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World War One. The first great tragedy of humanity. That is of course excluding love and life. Combine all three and you find one of the most masterfully written novels about life, love, and war that could only be written by Ernest Hemingway. Born July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, Hemingway started his literary career when he was hired as a reporter for the Kansas City Star. During the war he joined the volunteer American Red Cross as a ambulance driver in 1918. After being seriously wounded in the line of duty he was decorated with two Italian medals and joined the Italian infantry. His experiences with journalism and war create a excellent symbiosis to exploit the writers rule, only write about what you know, which makes Farewell to Arms a remarkable novel.
Personal experiences alone don’t always make a good story however. Ernest Hemingway’s ability to achieve a roller coaster of emotions from chapter to chapter is remarkable. The basic feeling of hope and despair take turns throughout the novel but the idea that life is a futile attempt at salvation is stressed at all times. The emotional seesaw that Hemingway puts the reader through is an invigorating experience but even more stimulating since he can maintain the overtones of depression.
Hemingway’s ability to pull so many tragedies together to stress the themes of depression, despair, a futility in humanity also make this novel very impressive. Just the setting of a love affair during wartime implies a dark reckoning upon the two lovers. Everything about the book drives the idea of fate and futility even when the idea and promise of hope is thrown in.
Although the author drive his point home, we have to look at the psychological effects of it on the readers. Now, I have no solid evidence, but I suspect that this book may have driven some to their death. BANG! Right in the head. Realistically, the effects of this book on a persons emotional well- being isn’t exactly positive. The idea of ,“you can’t do anything about it, life is nothing but a four letter word';, should have a tremendous effect on a person if they can connect with the message.
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Therefore, reading this novel may not be the best thing to do for an emotionally unstable person. Or any person for that matter.
Thumbs up on the novel for it’s message, thumbs down for the effects of the message. All in all however, Ernest Hemingway definitely has a way with words.