A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway Essay
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The key to a good book is a great plot. The plot determines all the events in the story, from the first word, down to the last period. Ernest Hemingway is considered as a giant in the literary world. His book, A Farewell to Arms is a testament to his literary genius. A Farewell to Arms seems at first to be a love story. It is, but most importantly, the novel is a story about war, and the tragedy it brings. In his work, Freylag’s pyramid of narrative structure is clearly shown. Exposition The novel opens with a description of the place where the main character, Frederic Henry or simply called “Tenente” stayed. He is the narrator of the story.
Hemingway illustrates late summer giving details like falling leaves turning into dust. Troops marching and flashes of fighting in the mountains create an atmosphere of doom to the reader. Hemingway prepares the setting by making a contrast of peace in nature and the disturbance brought about by the soldiers; a smaller picture of the bigger chaos that nations are facing in war. The characters are also established early in the novel. The narrator is an American volunteer ambulance driver. In the early part of the novel, he is introduced by a friend to Catherine Barkley, who is the focal point of Henry’s love in the story.
Both are the main characters of the story. Others include, Rinaldi, the friend who introduced Henry and Catherine. A typical Italian male. The priest, Helen Ferguson, and other ambulance drivers also make up the characters that made World War I alive for the reader. Rising Action The novel is divided into five books. In the first book, Henry and Catherine are introduced and their relationship begins. The next few books follow the injury of Henry, and his growing relationship with Catherine while convalescing in a hospital in Milan, far from the action.
Catherine becomes pregnant and Henry was forced to go back to the front, leaving her. Upon coming back, a retreat was ordered, were all officers were killed but Henry was able to escape. He was marked as a deserter and having found Catherine, travelled by boat to Switzerland. Here, Henry and Catherine lived a quiet life until she goes into labor. All these events, consist of the bulk of the novel. Hemingway had set many problems for Henry and Catherine. He wanted to show that Henry as a hero, was always stoic in adversities.
Catherine’s burden started upon being pregnant but was not too much dwelled upon by Hemingway until the final book of the novel. Several conflicts were shown by Hemingway. The most apparent was Henry’s struggle with the tragedies of war. Henry’s friend was shot to death by Italians upon retreat; the killing spree of officers; Henry’s life as a deserter; the difficult escape to Switzerland by a rowboat . All these were the trials of Henry during the war, and what is ironic is that, he wasn’t in danger of the enemy, but of his comrades, of the soldiers that he had been fighting at the same side.
These conflicts build up, highlighting the biggest conflict, the Climax. Climax Upon Henry and Catherine’s successful escape to Switzerland, Catherine goes into labor. The labor is long and painful for Catherine. After a Cesarean operation, the baby is stillborn; and Catherine haemorrages and dies. The Climax is the culmination of events which create the peak of the conflict. The above-mentioned scene is considered as the climax because, after all the efforts of Henry and Catherine went through to be together, all has been wasted in Catherine’s death.
Falling Action After Catherine died, Henry was left alone with the doctor. He feels helpless and doesn’t want any gestures of comfort. The offers of the doctor to bring him to his hotel fell on deaf ears. After the peak of the climax, events that follow constitute the falling action. In his novel, Hemingway skillfully illustrates the unbearable grief and emptiness left upon the passing away of a loved one. The downward slide of Freylag’s pyramid accurately shows the feeling of the main character upon losing his love. Denoument
The conclusion as its name suggests brings an end to the story. In A Farewell to Arms, after Henry went out and left the hospital, he walked back to the hotel in the rain. It is a sad ending that leaves a heavy heart to the reader. The novel is concluded by the image of Henry walking in rain. Rain usually represents gloom and sadness. In his conclusion, Hemingway shows the main character, the hero, no longer stoic but very much in pain. Works Cited Hemingway, Henry. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1957. Print.