Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Farewell To Arms Read-A-Long

A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway Read-A-Long

I am participating in A Farewell to Arms read-a-long in conjunction with the World War I Reading challenge I am doing with the blog, War Through the Generations, you can visit their website here:

I am a few days behind as this post was supposed to be written and posted on Friday but I was so overwhelmed with packing for my trip to the National History Day finals with my students that I ran out of time.  So yesterday we got up at 3am for a 6am flight out of Minnesota to Maryland.  We are staying in the dorms at the University of Maryland in College Park and I am finally getting a free moment to sit down and answer the weeks questions. Whoo, Hoo!  I have 5 students competing and it is all very exciting. 

READ Chapters 1-10
Pages 1-67

Question #1:  So far, how do you feel about Hemingway’s writing style? Are you enjoying it?

The writing style is OK.  I don't love it and I really don't hate it either.  I have had to look up a few words because I didn't understand the context.  I am wondering why Hemingway didn't use good grammar and why he doesn't describe scenes or people very well.  I am sincerely hoping that the farther I delve into A Farewell to Arms that I will get used to his writing style.  So far I have learned a few things from the book.  I learned about the French scandal surrounding Archbishop Ireland, who hails from my home state, Minnesota! We have a street named after him here in St. Paul because he was our first Archbishop.  I have just realized that war stopped during the winter in some locations during World War I and then started back up again in March.  It makes sense since it was cold and difficult to travel in snow on foot as soldiers did back then.  I bet if I were to go and check on the major offenses of the war they probably happened in the Spring after the long period of waiting for winter to subside.  What do you think?

Rinaldi and Henry seem to have a brotherly relationship.  Do you think that this friendship will survive throughout the novel or will something come between them?  Speculate.

I think it is too early in the novel to predict what will happen in their brotherly relationship.  It is war after all, so I am going to take a guess that something will come between them, maybe even death.  Rinaldi is quite eccentric and his behavior a little bizarre for a doctor.  I really love it when he speaks Italian though.  He likes to drink a lot and visit the brothel so I hope he doesn't get an STD.  Henry seems to enjoy the banter and conversations with Rinaldi and now that he is injured and he can't visit Clara for now, may need Rinaldi to intercede on his behalf.  Henry is definitely calm and quiet as opposed to Rinaldi's loud and boisterous character.  They are polar opposites and I am sure only friends due to circumstance.

What kind of relationship do Lieutenant Henry and Nurse Catherine Barkley seem to have? Are they in love or is it something else?

Clara is weird and I don't really like her right now (I just needed to get that off my chest).  When Henry tries to kiss her, she slaps him and then changes her mind and kisses him (weird). Then the next day she wants to know how much he loves her (weirder).  I don't think Hemingway has captured the qualities and speech of a woman just yet for Clara's character clearly is lacking. 

I think they Henry and Clara really want to be in love and have someone to hold onto but I don't think they are in love just yet.    The war has thrown them together and they depend on each other for affection and belonging.  I think Clara longs for her dead fiance and I am not sure what Henry is longing for other than a relationship with a woman who will sleep with him.  I do believe they will fall in love and then be tragically ripped apart.

 Next week I will be reading chapters 11-20 in a Farewell to Arms and hopefully posting on Friday.  I am actually flying home from Maryland on Friday.