“A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway Essay

Hemingway and the Struggle of Masculinity in WarMen in A Farewell to Arms and For Whom The Bell TollsThe name of Ernest Hemingway has long been associated with the thought of a strong. obstinate adult male who is really socially awkward. In both A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. we are introduced to an highly cold. hardhearted character and we see how they evolve from one type of adult male into another. Frederic Henry and Robert Jordan are both Americans functioning overseas in some struggle. Henry being in World War I and Jordan in the Spanish Civil War between the fascists and Communists. and they originally see these struggles as a manner for them to turn out their manhood. They shortly realize that war is non meant for all people and that it should non be glorified. They either die for their new thoughts or merely vanish from our universe into a kingdom of void. This passage needs to be analysed more closely in order for us to understand it better.

In A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. we see how the chief character is. in the beginning. a cold and sometimes insensitive individual who loves the thought of war. In Arms. we see how Henry is a composure. ciphering adult male who tries to populate up to the Western feeling of how a adult male should move. In American history. work forces have tried to reassociate themselves with a deeper significance of manhood as a manner to turn out to themselves that they are moving like a adult male should: “A wide spectrum of American work forces shortly came to see war as the lone manner to bring around a hopelessly drooping national masculinity” ( Donnell para 35 ) . In the beginning. Henry the assurance of a adult male who is able to last anything by himself and non demo any emotion about it.

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War itself is a glorious game to him that is a trial of manhood. a manner for him to turn out himself to the universe and still be able to walk off from it: “Well. I knew I would non be killed. Not in this war. It did non hold anything to make with me. It seemed no more unsafe to me than war in the movies” ( Arms Detzler 237 ) . Henry is a adult male who thinks that he is unable to be harmed and attempts to populate a life that is morally right while fighting through a helter-skelter universe. The Austrian mountains around Henry are full of enticement ( ie bawdry houses ) and yet he ne’er visits them. Besides. he is surrounded by changeless bombardments of shellfire and wounded. since he is an ambulance driver. and ne’er shows any emotion towards these work forces. To him. they are merely chess pieces and he is the ambulance that comes to take away the wounded from this great game.

In Tolls. the chief character is an American instructor. Robert Jordan. who is contending in the Spanish Civil War. He is merely in the mountains because he sees war as a canonized game for work forces merely. When he is confronted with a undertaking. such as blowing up a span to decelerate down enemy troop motions. he does non believe about it and merely focusses on what he needs to make: “He would non believe about that. That was non his concern. That was Golz’s concern. He had merely one thing to make and that was what he should believe about and he must believe clearly and take everything as it came along. and non worry. To worry was every bit bad as to be afraid. It merely made things more difficult” ( Tolls 8 ) . He distances himself from the work forces he may hold to kill and dehumanize his actions. leting him to win at his occupation without demoing any emotion or failing.

Jordan sees war as a man’s occupation and that adult females have no topographic point in it. When he foremost meets Maria. he tries to conceal his feelings for her. He says that she should non be in the mountains with the guerrillas and attempts to conceal how he feels an attractive force to her when he looks at her. Jordan sees his emotions as a failing and buries them deep down indoors of himself. merely to hold them lift up subsequently on in the novel. In decision. both Henry and Jordan begin as composure. cool. ciphering work forces fighting to turn out to the universe who they are. These work forces live by a rigorous codification of honor. gallantry. honestness. and bravery. leting their psyche to last many tough times. They originally see a war as a manner to turn out themselves but this shortly alterations.

Detzler 3Towards the center of both Arms and Tolls. we see how both Jordan and Henry become baffled and disoriented by the events around them. They are faced with tough picks and are forced to reassess their beliefs. In Arms. Henry is wounded during the Italian retreat and is sent back to a infirmary for recovery. There. he sees his weakness as a mark of his failing and feels that he should non hold been hurt. After recovery. he returns to the forepart but becomes trapped with few other work forces from his conflict group. After the work forces refused to assist him in their battle to do it back. Henry shoots them at point space scope in an attempt to promote the work forces to work harder. After this. Henry himself is about executed after being mistaken for an Austrian.

