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A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms

by Giuseppe TovarNovember 18, 2013


Catalogued by many critics as one of the most representative novels of the twentieth century, A Farewell to Arms marks the cusp of the literary work by someone who was possibly the most important American writer: the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and the Nobel Prize the following year, Ernest Hemingway. Famous both for his work as for his disorderly life private, which didn’t lack colossal passions, political ideals and finally suicide, Hemingway put out in this book his entire philosophy of life, all the suffering and the disappointment, the torrential  passion that characterizes him and his thoughts on war. Henry, the protagonist of the novel, is stationed in Italy during the First World War.

A Farewell to Arms is above all a great war novel but it is not only that, it is also a great novel of love; it is also a novel that is impossible to forget. It is plain and simple to read just like The Old Man and the Sea, but also deep and meaningful, A Farewell to Arms is a testimony of the senselessness of existence, of the unease that frameworks the beginnings of the post-modern era and of the weakness of human beings, subjected to the circumstances of their destinies. It is a novel about war that describes the decline of the human condition at war; it is a cluster of defeats within the horrific and continuing aftermath: the rain, the anger, the soldiers who surgically amputate parts of their own body to avoid going in to battle, the progressive decline of Rinaldi, one of the main characters, who appears at the beginning, diligent and full of life. Hemingway presents, as a hopeful paradox, the love of Lieutenant Henry and Catherine.

Their love and despair is constant and it binds them strongly to the end. After the defeat of Caporetto, Henry, totally disillusioned, is resolved to follow his own objectives. The farewell to arms was put into effect without request or permission. Lieutenant Henry deserts, and his desertion will represent something prophetic in relation to the future movements of the author. In effect, that time will coincide with a withdrawal of Hemingway from the public, which lasted until 1935.


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About The Author
Giuseppe Tovar
  • Erik
    November 18, 2013 at 5:18 am

    For Hemingway war was always a kind of opportunity in which a knight gains his vitality. He shows us in his second novel the filled trenches of the European theater between 1914 and 1918. A year prior to the cessation of hostilities, Fredrerick Henry, a young American who enlists as a volunteer for combat for the Italian army during the Great War against the central empires, is responsible for driving an ambulance, when he falls in love with an English nurse Catherine Barkley. Subsequently, Henry is wounded and transferred to a hospital in Milan, the lovers discover their passion. Henry is involved in the disaster at Caporetto, a battle that took place at the end of the year 1917 and where the Italian troops were caught in the combined attack of the Prussian and Austro-Hungarian armies, and suffered 50,000 casualties. After deserting from the war with the female protagonist Catherine pregnant, they flee to neutral Switzerland. When Henry begins to see a dawn for a new beginning, away from war, the child that Catherine gives birth is born dead and she dies in a short time after due to excessive hemorrhaging at delivery.

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