingway voluntarily enlisted for the war and worked as an ambulance driver in World War I. In 1918, he was deeply wounded on the Italian front. During this period, he was transferred to a small hospital in Milan due to his injury, and there, he fell in love with a beautiful nurse, Agnes von Kurowsky. This unique event led Hemingway to embellish his experience and created the novel, A Farewell to Arms, based on his real-life story.

The novel begins when the war enters the onset of winter. The main character, Frederic Henry, is a young American ambulance driver who serves in the Italian army. Because of his playful friend, Rinaldi, Henry becomes acquainted with an English nurse, Catherine Barkley, and falls deeply in love with her. Their love does not fade away when Henry was brought to a hospital in Milan because of his serious injury; Catherine has also been transferred to Milan, and thus, their relationship is intensified.

When Henry’s leg has healed, the army sends him a message saying that he has to come back to...

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... other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a method of settling international disputes.” Therefore, in Hemingway’s novels, the concept of war is something that should not be admired and glorified.

Works Cited

"A Farewell to Arms: Introduction." Novels for Students. Ed. Marie Rose Napierkowski.

Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1998. eNotes.com. January 2006. 23 May 2011.


“Ernest Hemingway.” Answers.com. 20 May 2011. ernest-hemingway>. “Ernest Hemingway Quotes.” BrainyQuote. 20 May 2011. quotes/authors/e/ernest_hemingway.html>. Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner, 1957. Print.

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