Art and War


Effects of war on Hemingway

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‘A farewell to arms’ is a piece of art by Hemingway focusing on a story a young Fredrick Henry a young American volunteer driver working with the Italian army during the World War one.  Upon volunteering for service with Italian army, Henry, meets an English nurse through his friends and falls in love with her, the English nurse in question is referred to as Catherine Barkley according to the book, a farewell to arms. Along the war versus love story, Henry desserts the English nurse while returning to the Italian front, however, as the fate of the war would prevail, Henry would desert the war and return for Catherine.  After finding Catherine, the two lovers would flee the war zone and escape into Switzerland. While in Switzerland, Henry and Catherine lived in peace and harmony till the horrific end of Catherine’s pregnancy and later the tragic death of Catherine. The novel, a farewell to arms has over the years been perceived a story is glorifying the war, however, the story’s farewell is seen in the departure of Catherine, a woman whose very hands held the sanity of the violent world of the First World War. Fredrick farewell to Catherine as she departs to the underworld gives meaning to the title of the novel. Ideally, the outcomes of the war had various consequences on Hemingway. This paper focuses on particular characters from the novels to discuss the effects of the world war on Hemingway.

Disillusionment was one of the primary effects of the world war on Ernest Hemingway. Typically, Hemingway upon volunteering went to war with courage and devotion bearing in his mind, victory upon his dedication. According to the novel, a farewell to arms, the main character Henry, approached the war with evident positivity and was utterly devoted to serving the army. Moreover, he was a volunteer thus he willingly agreed to serve the Italian army.  Henry approached his military duties as an ambulance driver with a lot of courage in the battle. All the expectation of Henry reflected heroism in his mind. Henry’s positivity drove his endeavors in the battlefield to the outcomes of the battle. However, this idealism ion henrys spirit was severely shuttered by the spoils of this war and turned into adverse disillusionment. Hemingway asserts that the dehumanizing effects of the war changed all the respect and admiration he had for the battlefield in utmost disappointment and disenchantment. Essentially, Henry according to the title we could deduce that Henry was biding the warfare a goodbye to find other varied pleasure of life. The world war disillusioned all the beliefs he had about the battlefield as a courageous soldier.

During the war, Hemingway is portrayed as a rather emotionally unhinged and severely maimed physically. The consequences of the war and the chaos, unbelievably by conveniently prompts Fredric Henry alongside his lover to escape the war and flee for safety and peace in the Switzerland. A brief insight on purpose, objectives and the code of ethics of the work of Fredric Henry and even his lover Catherine Barkley, one would realize that the war completely disillusioned the two characters. The abandonment of duty best elaborates the extent of disillusionment by Fredric Henry and fleeing from Italy. Additionally, the decision made by the engineer to abandon the likes of Henry is also a result of the same effect, disillusionment. The effects of the war on the character Henry, reflect on the effect of war of Hemingway, upon his return, a wounded and emotionally derailed soldier.

Logically, had there been no war, the greatest writers in his century Hemingway would not have existed. Similarly, without the violence of the world war one, the love life between Hemmingway and the Red Cross nurse would not have existed. Notably, the love life of the nurse and Hemingway formed the basis of the novel a farewell to arms. This .is because the two met as a consequence of the war and in the line of duty. The story of Catherine and Henry is a true reflection of Hemingway’s love life during the time he met the Red Cross nurse.

At the beginning of the novel, something tragic happens to Catherine Barkley. The war takes the life of Catherine Barkley’s fiancée, even though it is so unfortunate for her, this instance gives the basis to our second effect of the war. Catherine Barkley’s pain and sorrows caused by the war after losing her fiancée leads her to fall in love with Henry. The spoils of the war unite this two thus leads to the theme of love in the novel. Apparently, Hemingway devoted a very large percentage of his life during the aftermath of the war talking about love in his works; this is a vivid indication that the effects of the war in Catherine and Henry’s life are a true reflection of the love life of Hemingway as a result of the world war. The results of the war fuel the need for love in Catherine’s life prompting the lovers to have an intimate relationship. The harshness of the battle forced Catherine into Henry’s arms.

Ideally, without further violence and advancements of the war, Catherine’s fiancée would not have died, and Henry would not have met Catherine. .the love story .between the two from the point they met to the point Catherine tells Henry she loves him, were undoubtedly the effects of the war. Henry, on the other hand, joined the war at a time when love was not even in his mind. His meeting with Miss Barkley was like a game to him. Amazingly, war brings so much emptiness in is life, so much pain, and sorrow to him that he immediately responds to Catherine’s “I love you” positively confessing how much he loves her in return. World War brought the immediate need of love affection and care in Hemingway’s life. Similarly, when Henry is injured, the time he spends with Catherine Barkley allowing them to get fond of one another thus falling deeper in love. The effects of love brought Barkley and Henry together because Henry worked in an ambulance and Barkley worked as a nurse; the more intense the war got, the closer and more exciting the love story got. This is a true depiction of the love life of Hemingway and the Red Cross nurse due to the effects of the world war.

The novel also provides vivid descriptions of the war led to senseless brutality and violence and apocalyptic chaos. A farewell to arms primarily concerns itself with the process through which Hemingway alienates himself from the war and flee from it. According to the soldiers and those who participated o the war, it was rotten. In the novel, it is evident that the unfolding of the war has completely overtaken the conscience of the characters, neither of the characters seems to feel that the extent of brutality and violence is not wrong. Bonello takes the pistol from Henry and unnecessarily shoots the engineer on the head.

Typically the pain and agony Bonello has been subjected to through this war has changed them into extremists. The overly violent behavior displayed by Bonello for instance in killing the sergeant was an effect of the chaotic and the meaningless brutality of the war. The harshness of the war would further prompt Bonello to abandon all his friends to become a prisoner instead of risking his life. Regardless of the fact that Bonello joined the war on dedication to serving the army, similarly to Hemingway, the effects of the war led to Bonello’s exit of the war and opting to become a prisoner instead of death. The war was so brutal that even the ambulance drivers were killed. The senseless brutality of the war led to both, physical and emotional pain in the lives of both Bonello, Henry, and Hemingway leading to their exit from the war. Ideally, when Henry is severely injured, he is taken to Milan to recover. Essentially the brutality of the war led to Henry.

Conclusively, the world war led to an array of changes in the life of Hemingway. Most of the changes that occurred in Hemingway’s life since the time he entered the war to the time Hemingway left the battlefield were mainly impacts of the extremely violent war. The impacts of the war on Hemingway’s life as depicted by the characters in the novel a farewell to arms can be categorized into two groups. The impacts were mainly physical and emotional. The most significant effects of the war on Hemingway are violence, love, and disillusionment.