kimblast (kimblast) wrote in papa_hemingway,
kimblast
kimblast
papa_hemingway

A Farewell to Arms

We have already finished this book and this particular assignment (we're starting the Great Gatsby next week), but I was just wondering about this worksheet that my teacher passed out. Basically we had to paraphrase important passages from A Farewell to Arms and explain its significance in relation of the themes in the novel (love, death, war, fighting, hopelessness). This is for my AP Language and Composition class by the way. I put them under the cut so you don't have to read it if you don't want to. ( : Any help is very welcomed. 

*If this type of post is not allowed then I understand if it is deleted.  I thought this could bring about some discussion regarding Hemingway's writing style.



I had some trouble with analyzing some of the passages. Those are indicated by an asterick (*). If you feel like adding to any of my summaries and explanations, please feel free to do so. I'm just looking for comments on some of the passages I had difficulty with and I do enjoy discussion... If for some reason you need to e-mail me something, feel free to email anything to yeotrip [at] gmail.com

Basically, I'm looking for input.
The page numbers go with the Scribner's 1986 edition of the book.
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1.
"I did not say anything. I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it." (p. 185)

Said by: Frederick Henry
Summary: Words like sacred, glorious, and expressions like "in vain" are simply abstractions. They cannot accurately describe the horrors of war. There was nothing glorious about the war.
Explanation: This passage describes Henry's response to Gino who commented that what they had accomplished so far in the war must not be in vain. Henry saw nothing glamorous about the war and felt that abstractions could not describe war accurately. He likens the many sacrifices to slaughtering at the stockyards, "if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it." War was not a beautiful thing, war was not something to glorify and Henry believed that because Gino was a patriot , it explained why Gino believed in the abstractions of words like sacred, glorious, and sacrifice. The passage relates to Henry's view of war, that to describe war accurately one can only use facts, numbers, things that were tangible; it would be pointless to try and glorify war with abstractions which patriots believed in and fought for.
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2.
"No. We never get anything. We are born with all we have and we never learn." (p. 171)

Said by: Rinaldi
Summary: We are born with what we have and we don't gain anything new as we grow older.

Explanation: Henry has returned to the front and meets up with Rinaldi. It seems that things are going bad for the Italians and Rinaldi is no longer working. It seems he has also contracted syphilis. Rinaldi has grown into a very bitter man and now sees only the hopelessness in life. Everything that he knows and owns, he was meant to know and own. Life doesn't offer anything "new" along the way. Henry is not able to see this yet as he has kept himself distracted by plunging into his romantic affair with Catherine. Rinaldi, however, has had to remain on the front and witness the atrocities of war. He has had no distractions, but he does try to distract himself with sex and drinking, both which do not satisfy him. Rinaldi has failed in disorienting himself and because of that he is able to see the hopelessness of life.
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3.
"We understand you let us talk. Listen. There is nothing as bad as war. We in the auto-ambulance cannot even realize at all how bad it is. When people realize how bad it is, they cannot do anything about it because they go crazy." (p. 50)

Said by: Passini
Summary: War is a great atrocity, one that most people cannot even fathom and when they do it could destroy them.
Explanation: Passini describes the great horrors of war. The people who work in the auto-ambulance do not see just how bad the war actually is. When Passini says that "they cannot do anything about it," he evokes a sense of hopelessness associated not just with life, but with the war. Fighting is hopeless, which is an idea often explored by Hemingway in the novel. "Victory does not lead to the end of war" is an idea that is expressed several times in the novel. I believe that it is more subtle in this short quotation, but it is still there. The realities of war are much more grim than one can imagine.
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**4. 
"War is not won by victory." (p. 50)

Said by: Passini
Summary: War doesn't end when one side defeats the other.
Explanation: Passini believes that in order for a war to end, one side must completely give up and stop fighting. It's a significant quotation that relates to the hopelessness in fighting in a war. There is no end when there is victory because you must continue to be victorious. In the end, one side must give up completely if fighting is to stop.
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**5.
"I had gone to no such place but to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring." (p. 13)

Said by: Frederick Henry
Summary: The excitement of not knowing what to expect leads one to resume living a somewhat dangerous lifestyle.
Explanation: This passage was part of Henry's explanation for not going to Abruzzi, the priest's hometown. Apparently he drinks "much wine" after which he explained to the priest, "winefully," why he did not visit Abruzzi. Part of it was because Henry enjoyed living an unpredictable lifestyle because it excited him. He liked living on the edge and not having to care about things. This makes sense because he was on leave and he most likely wanted to distract himself from the war. Henry indulges in the night when things are unexpected and he is unable to care.
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**6.
"I tried to tell about the night and the difference between the night and the day and how the night was better unless the day was very clean and cold and I could not tell it; as I cannot tell it now. But if you have had it you know." (p. 13)

Said by: Frederick Henry
Summary: Night and day have different attractions...
Explanation: I typed up my train of thoughts for this one but then Mozilla decided to close its window on me. I always had trouble attempting to figure out what was it exactly that the pronoun “it” was referring to. Also, what was the difference between the night and day? Henry says he did not go to Abruzzi and that may have been because Abruzzi wouldn’t have been able to provide him with the dangerous life style he enjoyed. That might’ve been the difference between the night and day—the danger the night provided that the day did not. But if so, then that is a bit confusing because he says the day would be like the night if “the day was very clean and cold and I could not tell it.” Reading this also led me to think about spectatorial attitude. How exactly does that apply to this quotation? Well at night it seems that it is easier for Henry to have fun and live life unpredictably without thinking about the consequences, as if he is just a spectator of a grand show; in the morning however, he has to face the consequences and actually realize that he was actually involved in whatever he did. The end of the quotation also brings about a sense of hopelessness, that is if the audience knows what he is talking about then they know what “it” refers to, if they don’t, then simply put they never will. Life never offers anything new, like when Rinaldi says that you are born with all you have, you are born complete.
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7.
"What's the use of not being wounded if they scare you to death?" (p. 182)

