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Hemmingway's Connections Between War And Culture

2522 words - 10 pages

Hemingway's Connections Between War and Culture.Ernest Hemingway's works include a range of themes, of which a major topic is the fruitless and trivial nature of war, as related to individuals and society as a whole. In many of Hemingway's writings he depicts the effects of war on individuals through the use of damaged characters. Hemingway aimed to illustrate to his audience that war was not exactly what it was made out to be, according to the society of his time. He knew that war was not grand and was rather the opposite of heroic. He represented this through writings that depict the futile nature of war and the many goals associated with making progress in such conflict. Hemingway's works show that a society acclimated to a war-involved state-of-being produces a generation of people whose values are shallow, like the purposes of war. These people, characterized by Hemingway, are often forced to hide pain and emotional distraught because of the values created by their military and morally-conflicted society.War is often spoken of in a heroic and gallant context. Typically the unspecified troops of militaries in conflict are spoken of as if they possess the courage and willpower to conquer any challenge that they might come across. Hemingway understood that soldiers were expected to live up to such contexts and thusly expressed this through his character's lives. In A Farewell to Arms, Lieutenant Henry is injured while simply eating pasta and cheese. His injury was the result of military conflict, more specifically, an artillery strike, and that is enough for Rinaldi to claim Lt. Henry as a hero. Rinaldi further claims that Lt. Henry is deserving of various medals, despite Lt. Henry's own belief that he did nothing to deserve such awards. Rinaldi sees the simple connection to war and instantly believes Henry to possess some noble trait. In For Whom The Bell Tolls, Robert Jordan also dwells in this feeling of heroism. Jordan is not necessarily sure why, but he feels as though he is in someway an important influence in the war-effort. He becomes involved in the demolition of a bridge during the Spanish Civil War and claims his action to not only be a turning point of the war, but also in humanity: an extreme claim by all standards. Robert Jordan is shown to have thoughts that might be contradictory to his determination to achieve victory in the war, however he quickly dismisses these thoughts and recounts his desire for valor. Hemingway's soldiers posses lives that are much more mundane than are typically associated with men involved in war. His characters do not necessarily experience the heroism and courage that others around them, from outside of the conflict, describe.Hemingway's view that war is not what society has made it out to be is reinforced by the lack of dialogue, focusing on the negativity of war, between characters in his writings. In A Farewell to Arms, Catherine and Henry seem to discuss just about everything, that is, besides the...

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