His near-death experience during his flight caused him to reevaluate his beliefs because he is get downing to see that work forces are non meant to seek and butcher each other. He flees the ground forces and gives in to his desires to see Catherine. a mark that he is traveling back on his belief that a adult male should ne’er demo any emotion. Henry travels to Switzerland with Catherine and attempts to populate out a normal life at that place. but now he is a baffled adult male fighting with internal devils about his actions: “The war seemed as far off as the football games of some one else’s college. But I knew from the documents that they were still contending in the mountains. . . . ” ( Arms 277 ) . Henry still remembers the work forces that he left behind at the lines and still wants to be with them. contending against a common enemy and united through bravery. courage. and the desire to remain alive.

In Tolls. Jordan struggles with his thoughts of bravery and courage as he is faced with assorted state of affairss taking up to the devastation of the span. At different times. he is tested by other work forces. such as when he is forced to kill an enemy soldier who is really merely a male child. This action causes Jordan to rethink how war should be fought: should it be a cruel. unmerciful conflict between soldiers and civilians. or should the immature and guiltless be spared. even if it is a mark of failing. Besides. when El Sordo and his work forces are trapped by the Fascist Army. they are left entirely Detzler 4to fend for themselves. as to non expose the revolutionists true Numberss. Jordan wishes to travel and assist them because they are his companions. but if he is to that. so he would be killed because of what some would name bravery and what others would name stupidity.

He is faced with either decease or populating a life of shame. El Sordo himself thinks the same as Jordan. desiring to decease a glorious decease since he knows that he should desire to run off from the Fascists: “Dying was nil and he had no image of it nor fright of it in his head. . . . Populating was a hawk in the sky. Livng was an earthen jar of H2O in the dust of the threshing with the grain flailed out and the husk blowing. ” ( Tolls 313 ) . El Sordo does non fear decease because he accepts that it is an inevitable portion of life. Both Henry and Jordan begin to hold 2nd ideas of their long held beliefs that work forces should be cold. merciless soldiers and get down to inquire if their new thoughts about desiring to be afraid are the 1s they should listen to steer their lives.

At the terminal of the novels. both Henry and Jordan face decease. either straight or indirectly caused by war. and seek to get by with it. In Arms. Henry is faced with the decease of his married woman and kid in Switzerland. During child birth. Catherine develops complications and demands to be to a great extent medicated to blunt the hurting. Their kid is still-born and Catherine shortly after dies from monolithic blood loss. The loss of Henry’s married woman forces him to believe about how he has lived his life. He begins to inquire if it was deserving it hiting those work forces for declining to assist him. He inquiries if he should hold even joined the ground forces in the first topographic point. Henry even begins to believe that possibly the war is non some game and that even the inexperienced person can be affected by it. He merely withdraw back into his ain ideas because he can non confront the universe any longer.

Henry shows such egos control that it can non be healthy. He is seeking to non demo any failing. an thought that he has ever held to be true. even though he does non desire to laud war any longer: “Such illustrious-control is a seeable look of the self-discipline. cognition. accomplishment. and poise a adult male must Detzler 5achieve-as good as the honestness. bravery. continuity. and stoic endurance he must possess in order to face the vicissitudes of his life and the inevitableness of. . . decease on his ain footings and with honour” ( Miles para 9 ) . Henry develops a strong declaration towards decease and does non experience any longer that war. a huge decease machine. should be promoted since it can ache even the most guiltless people in the universe. such as unborn kids. He so proceed to disappear from this universe and become like a walking living dead. unable to travel on with his life but unafraid of anything any longer that might endanger him since he has already lost what is most cherished to him.