Said by:
Gino
Summary:
War doesn’t always leave physical scars, it can leave deep emotional scars.
Explanation:
Gino is the patriot that Henry contrasts himself with. When Gino says this particular sentence I believe it speaks volumes about war. Gino, a soldier who fights for the glory, the sacred, the sacrifices of war, even admits that war is so horrendous that even if you escape unscathed physically, you might be better off dead with all the atrocious memories impressed upon you.
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**8.
"They were beaten to start with. They were beaten when they took them from their farms and put them in the army. That is why the peasant has wisdom, because he is defeated from the start. Put him in power and see how wise he is." (p. 179)

Said by:
Frederick Henry
Summary:
The peasant is kind because he is humble from defeat.
Explanation:
Henry and the priest are discussing when the war will end and how it could happen. Henry believes that something will indeed happen, but it will only happen to the Italians because they are humble by defeat from the very beginning of their lives. Victors are not humble so they continue to fight because they are proud of their accomplishments and cannot stop themselves from wanting more. This reflects the belief that victory does not mean a war’s end. There again is the idea that fighting in hopeless because if one side wins the fighting still continues.
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**9.
"It is in defeat that we become Christian." (p. 178)

Said by:
Frederick Henry
Summary:
When we lose we understand better, we are able to empathize.
Explanation:
This was said by Henry during a discussion about when the war would stop. When Henry says Christian he was referring the Lord’s understanding. I believe he also meant that after one experiences failure, one becomes humble. This could be applied to many themes in the novel, including love, war and fighting. In love two people are able to better empathize with each other as well as have a better relationship if they have already learned about loss and failures in relationships. In war, when one side understands defeat they might be able to see the costs and impacts of war more clearly.  
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**10.
"You were out of it now. You had no more obligation... Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation... I was through." (p. 232)

Said by:
Frederick Henry
Summary:
Henry tried to cut his connections with the war. He no longer wanted to be associated with it.
Explanation:
What can be said about this short passage? Henry had seemingly severed his ties with the war, but he was not angry about it, he held no grudges.
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**11.
"I did not want to read about the war. I was going to forget the war. I had made a separate peace." (p. 243)

Said by:
Frederick Henry
Summary:
Henry had made his farewell to arms, to the war, or so it seems.  
Explanation:
Henry had already cut his ties from the war. That is what he believes. It seems however that he was more involved that he cared to admit. If he truly had no connections to the war what harm would it have done to read about it? It seems that the war did leave emotional scars on Henry and it causes him to feel guilty and that is why he does not want to have to confront anything related to the war.
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**12.
"The war was a long way away. Maybe there wasn't any war. There was no war here. Then I realized it was over for me. But I did not have the feeling that it was really over." (p. 245)

Said by:
Frederick Henry
Summary:
The war might’ve been far away physically from Henry, but he was still connected to it emotionally.
Explanation:
*copy from #11: Henry had already cut his ties from the war. That is what he believes. It seems however that he was more involved that he cared to admit. It seems that the war did leave emotional scars on Henry. He finally admits that he did not feel like it [his connections to the war] were really gone.
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13.
"If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." (p. 249)

Said by:
Frederick Henry
Summary:
The world is a very dark place and people will always succumb to its oppressive grips, no matter how kind or how brave one may be.  
Explanation:
Even after being united with Catherine, Henry seems to begin to understand that his relationship with her is still simply a distraction from the dark reality of the world. Even love will not last forever and love itself cannot prevent the despairing grips of reality from taking hold onto a person’s life.
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**14.
"That was what you did. You died. You did not know what it was about. You never had time to learn. They threw you in and told you the rules and the first time they caught you off base they killed you. Or they killed you gratuitously like Aymo. Or gave you the syphilis like Rinaldi. But they killed you in the end. You could count on that. Stay around and they would kill you." (p. 327)

Said by:
Frederick Henry
Summary:
Life always ends, it’s a fact. No matter how you died, in the end all deaths are the same.
Explanation:
This passage is Henry’s calm response to Catherine’s death. It is also a farewell to his infant son and to his friends and the soldiers and war itself. With Catherine’s death it seems that Henry finally understands that death is inevitable. That was the way it was. He parallels his son’s death with the death of his friends, the future deaths of his other friends, soldiers, and the readers. He admits that sometimes death is unjustified, but it is hopeless to try and fight it. It is also interesting to see how the passage begins with general death and ends with a murderous tone, “they would kill you.” The pronouns are not specific (at least I don’t believe they are) but when Henry includes Aymo and Rinaldi I got the sense that he was talking about the war and how involvement in the war would mean death, war was hopeless.
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*When I first started reading Hemingway, I did not appreciate his style, his "iceberg theory." But when I finished the book, A Farewell to Arms, it just kind of struck me how effective his theory was and just how well he applied it. I think that taking time to analyze certain passages helped me to become more aware of the iceberg theory. I just bought The Sun Also Rises and I'll be reading that and analyzing it on my own. (:

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