A Farewell to Arms Free Essay Example

Ernest Miller Hemingway‘s Farewell to Arms Review

 

A Farewell to Arms is the novel that uncovers the experience of the main character, who falls in love during the wartime and passes through horrors and hardships of the war. At the same time, the novel is based on real events that took place in Italy during World War I, among which the Battle of Caporetto was one of the most significant and tragic events. The main character of the novel witnesses the devastating aftermath of the battle and attempts to restore the order and manage the retreat of Italian soldiers. This experience is extremely stressful and devastating for the main character but, at the same time, it uncovers the full extent to which the war was terrible and destructive, while the main character has changed his worldview and his perception of life.

The Battle of Caporetto was one of the major defeats in the history of Italy and the main character witnesses the effect of the defeat on the morale of Italian soldiers. The battle resulted in the breakthrough of Austro-Hungarian army and German armies and the panic and retreat of Italian troops incapable to confront the enemy and hold their positions. The defeat became the turning point in the war as well as in the life of the main character. The defeat meant that Italy has lost the initiative and Austria-Hungary was on offensive. Backed up by Germany, Austria-Hungary was quite successful and Italy was on the brink of losing the war after the defeat at Caporetto. The defeat also revealed the poor management of Italian army and inability of the commandment to organize the effective defense. Soldiers mistrusted their commanders and cases of insubordination were quite frequent, as the main character of the novel has learned.

The main character confronts the severe insubordination and has to kill the sergeant that was probably panic-stricken and refused to obey to his commands. This is one of marks of the morale degradation of Italian army and the disorganization of Italian soldiers. They are incapable to withdraw and obey commands anymore as they turned into mere brutes stricken by panic and running away, abandoning their positions, and looking for mere opportunities for survival. At the same time, the main character, who returns just to witness outcomes of the defeat, is stricken by the scope of the defeat. A would-be solid defense line turns into scattered points of resistance. Soldiers think of ways to escape rather than about defense or fulfilling orders of the commandment.

The main character feels great disappointment and experiences the complete change of his worldview under the impact of the defeat. He witnesses many soldiers retreating without any order, while many brave men, whom he knew in person, have died during the offensive. The defeat makes him reconsider what is bravery and what is cowardice. He uncovers the extent to which the battle experience was terrifying for all soldiers: “The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one’…. (The man who first said that) was probably a coward…. He knew a great deal about cowards but nothing about the brave. The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he’s intelligent. He simply doesn’t mention them” (Hemingway 144). In such a way, the main character of the novel reveals that there is not a single person, who can afford horrors of the war, The battle of Caporetto revealed that people, whatever brave they are, cannot afford the war and its horrors. They cannot just ignore that traumatic experience. Whether they are brave or coward, they cannot help from being horrified by the war because they are human and it is natural for any human to be frightened by the death of their friends and by the risk of death they face during the battle. In such a way, the main character learns that the war is terrible and intrinsically wrong and has devastating, negative impact on people, regardless of whether they are brave, coward, or whatever.

At the same time, the main character learns that people grow accustomed to the war and its horrors and they grow stronger in those respects, which they have suffered a traumatic experience: “The world breaks everyone 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” (Hemingway 145). People suffer from more and more traumatic experiences during the war and, if they survive, they grow accustomed to that experience. People, who cannot adapt to horrors of the war, are doomed to die because they cannot survive in the extremely hostile world, where the very essence of humanity is disregarded and where humans kill humans. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the main character rather tends to believe that the best people die during the war because they are too good and they cannot afford horrors of the war and its horrors and its dehumanizing nature.

Thus, the Battle of Caporetto marks the turning point in the war in Italian front but also leads to the considerable transformation of the main character of the book. The battle reveals how senseless and devastating the war is and how difficult it is to remain humane during the war, while people, including the main character, have to degrade and grow accustomed to horrors of the war, have to get dehumanized to survive the war.

Works Cited:

Hemingway, Earnest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Penguin Classics, 2015.

Appendix:

Detail about historical event #1: defeat of Italians in the battle of Caporetto (Ch 28)

Detail about historical event #2: Numerous casualtiesc (Ch 27)

Detail about historical event #3: Retreat of Italians was disorganized (Ch 29)

Detail about historical event #4: The defeat was the hard blow to morale of Italian soldiers (Ch. 29)

How did the historical event shape characters’ and their actions: The main character shoots the sergeant who insubordinates (Ch 29)

How did the historical event shape characters’ and their feelings and emotions: Henry feels frustrated and disenchanted and thinks of his beloved rather than war (Ch 28)

How did the historical event shape characters’ and their relationships with others: Henry gets closer to Catherine (Ch 28)

How did the historical event shape characters’ perception of life, liberty, etc.: Henry frustrated with war, changes his worldview, realized the worthlessness of human life in war (Ch 29).

 

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]
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