The Importance Of Heroism By Ernest Hemingway

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From an early age, Ernest Hemingway found himself obsessed with the subject of heroism. He looked up to his grandfather, who he saw as a hero, and sought to fulfill the war legacy left behind by joining the army. Hemingway was a participant in many wars, but one in particular shaped the rest of his life and his outlook on the world. It was during the end of World War I and Hemingway was serving the Italian army as an ambulance driver. During the battle at Fossalta di Piave, Hemingway circulated the trenches with chocolates, providing them to soldiers. Out of nowhere, an Austrian trench mortar shell exploded a few feet away from Hemingway, killing one man and wounding many others (Meyers, p.30). Hemingway was one of these wounded men. It was once said by Ted Brumback that Hemingway had acted heroically, for once he regained consciousness, he picked up a wounded man and carried him to the first aid dugout despite his own serious leg wounds (Meyers, p.30). Considered the turning point in his life, Hemingway had faced death but been called a “hero” as a result of it. Even though Hemingway’s obsession with heroism was still prevalent throughout his life, and this event on July 8, 1918, made its way into many of his novels, the heroes Hemingway wrote about never forsook glory or fortune. They were more concerned with the righting of wrongs and the longing of experience (Baker (2), p.129). In Hemingway’s novel, A Farewell to Arms, the protagonist Frederic Henry is more obviously a form of Hemingway, but also a prime example of the heroes Hemingway liked to write about. Even though Henry faced danger, pain, and death throughout this wartime novel, none of it was glorified. Despite his obsession with heroism in war, while writing the novel...

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...veryone, innocent or not. Hemingway once mentioned the moral emptiness of the universe (Baker (1), p.129). Man is greedy and naturally he wants what he can’t have. That’s why one is drawn to go to war; to fight even harder for what he can’t have. Hemingway does a wonderful job of presenting death and the horrors of war in his novel, A Farewell to Arms. The overall theme in the novel is more obviously antiwar because of the troublesome events that take place, such as the abandonment of one’s commitments and the death of loved ones. Even war hero Robert E. Lee once said, “It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we should grow too fond of it.” For it is the death in war that keeps one humble. It is the death in war that keeps one from acting upon his greediness. It is the death in war that destroys a man’s soul and reminds him that not everything is his to take.
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