The Response To War Essay

698 words - 3 pages

Under little scrutiny, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms seem to have common themes, but beyond the surface, the two books are radically different. The Great Gatsby is a tale about an ambitious man, Jay Gatsby, his old girlfriend Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom Buchanan. Gatsby, after returning from war, becomes a bootlegger during Prohibition in an attempt to win back Daisy who is ironically unhappily married to Tom Buchanan. In contrast, A Farewell to Arms has a much less glamorous plot which focuses on Frederick Henry. Henry faces many obstacles due to his involvement in World War I. As a result of his hardship, he desserts his role in the army and attempts to escape the country with Catherine, his pregnant girlfriend. Fitzgerald’s writing style is much more descriptive and creative as compared to Hemingway’s bland and terse nature. Even with the similarities between the themes of war and the reactions of the ...view middle of the document...

Trying to persuade Daisy to leave Tom, Gatsby goes to great lengths to prove his strength and stamina. On the other hand, Frederick Henry recounts the goriest and least inviting details of his war experience. He describes the disease, injury, self-harm to avoid service, as well as death as if they were a daily occurrence for the common man. The details he provides demonstrate Henry’s dislike of war and his place in it. Above all, Henry repeatedly insists that he has no place among the honored men he battles with saying “‘I was blown up while we were eating cheese’” proving his is not the hero he is made out to be (Hemingway 55). While Gatsby looks back on his service with admiration, Henry views it with much contempt.
Another difference between Fitzgerald and Hemingway’s novels is their inclusion of women and their relationships in reference to the men and war. In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby and Daisy begin to develop their lives around one another prior to him being deployed. The pair is “‘getting deeper in love every minute,’” which causes Gatsby to push to gain Daisy so they can build their relationship no matter his personal goals, as he explains, “‘What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?’” (Fitzgerald 150). The short lived time that the two spent together caused Gatsby to proclaim that they were on the verge of marriage, which changed drastically when he was sent to fight in the war. All of his hopes and dreams of building a life together with Daisy had to be put on hold while he fought. Believing that after returning home from his deployment he would be able to return to his previous life, Gatsby turns his focus from earning money, enticing Daisy, and gaining status in society to advancing his ranks in the army. Daisy on the other hand, moves on from Gatsby because she desires her “life shaped now” when he leaves because she is not immediately affected by the war (Fitzgerald 151). Nick describes Daisy saying, “Daisy was young and her artificial world was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery and orchestras…Through this twilight universe Daisy began to move again with the season; suddenly she was again keeping half a dozen dates a day with half a dozen men” (Fitzgerald 151).

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