Essay PreviewMore ↓
Many important American writers came to prominence during the Jazz Age, but their commonalities often stopped there. From lyrical to sparse, many different styles can be seen among these authors, such as those of Henry James, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway. One stylistic technique, stream of consciousness, was most associated with Joyce. Yet, Hemingway also used this technique with regularity and it is an important element in his war novel, A Farewell to Arms. This technique uses the interior monologue of a character to convey information, and thus the reader is allowed a more fluid picture of the true thoughts of the character, in this case, Lieutenant Frederick Henry. Also, the information contained in these stream of consciousness passages would not have been as effectively expressed in traditional prose style.
There are six specific passages in A Farewell to Arms that exemplify the stream of consciousness technique. Each of these is related to one of the themes of drunkenness and confusion, escape and fantasy, and disillusionment. These themes are presented in a progression, as Henry becomes more demoralized about his life and the war. The first passage comes early, as he relives the experiences of his weeks on leave. The Lieutenant has been drinking and his memories flow like the speech of an intoxicated person; continuing on from one subject to the next without regard for the listener. Of course, the reader is the only "listener" here, but there is a sense that Henry truly is lost in his own thoughts. His reeling thoughts attempt to summarize the previous few weeks in the following passage:
I had gone. . . to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring (13).
This description is in direct contrast to a previous description of the cold, clear, scenic Abruzzi, Henry's alternative vacation spot, emphasizing his confusion as well as the sensory overload of the Cova.
How to Cite this Page
"Stream of Consciousness in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms." 123HelpMe.com. 14 Aug 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Importance of Streams of Consciousness in A Farewell To Arms Suddenly, it enters your thoughts and streams throughout your mind; you begin to think, you are in a stream of consciousness. You are in your own world of random words and sentences, amounting to nothing, and at times making all the sense in your world, a world that only exists within your mind. That is exactly how a stream of consciousness works, according to Charles Bohner and Dean Dougherty (1216). Ernest Hemingway himself traverses into three streams of consciousness of his own in order to develop Henry's character and the over all theme of A Farewell to Arms, war and love and all feelings in between. For in... [tags: Farewell Arms Essays]
1681 words (4.8 pages)
- Hemingway's Lost Generation Before World War I and the Great Depression, the American dream consisted of the inherent optimism about the future, and a faith in individualism. However, Americans became skeptical of these beliefs and traditions. The country lost its innocence with the war, turning idealism to cynicism resulting in the questioning of the authority and tradition which had seemed to be the American bedrock (Anderson 519). The suffering of millions of Americans brought by the decade of economic depression also changed American's outlook (Phillips 213).... [tags: Ernest Hemingway Essays]
788 words (2.3 pages)
- One measure of a powerful writer lies in her ability to write literature in which any passage can be set apart from its context and still express the qualities of the whole. When this occurs, the integrated profundity of the entire work is a sign of true artistry. Ernest Hemingway, an author of the Lost Generation, was one such writer who mastered the art of investing simple sentence structure with layers of complex meaning. Hemingway, who was a journalist in the earlier years of his writing career, was known for writing in a declarative or terse style of prose.... [tags: essays research papers]
1876 words (5.4 pages)
- Let the stream begin. Some body, some things, life and me, communicated the idea to talk now, not to leave it, to stay, and face up to the past, the places, the people, the pain, the many reasons why I left my home and family, all those years ago, to become a drug addict, an alcoholic, a wanderer, move nomadically from house to house, year to year, to live inside a prison, real and imaginary. I met hell. I met the devil. I met them both inside my head. I found out the hard way that humans could easily imagine evil.... [tags: Stream of Consciousness, ]
911 words (2.6 pages)
- ‘Stream of Consciousness’ is a technique, deployed by modernist writers like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, which is supposed to authentically document the mental process or to capture the ‘atmosphere of mind’. This technique is used to explore the inner reality or the psychic being of characters. Virginia Woolf makes use of this technique in her novel Mrs. Dalloway. For Woolf “life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of the consciousness to the end.” As a novelist she wanted to “record the atoms as they fall upon the mind…trace a pattern, however disconnected and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or incident scores upon that consciousn... [tags: Literature]
1785 words (5.1 pages)
- War creates only two types of men: heroes and cowards. In the book, A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Mr. Frederic Henry was an American Lieutenant ambulance driver in the Italian Army. "The army was staying in Gorizia, a little town that had been captured by the Italian army" (5). The town looked across a river and the plains to the mountains. There was fighting going on in those mountains, only a mile away. One evening when Frederic came in the house after doing some work on his ambulance, his friend Rinaldi took him to a hospital to meet a nurse who was a friend of Rinaldi's.... [tags: A Farewell To Arms]
