"A Farewell To Arms" By Earnest Hemmingway

1751 words - 8 pages

A Farewell to ArmsI had mixed feelings while reading Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. Initially, I disliked the book intensely, but I continued to read, and eventually I began to appreciate the style he used to write the book. Toward the end of the book I was certain Hemingway was some kind of genius. Finally, I finished the book and, though I disliked the last chapter intensely, I liked A Farewell to Arms very much as a whole.A Farewell to Arms is broken into five sections. In the first, we meet most of the main characters. The first is the narrator, an American officer in the Italian army who drives ambulances. His full name is mentioned once throughout the entire book, and that is ...view middle of the document...

He was not expected to come, because the hospital was not yet entirely completed, but they took him in and eventually healed his wounds. The nurse he loves is transferred to this hospital and their affair continues, with the nurse becoming pregnant. Eventually, however, the narrator's recovery is complete, and he goes back to the front.Included within this section are several humorous jabs at bureaucracy and medical doctors, such as in Chapter 15:I have noticed that doctors who fail in the practice of medicine have a tendency to seek one another's company and aid in consultation. A doctor who cannot take out your appendix properly will recommend you to a doctor who will be unable to remove your tonsils with success. These were three such doctors.The doctors in question decided to wait six months for the wound to heal before performing surgery. Another doctor, coming in later, looked at the injury and chose to operate the nest morning with complete success.The third section details the narrator's return to his previous command at the front where things have become very bad. Indeed, the latter half of the section is devoted to describing the army's general retreat. During the retreat, all of the narrator's ambulances are abandoned, as they are all stuck in the mud. Then the group with the narrator finds itself behind enemy lines, and one of the people is shot and killed. Later, when they finally join back up with the rest of the retreating army, and encounter occurs between the narrator and a group of soldiers whose job it is to discover and eliminate German agitators within the retreating line. The narrator is picked out to be questioned, and explains his situation thusly:I was obviously a German in Italian uniform. I saw how their minds worked; if they had minds and if they worked. They were all young men and they were saving their country.Shortly after this, he fled by jumping into a river and swimming away. The section ends as he steals a ride on a train into Milan and plans to meet Catherine Barkley there.In section four, the narrator is in Milan. He sneaks around the city, purchasing new clothing and reuniting himself with his lover. He stays in a hotel for a few days until a man tells him that he will soon be arrested and offers a boat for the couple to escape to Switzerland. They do so, and by the end of the section they have been approved by the police and are checking into a hotel in Switzerland.There was one statement in this section that caught me completely off guard. Throughout the entire book, every questionable word has been edited out with dash marks. I was very accustomed to a pure, wholesome book (besides the references to "bawdy houses" or should we call them "whore houses" for Dr. Ross's sake). Then I come upon this passage:"Othello with his occupation gone," she teased."Othello was a nigger," I said.I suppose at the time the book takes place, and even when it was written, the "n" word was still commonplace and even...

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