In Arms. Jordan is faced with decease at the terminal of the novel in many different ways. His friend Anselmo is killed during the span destruction while seeking to protect Jordan. Anselmo himself did non like decease but was willing to confront God if it meant the completion of Jordan’s undertaking. Jordan himself is soberly injured while seeking to fly from the Fascists and resolves to take out every bit many as he can before he dies. Jordan does non demo any failing towards his friends. even though he is terrified and wants to run. Jordan alterations from seeing decease as something far off as something that affects everyone. It is a opportunity for Jordan to deliver his past life and seek to come to clasps with how he sees decease and war. He realizes that he has lived his life incorrect and that the war that he is contending in is non the 1 he thought he would be contending for.

Jordan originally thought that he was contending to salvage the Spanish people from the Fascists but he finally realized he was non contending to salvage the people but instead to replace one corrupt leader for another. He so comes to accept that he will decease shortly and delaies for his clip on Earth to stop. trusting to take an enemy with him when he goes: Death is merely bad when it takes a long clip and injuries so much that it humilates you. . . . [ T ] here is something you can make yet. Equally long as you know what it is you have to make it. Equally long as you remember what it is you have to wait for that. Come on. Let them come. Let them come. Detzler 6Let them come! . . . And if if you wait and hold them up even a small piece or merely acquire the officer that may do all the difference” ( Tolls 468-470 ) .

To Jordan. decease is an inevitable portion of life and now he is dedicated to taking person down with him. His portion in war is over everlastingly but he does non desire to merely melt off. He understands that war is glorious but if the following adult male is an enemy. that adult male is marked for decease. Therefore. both Henry and Jordan come to understand decease better and to cognize that war is non a glorious event. War is merely a large political game with the little people taking most of the autumn.

In decision. we see how both Henry and Jordan have alterations brought approximately to their perceptual experiences of war. They originally join their cause merely because it is something that all work forces were making at that point in life. War was someplace that male childs could travel and go work forces. War was some far off land where work forces would run towards each other twice. agitate custodies and go friends once more. Henry and Jordan shortly see that war is nil like this. with guiltless people being killed merely because they are in the incorrect topographic point at the incorrect clip. Both work forces evolve from their original egos and alter their thoughts about life and decease. Henry and Jordan lose a portion of themselves during their conflicts. going better work forces in the terminal. They may be entirely in the universe but they are better work forces than they originally were: “ [ T ] he individual is on his ain. like a Pilgrim walking into the unknown with neither shelter or counsel. thrown upon his ain resources. his strength. and his opinion.

Hemingway’s manner is the manner of understatement since his hero is a hero of action. which is the human conditon” ( Hallengren para 17 ) These work forces. even though sometimes shallow. exhibit many qualities that both genders should populate up to: honestness. bravery courage. morality. intelligence. fondness. pride and sometimes mawkishness. These are the qualities that allow the two chief characters to see through the “fog of war” and come to the basic decision: war is non meant for all people to be involved in and it should non Detzler 7be put up on a pedestal but instead looked upon with a logical head. Even though peace is a exalted end. it is really improbable for humanity to win in accomplishing universe peace. Until that twenty-four hours. war will be an mundane facet to our lives and we need to step back and take another expression at it. We need to halt sing war as a large game and see it as a large political game. one that is non meant to assist the small people. merely like Henry and Jordan learned.

Plants Cited

Donnel. Sean M. . Hemingway’s Short Fiction and the Crisis of Middle Class Masculinity. [ Online ] Available hypertext transfer protocol: //www. elcamino. edu/Faculty/sdonnell/hemingway’s_ maleness. htm. May 12. 2006.

Hallengren. Anders. A Case of Identity: Ernest Hemingway. [ Online ] Available hypertext transfer protocol: //nobelprize. org/literature/articles/hallengren/index. hypertext markup language. April 21. 2006.

Hemingway. Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons Publishing Company. 1957.

– – – – . For Whom the Bell Tolls. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons Publishing Company. 1968.

Miles. Melvin C. . An Introductory Overview to Hemingway. [ Online ] Available hypertext transfer protocol: //www. elcamino. edu/Faculty/sdonnell/hemingway. htm. May 10. 2006.



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