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One of Ernest Hemingway’s greatest novels, “A Farewell to Arms”, has been surrounded by controversy among literary, as well as historical, scholars regarding Hemingway’s inspiration for the famous novel. Many feel that Ernest Hemingway created this fictional book solely from his imagination rather than his experiences, while others believe that Hemingway drew the inspiration for this book from his experience as a volunteer ambulance driver throughout the war. Even though there has been much controversy, there is documented historical proof that the experiences that Hemingway had experienced from his time in the war had influenced his creation of “A Farewell to Arms”.
One of the most prevalent sources for Ernest Hemingway’s inspiration for “A Farewell to Arms” can be found in his relationship with ( ?Anges, the Amer. Nurse), who was a love interest and nurse at the hospital that Hemingway recuperated at after being injured by machine gun fire. The relationship that was created between Hemingway and (Anges) led to the inspiration and creation of one of the main character in “A Farewell to Arms”, as Mrs. Catherine Barkley. The similarities between these two characters of Hemingway’s life, one real and the other fictitious, is astonishing. For instance, both Catherine Barkley and (Anges) where pretty American nurses during a war, while both also being in love with a wounded ambulance driver at their hospitals.
The similarities between the people of Hemingway’s life and his fictitious characters can also be found between Lieutenant Henry, the main character of “A Farewell to Arms”, and Hemingway himself. Once again, the similarities between these characters is astonishing; so much that Lieutenant Henry seems to be Hemingway’s idea of his younger self rather that a fictitious character.
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