One of the best novels of Ernest Hemingway is A Farewell to Arms. Hemingway takes much of his life story line to his novel. A Farewell to Arms is the typical classic story that can refer to Romeo and his Juliet placed against the odds. In this novel, Romeo is Frederick Henry and Juliet is Catherine Barkley. Their love affair must survive the barrier of World War I. The background of war-torn Italy adds to the tragedy of the love story. The story starts when Frederick Henry is serving in the Italian Army. He meets his love in the hospital after he gets injured from the mortar attack. A Farewell to Arms is one of the best American novels because of the symbolism, the exciting plot and the characteristic of the main character, Lieutenant Henry.
The symbolism in A Farewell to Arms is very much apparent. For example, In the book, Twentieth Century Interpretations of A Farewell to Arms, Malcolm Cowley focuses on the symbolism of rain. He sees rain a frequent occurrence in the book, as symbolizing disaster (Malcolm, 54-55). He points out that, at the beginning of A Farewell to Arms, Henry talks about how "things went very badly" and how this is connected to "At the start of the winter came permanent rain". In the book, Miss Barkley afraid of the rain because she has a nightmare and she sees death in the rain. She says, "Sometimes I see me dead in it", which she is referring to the rain as a death. It is raining the entire night when Miss Barkley is giving childbirth and when both she and her baby die (Malcolm 54-55).
Most of the reader fined out that A Farewell to Arms is fun and excited to read. Hemingway makes the language very easy to understand and it is suitable for all ages. Agnes W. Smith, the editor of Mr. Hemingway Does It Again says, "A Farewell to Arms...is Hemingway's greatest works…it is glowing modern love story, a story of emotion that is so true it is like an intense personal experience"(Stephens 78). Walter R. Brooks the editor of Behind the Blurbs also says "…warmth, of actuality of closeness that only your own personal experiences have for you. It was so real to us that we felt, as we do ordinarily in our own life" (Stephens 81). Hemingway popularity does not stop in the United States, but explodes across over sea to the European country such as Germany. Many of the critics such as Klaus Mann, Max Dietrich, and Hans Falada give him a big welcome support (Kvam 92).
A Farewell to Arms is the first Hemingway novel to be reissue after World War II (Kvam 92), and the majority of German critics believe that A Farewell to Arms is the best novel up to date (Kvam 93). According to Papajewski,
According to Papajewski, "The book was generally acclaimed by readers of all ages"; the aspects of the novel which constituted to its wide spread success… were not only its political implication, but also its captivating love story and the powerful tragic ending…the blurb on the Seinberg-Verlag's edition in 1948 proclaimed that over 100,000 copies in the German language had already been sold (Kvam 92-93)
Thomas Mann, a well known critics mention A Farewell to Arms as, "It is one of the most beautiful, carefully restrained modern love stories…[It is] a genuine, manly book, a masterpiece"(Kvam 92).
In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway introduces Lieutenant Henry as an American Soldier in the Italian Army during the World War I. Henry works as a paramedic and he is the only few of the American in the Italian armed force. Lieutenant Henry has an interesting characteristic because although, he is in the war, but his attitude refused to be involved. For example, "…he drinks with the officers and talks with priest, and visit the officer's brothel, but all he keeps deliberately on a superficial level. He has rejected the world." (Johnson 135) Henry truly isolates himself from the war and he does not think he desires to be parts of the war. However, Henry is not a Barbarian at all, during the war, Henry had study the architecture in the Italy when the war begin. "Henry make an Ironical remarks about sculptures and bronze; his reflections and conversation contain allusion to Samuel Jackson, Saint Paul, Andrew Marvel, and Sir Thomas Wyatt" (Johnson 135). Lieutenant Henry knows that he is the war and he fully understands how crazy the war is and how life and death can be take away in any second, but instead of being paranoid, he isolates himself from the war. This avoidance of real relationships and involvement do not show an insensitive person, but rather someone who is protecting himself from getting involved and hurt. It is clear that in all of Hemingway's books and from his own life that he sees the world as his enemy. Johnson says, "He will solve the problem of dealing with the world by taking refuge in individualism and isolated personal relationships and sensations" (Johnson 134-136). Henry drinks, smoke, party, travel and fall in love; Henry has an interesting characteristic because the way he behaves himself during the war.
A Farewell to Arms is one of the best novels of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway takes much of his life story line to his novel. A Farewell to Arms is the typical classic story that can refer to Romeo and his Juliet placed against the odds. Frederick Henry is an American who serves as a lieutenant in the Italian army to a group of ambulance drivers. The story starts when Frederick Henry is serving in the Italian Army. He meets his love in the hospital after he injured from the mortar attack. A Farewell to Arms is one of the best American novels because of the characteristic of the main character, Lieutenant Henry, the symbolism, the exciting plot.
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