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S. Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms: Historical Realism and Historical Symbolism - Essay Example

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The novel, A Farewell to Arms, was written by Ernest Hemingway and was the novel that placed him in the position of an important modern American writer. The novel is based upon his own experiences serving in Italy during World War I. The novel captures the human experience through both the explorations of war and of tragic love. …
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S. Hemingways A Farewell to Arms: Historical Realism and Historical Symbolism
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S. Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms: Historical Realism and Historical Symbolism

Download file to see previous pages... First published in 1929, the novel has been seen as an example of the finest American writing produced in the 20th century. Though based upon personal experiences, both through the war and through a heartbreaking love affair, the specifics of the novel are reflective rather than autobiographical. The novel is an excellent example of how a literary work can reflect emotions and contexts of events without having to rely on truthfully replicating events in order to examine the nature of human life and the effects of interpersonal relationships within the framework of an historical event. In an examination of love, sex, and violence, Hemingway develops a discourse on the nature of human experience and the volatility of emotions through reflective themes within his novel A Farewell to Arms.
Love with Sex
A variety of themes are explored within the work of Hemmingway and can be seen repeating between his short stories and his novels. Rama defines the theme of love-and-sex which is always in conflict with war. Rama writes, “Love is found in the gigantic, ruthless arms of war”, suggesting that the nature of love is always associated with the threat of violence (33). He more poetically writes of the work of Hemming way in A Farewell to Arms that “The narrative pattern superimposed upon this theme is like the golden net, in which Hephaestus traps Aphrodite and Ares together, from which they cannot escape (Ramos 33). Hemingway puts love and war together in an inseparable narrative in which the two concepts become divined by each other. The ravages of war is compared to the ravages of love as loss is its eventuality. Ramos continues on his discussion of love and sex in regard to Hemingway and his writing as having four subthemes that relate to the primary theme of love with sex. The four themes are as follows: sex with love, sex without love, the homosexual and the rich, and love with sex. In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway focuses on love with sex. In other words, the love is the primary emotional context of the relationship, with the sex being a bi-product of that love. In the theme of sex with love, sex is the focus rather than the connectivity between the characters. One of the relevant themes in the short stories that were written by Hemingway was in the irony that was involved in the emotional bubble of love. Within the novel, Heming way is exploring his own love and the innocence that it held before he was jaded or learned about the bitterness of reality. For Hemingway, this reflected a deep love he had held for a woman who did not, in the end, return that love to him. He reflected the innocence with which he approached love, through his youth and inexperience with such deep emotions, towards an end that would give his characters the same tragic bitterness. According to Donaldson, “On the biographical level, Frederic’s narrative can be construed as Hemingway’s displaced version of his love for Agnes von Kurowsky, the American nurse with whom he fell in love in the Milan hospital ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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