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The Subjects Of Love And War Shine Through Hemingway’s Writing Style

2221 words - 9 pages

In the novel, A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway creates a moving and intense portrayal of love between Catherine Barkley and Frederic Henry, which is set mainly on the Italian Front during World War I. The novel was originally published in 1929, after Hemingway himself served as an ambulance driver for the Italian Red Cross. Due to this experience, Hemingway is able to show great detail and description when writing about the scenes of war on the Italian Front. Additionally, he draws on his experiences with a nurse and similarities can be seen in the events in his novel and in the events in his life leading up to the writing of A Farewell to Arms. While a select few of the initial reactions claim that this particular novel is a disgusting, salacious, and a violent account, the majority of reviews written shortly after the novel was originally published commend Hemmingway for his detailed picture of the war, the intensity of the love story, and the craftsmanship and talent of his writing style. This leads most to claim that A Farewell to Arms is one of Ernest Hemingway’s most successful and masterful works.
An article published in 1913 titled, “Chronicle and Comment” from The Bookman highlights some of the negative criticism that Ernest Hemingway received. In this article, criticism is given towards Hemingway’s work based on support of another review titled, “What is Dirt?” by Robert Herrick. Here, the authors feel that Hemingway’s work is merely a picture of contemporary life rather than a contribution to literature. When looking at the love story between Catherine and Frederick, the article cheapens the love story by claiming that it is “the story of a Scotch nurse made irresponsible by heartbreak and an American soldier apparently irresponsible by nature going on an irresponsible honeymoon and getting away with it.” (Chronicle and Comment 643) Additionally, the article criticizes Hemingway’s writing style. Known for his short, simple sentences, Hemingway is criticized here as the authors of this article claim that his writing has deteriorated so much so that it is the “worst of any widely acclaimed writer.” (Chronicle and Comment 647). While mainly critical of Hemingway, the article does have a few positive words about Hemingway’s work. It does appreciate Hemingway’s portrayal of the retreat from Caporetto, the encampment scenes, and the presentation of minor characters. The article then goes on to classify Hemingway in five various ways, declaring some roles to be stronger than others. For his strengths, they believe him to be a great storyteller and a brilliant reporter of “adventurous callings and out-of-the-way characters.” (Chronicle and Comment 644) In their opinion, Hemingway is mediocre in his role as a reporter of the post-war period, and as a recorder of grand passions and they conclude that he is a poor artistic writer. Overall, this particular review believes that Hemingway possesses only a few strengths...

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