Love And War Essay

1848 words - 8 pages

Ernest Hemingway was a man who was intrigued by the complexity that love and war brought to intimate relationships. Not only was Hemingway intrigued by love and war, he once also lived it. During WWI Hemingway served as a Red Cross ambulance driver; after being seriously wounded he spent six months at the Red Cross hospital in Milan where he fell in love for the first time. Falling in love with the nurse also resulted in Hemingway’s first heartbreak. Hemingway was a “damned good looking man”, which allowed him to have plenty of relationships with women. Having been married four times to four different women also gives light as to why the relationships he writes about always fail in his ...view middle of the document...

As he lay there beside John he constantly heard “silk worms eating very clearly in the night”(279), and the silk worms are also a symbol for mortality and corruption. If Nick had any access to a light he was not afraid to sleep because he knew his soul would only go out of him if it were dark. John engaged in conversation with Nick about his wife and kids back in Chicago.
John and Nick’s conversation escalates to the subject of marriage. John advises that Nick’s “Ought to get married” “Then [he] wouldn’t have to worry”(281). Nick’s responses show his indifference to love and marriage, while John urged Nick to marry an Italian woman with money because they made good wives, Nick only continued to deny John’s solutions to his insomnia. All John truly offered to Nick was a new thing to think about as he laid in the dark with his eyes open, and he thought about all the girls he had ever known and “what kind of wives they would make”(281). Soon enough the girls all became a blur to Nick and rather the same so he “gave up thinking about them all together”(282).
Nick’s traumatic war experience has left him incapable of sleeping at night and disconnected to the idea of love and marriage. The thought of women only results in a simple blur, but the thoughts of silk worms and ashes display the fear of mortality that lies within his vigilant thoughts at night. We could also assume that the image of marriage is not only daunted by Nick’s war experience but also by the negative image his parents have placed on it.
A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway associates love and war between an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and an English nurse. Lieutenant Fredric Henry is in love with the war and everything that it stands for. In the beginning of the novel we meet a Henry that admits to being a slow learner “ I did not know and what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget. But I did not know that then, although I learned it later”(14), as the story progresses we see how Henry struggles to see through the war “and at times looses his mind during the process so he tries “not to think and to be perfectly calm”(329). After meeting Catherine we see a Henry that is mature and has different outlooks on war than he did before.
Throughout the novel the relationship between Catherine and Henry changes from a childish encounter to an unbreakable romance. During their first encounter Henry and Catherine are evidently on two different maturity levels. Catherine has lost her fiancé of eight years during the battle of the Somme, and didn’t marry him because “it would be bad for him”. Catherine sees some of her fiancé in Henry, and at times becomes delusional talking to Henry in ways she’d talk to her fiancé “oh darling” “you will be good to me, won’t you”(27). Henry initially treated Catherine as any other girl that he had encountered, he “thought she was probably a little crazy. It was all right if she was. [He] did not care what [He] was getting into”(30)...

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