1102 words (3.1 pages)
- Ernest Hemingway and A Farewell To Arms "We did not do the things we wanted to do; we never did such things" (Hemingway 13). This single sentence voiced early in Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms by the American protagonist, Lieutenant Frederic Henry, sums up the rather pessimistic and drab tone and mood presented in Hemingway's works, particularly this novel, which also reflects the pessimistic and judgmental mind housed within the author. Regardless of the unhappy circumstances and heart-breaking situations which prevail throughout the novel, A Farewell To Arms certainly deserves a place in a listing of works of high literary merit.... [tags: Farewell Arms Essays]
3202 words (9.1 pages)
- A Farewell to Arms is a novel by Ernest Hemingway about an American ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, and the nurse, Catherine Barkley, with whom he falls in love. The story is narrated by his driver, named Frederic Henry. Whether or not this book is truly an anti-war novel is debatable, but it well depicts the effects an ongoing war has on soldiers and how the men try to numb this pain. Henry's close friend at the front, Rinaldi, forgets the war with the help of sex and seduction, the priest takes comfort in God, the Captain has humor and jokes about the priest, and almost all drink profusely, taking wine and brandy like water.... [tags: Farewell Arms Hemingway]
1859 words (5.3 pages)
- The setting of A Farewell to Arms is Italy, where they were fighting Austria, during World War I. The story is about Frederick Henry, an American, who served as a lieutenant in the Italian army to a group of ambulance drivers. At the start of the novel, Frederick was a drunk who traveled from one house of prostitution to the next. Yet he was discontent with his unsettled lifestyle. Frederick meets Catherine Barkley an English volunteer nurse, who serves in Italy, at a near by hospital. In the first few chapters, Frederick’s life is seeing Miss Barkley, drinking with the others at his barracks, and driving the ambulance.... [tags: A Farewell to Arms Essays]
1772 words (5.1 pages)
- Accepting Death in Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms A Farewell To Arms is Ernest Hemingway's poignant yet simple tale of two young lovers who meet during the chaos of W.W.I and the relationship that endures until its tragic end. Frederick Henry, an American lieutenant in the Italian army, and Catherine Barkley, an English volunteer nurse, share a devout love for one another that deepens as Catherine becomes pregnant, yet their blissful relationship becomes tragically shortened as the baby and Catherine die as a result of the birth, leaving Frederick alone to accept their deaths.... [tags: Farewell Arms Essays]
701 words (2 pages)
As Frederick Henry's involvement in the war increases, and he becomes bombarded by violence and suffering, his perspective changes, and his thoughts become an escape from his immediate situation. First, he makes casual evaluations of the leaders and armies involved in the war, and then, regarding his attitude of invincibility and distance from death, he thinks, "Well, I knew I would not be killed. Not in this war. It did not have anything to do with me. It seemed no more dangerous to me myself than war in the movies" (37). Being a young man who has not really invested himself into the war effort yet, his thoughts inevitably turn to his current object of affection, Catherine Barkley, and he fantasizes about a rendezvous with her:
Maybe she would pretend I was her boy that was killed and we would go in the front door...and I would stop at the concierge's desk and ask for the key and she would stand by the elevator and then we would get in the elevator and it would go up very slowly clicking at all the floors and then our floor...and she would step out and I would step out and we would walk down the hall and I would put the key in the door and open it and go in and then take down the telephone and ask them to send a bottle of capri bianca in a silver bucket full of ice...(37-38).
This is a very simple passage with no analysis or evaluation of the events, and it serves to paint a visual picture of Henry's thoughts, which could be seen as more images than words. Farther into their relationship, his thoughts turn, once again, from the weariness of the retreat to his longing for Catherine and his developing feelings for her. He dreams about a conversation with her that has not really happened, and the stream of consciousness technique effectively portrays his drifting thoughts and longing for escape. In this passage, a progression in Henry's character can be seen, from partying immortal to more of an exhausted soldier longing for home.
The final direct glimpses into Frederick Henry's mind occur at the hospital during Catherine's difficult delivery. His frustration with the futility of his situation, and his fear of losing his true love have escalated and he has finally become resigned to death as a punishment for all. Henry says, "And this was the price you paid for sleeping together. This was the end of the trap. This was what people got for loving each other... So now they got her in the end. You never got away with anything. Get away hell! It would have been the same if we had been married fifty times" (320). Later, the baby is found to be dead, and he continues, "Now Catherine would die. That was what you did. You died.... You could count on that. Stay around and they would kill you" (327). Clearly, Frederick Henry has been changed by the war and now the death of his child and wife in a way that he had not foreseen as an immature soldier. Hemingway's use of stream of consciousness to bring the reader directly into the mind of Frederick Henry allows the reader to identify with his situation, as well as to see the progressive change in the character.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York, NY.: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1957.