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A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway - Essay Example

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Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms begins with a narrator who narrates about his life-experience in the mountain; the narrator speaks of “we,” which implies that he is living with someone - probably his wife.The setting is in the village house in the late summer season…
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A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
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Of Hemingway’s Plot in A Farewell to Arms First Last of Of Hemingway’s Plot in A Farewell to Arms Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms begins with a narrator who narrates about his life-experience in the mountain; the narrator speaks of “we,” which implies that he is living with someone -- probably his wife. The setting is in the village house in the late summer season. The narrator exposes to his audience, which include me, about the background and foreground of the story. Here, he seems to be poetical; thus, prophesying the coming future. The narrator clearly describes the physical characteristics of his home environment. For instance, he describes the village that “looked across the river and the plain to the mountains” (Hemingway 9). What appears to be prophetic in his narration is the description of troops marching, which causes “dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling.” As a reader, I could visibly imagine the rising dust and the falling leaves in the summer season. Evidently, the narrator makes an exposition or introduction about the setting of, and even the characters in, the story. In the first two chapters of Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, I could notice a dramatic shift of the novel’s setting. The first speaks of a “peaceful” life and the second points to war-torn existence. I say peaceful because the narrator, together with his wife, are living a life away from the war; indeed, war comes to them despite their attempt to flee away from it, nonetheless, the protagonists try to live a kind of life wherein both are happy and satisfied in each other’s arms. Now, this is the rising action of the story. Two lovers who desire to establish their own world (i.e., family), yet they are caught in the middle of crumbling civilizations through acts of war. As a reader, it becomes exciting for me; it drives me to think of what will happen to these lovers considering the presence of hatred and war in the world of men. To my mind, the climax of the story is when Catherine Barkley is about to give birth to a baby. The setting is in the hospital; she is attended by several doctors and nurses. Hemingway’s depiction of this episode is deeply frightful, at least in my part. Every breath that Catherine makes is very scary. The oxygen that she breathes from the mechanical devise is the only thing that keeps her alive. The pain that she feels, the thought of dying, all these images make the greatest tension of the story. In fact, I could not stop from reading this part of the novel. I felt that I have to finished it in order to know the ending of narrative: will Catherine and the baby die? It would be tragic if they do, I thought. Sadly, Catherine and the baby eventually die in the process of labor. No matter what he does, the narrator -- who is Catherine’s husband named Frederic Henry (Bloom 28) -- could not stop the falling (i.e., death) of his family. His dream of building his own world has crumbled, just like what the war causes to man’s civilization. Frederic talks to his dead wife like talking to a statue. He knows that his beloved is dead; still, he speaks to her as if she could hear him -- but to no avail. This is the falling action of the story. Frederic expresses his good-by to his dead wife. After a long period of battling death or its acceptance, Frederic finally gives in to the seemingly inevitability of death. The narrator utters a solemn farewell to the arms of his beloved Catherine. In doing so, he appears to accept, although with a heavy heart, such tragic event. Perhaps as a sign of moving on, Frederic walks away from the hospital towards the hotel. Frederic leaves the body of his wife in the hospital, while he moves on towards a life of solitude. This is the resolution of the novel. The main protagonist recognizes his defeat pertaining to his private war against the world of men -- the world of conflict, the dying, and death. As a reader, I do not know if I will like Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Honestly, I like the theme of the novel: love amidst war and conflict. I admire the passion and will of Frederic and Catherine to live and love away from the death and rancor of the war-torn world. However, the ending seems to be far from admirable -- especially the struggle, dying, and death of poor Catherine. With regard to Hemingway’s plot, though, he seems to be thorough in it -- particularly Frederic’s narration, which “allows the reader to build appropriate inferences” (Phelan 53). In this sense, I like the novel. Works Cited Bloom, Harold. Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms: Bloom’s Guides. New York: Chelsea House, 2009. Print. Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner, 1997. Print. Phelan, James. “Distance, Voice, and Temporal Perspective in Frederic Henry’s Narration: Successes, Problems, and Paradox.” New Essays on A Farewell to Arms. Ed. Scott Donaldson. New York: Cambridge UP, 1990. 53-74. Print. Outline: Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms I. Exposition: A. The characters in the story (e.g., the narrator). B. The time setting. C. The place setting. II. Rising action: A. Shift of setting. B. Lovers amidst the war-torn world. III. Climax: A. Catherine Barkley’s giving birth. B. To die or not to die. IV. Falling action: A. Catherine and the baby die. V. Denouenment/resolution A. Frederick expresses farewell. B. Walks away from the hospital in the rain. Read More
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