A Farewell to Arms Paperback – Jun 1 1995
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As a youth of 18, Ernest Hemingway was eager to fight in the Great War. Poor vision kept him out of the army, so he joined the ambulance corps instead and was sent to France. Then he transferred to Italy where he became the first American wounded in that country during World War I. Hemingway came out of the European battlefields with a medal for valor and a wealth of experience that he would, 10 years later, spin into literary gold with A Farewell to Arms. This is the story of Lieutenant Henry, an American, and Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. The two meet in Italy, and almost immediately Hemingway sets up the central tension of the novel: the tenuous nature of love in a time of war. During their first encounter, Catherine tells Henry about her fiancé of eight years who had been killed the year before in the Somme. Explaining why she hadn't married him, she says she was afraid marriage would be bad for him, then admits:
I wanted to do something for him. You see, I didn't care about the other thing and he could have had it all. He could have had anything he wanted if I would have known. I would have married him or anything. I know all about it now. But then he wanted to go to war and I didn't know.The two begin an affair, with Henry quite convinced that he "did not love Catherine Barkley nor had any idea of loving her. This was a game, like bridge, in which you said things instead of playing cards." Soon enough, however, the game turns serious for both of them and ultimately Henry ends up deserting to be with Catherine.
Hemingway was not known for either unbridled optimism or happy endings, and A Farewell to Arms, like his other novels (For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, and To Have and Have Not), offers neither. What it does provide is an unblinking portrayal of men and women behaving with grace under pressure, both physical and psychological, and somehow finding the courage to go on in the face of certain loss. --Alix Wilber
From Library Journal
These dual Hemingways are the latest volumes in the Scribner Paperback Fiction series (Classic Returns, February 15, p. 187). They offer quality trade size editions, featuring attractive covers and easily readable type size. Two of the greats.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Lieutenant Henry lives his daily life as an ambulance driver for the army. Disillusioned by the war, he meets an English nurse, Barkley, who mourns for her dead fiancé. They commence a game of seduction, each with their own reasons for playing it. Barkley, psychologically damaged from the death of her fiancé, struggles to push the history behind her while Henry tries to stay as far away from the war as possible. After a little while together, Barkley brings up the game they play by saying, "This is rotten game we play, isn't it" (31)? Henry retorts that he "treated seeing Catherine very lightly" (41).
Embodying the stereotype of the testosterone-fed male, Henry also looks for sex from Miss Barkley. He yearns for pleasure in a world filled with despair and death. As the novel progresses, his accounts of the war decline in quality and quantity. Accounts of the war decrease and become less detailed, showing that he continually bothers less with the war. Henry changes from a man living with the war to a man only interested in himself and anything directly related, including Catherine Barkley.
The relationship between the two lovers changes as time passes by as well.Read more ›
This novel isn't particularly fast paced, nor is it hard to follow. The purpose of Hemingway's simplistic dialogue is to show realism in love during times of war and optimism in love where there seems to be none. The couple delude themselves at times, believing only what they want to believe in order to cope with the anguish that war brings.
You have to read through the whole novel to truly appreciate Hemingway's masterpiece. The novel has a moving ending that still rivals its modern day counter-parts.
To those of you that like action, or melodramatic dialogue, steer clear of this book. But to those of you who are interested in reading realistic dialogue and love in dangerous times, do yourself a favor and read A Farewell to Arms.
A love story in the time of war, a soldier falls in love with a nurse and the adventure of the heart begins. The setting of the Italian front during the First World War is a interesting locale for this story. The story flows like the many mountain rivers Hemingway refers too. He is known for his pared down style but I found this story to be somewhat verbose. Being one of his early works it could be that he was still finding his style.
The protagonist presents some pessimist philosophy and the story brings it to fruit. A log burning in the fire with an army of ants trying to escape sure death is the metaphor for the story. Or is the burning log an allegory? It was probably a symbol or some sort of literary device that makes a point. I liked the story for its setting, but I found the dialogue of the romance a bit dry. That dryness made me wonder about the relationship. How passionate was it? Were these two repressing their feelings? Was there separation fear due to the war? Was the relationship a product of the war and bound to end like war? I can’t say: read it and find out for yourself.
But lurking under and alongside this story there is cruelty and sadness that Hemingway cannot seem to evade, and while he tries to make it a noble sacrifice at first, it later descends into tragedy. So far in my re-reading of Hemingway he has been excellent at turning a beautiful and passionate love into a hopeless tragedy. And at this distance, hopeless and pointless, although a five star hopeless and pointless. .
Most recent customer reviews
Good read. Hemingways style can get on your nerves sometimes though.Published 8 months ago by Keiron Cobban
A great novel that I was anxious to read again after a very long lapse. A necessary read after the WWI celebrations, This book underlines the awful waste and futility of that War.Published 17 months ago by Oldprof
I read this book as part of the english curriculum in Grade 11. Apparently this book as a classic. Why? The book is a piece of crap. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2007 by Holton
"Oh, do say I'm a good book, darling", she said.
"Yes, you are a wonderfully lovely book", he said
"I am a wonderful book aren't I? Read more
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