Compare And Contrast A Farewell To Arms And Ernest Hemingway

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An interesting life and specific cultures can shape and influence the way authors typically write. Ernest Hemingway is a perfect example where his life developed his own works. The extravagant lifestyle of Hemingway consisting of love, war, and masculinity is a recurring theme in “A Farewell to Arms,” and “Hills Like White Elephants.” The brave young American is a character that portrays Hemingway in both stories. Ernest Hemingway pulls from his background and youth to expand similar settings and atmospheres through each story. Throughout Hemingway’s stories, themes of love and masculinity are consistent factors that play prominent roles in the development of his stories. Ernest Hemingway was a passionate lover, accumulating four wives throughout…show more content…
The motif of masculinity represents both Henry and the American in both stories. In the “Hills Like White Elephants,” the American characterizes the typical rugged and masculine character. The conception of masculinity is portrayed through a man who is knowledgeable, worldly, and always in control of himself and the situation at hand. When he is confronted with the situation debating whether to have an abortion or not, he manages to keep his cool and dictate the outcome of the conversation. The strategy he uses during high pressured situations is he oversimplifies and tries to convince his girl. However, the negative aspect of his masculinity is that he disregards how to woman feels and does not show much care for her state of mind. This mindset is typical of that time where men made all the decisions and women had to obey and follow. In “A Farewell to Arms,” the minor characters seem to behold the sense of masculinity. Rinaldi, Dr. Valentini, and Bonello all exhibit a sense of virility through their actions. Rinaldi lives a lifestyle of an oversexed womanizer; however, a loyal friend to Henry. "Tell me, baby, when you lie here all the time in hot weather don’t you get excited?" (10.35) This exemplifies Rinaldi’s masculinity as he attempts to womanize. For Rinaldi, masculinity is defined as sex and nothing else. Dr.…show more content…
Hemingway’s setting of choice throughout his stories seem to take place somewhere in a European country. In “Hills Like White Elephants,” planted in the middle of a desolate valley, the station isn’t a final destination but merely a stopping point between Barcelona and Madrid. “The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white.”(Hemingway 475) The contrast between the white hills and the barren valley can be compared to life and death of relationship. The train station also depicts an image of whether people want to “move on” or “stay” and continue their loving relationships. The girl is torn apart because she does not know whether to leave and board the train or continue and pursue with the relationship. In “A Farewell to Arms,” it takes place in various locations in Italy and Switzerland due to the constant changes in war and escaping the scene. Italy represents a scene where war is very prevalent and Henry is trying to escape the craziness. Italy in World War I is a fractured and broken landscape which mirrors the tragic and breaking lives of the characters. In Switzerland, it acts as a buffer between his life as a soldier and his normal life. He tries to escape the war and madness, but it eventually follows him. The rain that’s been haunting them throughout the novel finally catches up to them and everything gets more broken than we imagined. Hemingway’s uses imagery
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