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A Farewell to Arms

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«A Farewell to Arms»

Ernest Hemingway

The excerpt under analysis is elicited from the novel “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway. Numerous masterpieces of literature by Ernest Hemingway conquered the world by their bright and absorbing plots and contributed greatly to the literature of the 20th century. As he said: “My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way”. The core of his works is life as it is in all its diversity. Ernest Hemingway’s manner of writing is characterized by the simplicity of narration, brevity of language and lucidity.

Hemingway’s development as a writer was deeply influenced by his experience at war. “A Farewell to Arms” is widely considered to be one of the most realistic novels dealing with World War I. This novel is a beautiful love story of two people who need each other in a period of upheaval. Frederick Henry is an American who serves as a lieutenant in the Italian army to a group of ambulance drivers. Hemingway portrays Frederick as a lost man searching for order and value in his life.

The extract from the novel can be subdivided into two logical and coherent parts. The first one is a peaceful description of the morning, or the exposition. The reader can feel the calm atmosphere created by the author with the help of such words as sunlight, gardens, trees and lake. The second part of the extract is revealed through a dialogue between the two main characters, Frederick and Catherine. The conversation starts as a usual dialogue between two people in love, discussing simple things. But then the tension grows and the conversation doesn’t seem to be so pleasant, for Frederic at least. Catherine is presented as a caring woman in love. Her numerous questions, repeated usage of the word “darling” and the phrase “We’ll go wherever you say” show the reader that is ready to sacrifice for the sake of her lover’s wellbeing, no matter what it might cost. But the general atmosphere of the excerpt is oppressive, because the main character, Frederic, doesn’t seem to be as encouraged as Catherine. The choice of words with negative meanings, such as arrest, danger, criminal, shoot, presents the gloomy mood of the character and the effect of dramatic tension. At first Frederick is inspired by the idea of war, but having the first-hand experience and seeing all the horrors and chaos of the war, he deserts from the army for the reason that he doesn’t see any sense in it and doesn’t want to hear about it, refusing even to read a newspaper and answering Catherine’s numerous questions. At the same time he understands that there is no any chance for a radiant future with Catherine for him, because he is on the run, and the constant fear of being caught and killed and all the horrors and injustice of war broke something inside him and made him weak.  One more thing worth mentioning is the changing of the weather during the conversation. The author manages to create the atmosphere of rising tension by describing the calm and nice weather in the beginning and saying “It was clouding over outside and the lake was darkening” closer to the end. This shows the reader that the situation, in which the characters are involved, is really difficult.

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