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Title: A Farewell to Arms

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Publisher: Charles Scribner’s Sons

Publication date: 1929

Publication date of mine: 1957

Genre: Drama, Romance.

Nr of pages: 332 

Why did you choose this book?

When I read the back of this book, I thought: ‘Wow! A dramatic love story taking place in World War 1. That sounds interesting!’ You see, I really love romantic stories. That’s why I chose this book.

Explain the title.

 The book spends a lot of time describing the disasters of World War I. The title can be seen as a plea to the world to say "farewell" to wars and the weapons used to fight them. And since Frederic leaves his job as an ambulance driver for the Italian army during the retreat, and then leaves with Catherine to Switzerland to avoid being arrested for desertion, the title can refer to Frederic’s "farewell" to the weapons he used in the war when he decides to end his involvement with it.

Setting: Where does the story take place?

A big part of the story takes place in the hospital in Milan, where Henry recovers from his injuries. The last chapter is set in Switzerland where Henry has fled after his desertion from the army. This novel is a war novel based on Hemingway’s personal experiences on the Italian-Austrian front during the First World War and about his experiences in a war hospital in Milan, where he recovered from severe injuries. The final chapters are set in Switzerland where Henry has fled after his desertion from the army.

Time.

The story takes place in the past. I know this because it’s a story taking place in World War 1. That obviously explains that it’s in the past.

What is the main theme?

The main theme is focused on the character of Frederic Henry and on his reactions to various, difficult situations. In the beginning of the novel he falls in love, and even though there are many dangers, the war does not succeed in separating him from the woman he loves. 

From which perspective is the story being told?   

The story is told from the point of view of the main character in the first person. He tells the story without much emotion, not even when he is badly wounded or when the woman he loves dies.

Summary.

The novel opens with World War I raging all over Europe. A young American student, studying architecture in Italy, offers his services to the Italian army. In Gorizia, he is wounded in the knee and is sent to recuperate in a hospital in Milan. He falls in love with an English nurse, Catherine Barkley, lives with her, and she becomes pregnant. He returns to the front in Gorizia and is caught in the Italian retreat. In order to save his life, he deserts his post and goes away to a hospital in Milan to take Catherine and go some place where they can start a new life.They go to Switzerland but cannot live happily, something horrible is about to happen. Their baby is stillborn and Catherine dies.

Main Characters.

Frederic:

He is an ambulance driver and a volunteer in the Italian army. He is a very heartless person and shows no emotions. At first he plays a game with Catherine, but after a while he finds out that he is in love with her. He can’t handle his emotions.

Catherine:

She is a hard working nurse in the hospital where Henry is recovering from his wounds. She loves Henry and is willing to do everything for him. She’s a boring person. Catherine changes Frederic  into a nice person, but in the end when Catherine dies he is just the same heartless person.

My opinion.

In my opinion it was a very sad book. At first I really liked the book because I love reading love stories. But then at the ending I kind of changed my opinion because I really dislike it when a great story has a tragic ending.

Extra assignment: Pick a song that suits the book. Explain why.

                  Evanescence – Even In Death

Give me your reason to believe that you're gone

I see your shadow so I know they're all wrong

Moonlight on the soft brown earth

It leads me to where you lay

They took you away from me but now I'm taking you home

I will stay forever here with you

My love

The softly spoken words you gave me

Even in death our love goes on

Some say I'm crazy for my love, Oh my love

But no bonds can hold me from your side, Oh my love

They don't know you can't leave me

They don't hear you singing to me

I will stay forever here with you

My love

The softly spoken words you gave me

Even in death our love goes on

And I can't love you, anymore than I do

And I can't love you, anymore than I do

I will stay forever here with you

My love

The softly spoken words you gave me

Even in death our love goes on

And I can't love you, anymore than I do

I'll die but real love is forever. 

I picked this song, because Catherine dies at the ending of the book when she gives birth to her stillborn child.  Catherine and Henry loved each other so much. That’s why I chose this song.

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