A Farewell to Arms Critique
The overall tone of the book is much different than that of
The Sun Also Rises. The characters in the book are propelled
by outside forces, in this case WWI, where the characters in
SAR seemed to have no direction. Frederick's actions are
determined by his position until he deserts the army.
Floating down the river with barely a hold on a piece of
wood his life, he abandons everything except Catherine and
lets the river take him to a new life that becomes
increasing difficult to understand.
The escape to Switzerland seemed too perfect for a book that
set a tone of ugliness in the world that was only dotted
with pure love like Henry's and Cat's and I knew the story
couldn't end with bliss in the slopes of Montreux. In a
world where the abstracts of glory, honor, and sacrifice
meant little to Frederick, his physical association with
Catherine was the only thing he had and it was taken away
from him long before she died.
The love that Frederick and Catherine had for each other was
more than could be explained in words and Frederick makes it
known that words are not really effective at describing the
flesh and blood details. Their love during an ugly war was
not to be recreated or modeled even as much as through a
baby conceived by their love. The baby could not be born
alive because their love was beautiful yet doomed so that
nothing could come out of it.
Hemingway's language is effective in leaving much to the
readers interpretation and allowing a different image to
form in each readers mind. The simple sentences and
incomplete descriptions frees your imagination and inspires
each person to develop their own bitter love story.
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