Monday, June 18, 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:

Well I am late with my post again this week.  Fridays in June are so busy for me.  Last Friday, June 15th, I flew home from College Park, Maryland where my students competed in the National History Day competition.  All of the girls from South High were awesome.  Tasha placed 3rd in the nation for her paper, Abby placed 7th in the nation for her paper and Becky, Frances and Grace (BFG) placed 11th in the nation for their group documentary.  It was an awesome experience and I still had time to read the required chapters of A Farewell to Arms.  Yahoo!

READ:  Chapter 11-20
Pages 68 -132

Question #1:  There is a lot of talk about being tired or the priest looking tired in this section.  What do you think Hemingway is trying to get at?
I think the war is taking its toll on the priest and wearing him out.  Hemingway is a writer who does not really provide the reader with an adequate idea of what is really going on so I think the priest fears the war will last for a long time and is not sure if he can sustain himself and others any longer.  The priest is probably one of the busiest people in Italy during the war as he must administer last rites, preside over funerals and give mass weekly as well as absolving people of their sins.  I think Hemingway is trying to say that war makes people see and do things they wouldn't normally do and the priest is not exempt from the frustrations of war.  

Question #2:  The relationship between Henry and Catherine is heating up.  At one point she talks about how there is no separate her and that she is Henry.  Please explain what you think she means.

To start out with, I still hate Catherine and I was really hoping she would grow on me a bit.  In my opinion, Hemingway has not really created a strong character in Catherine and he probably believed that women must give up who they are to conform to man's ideals and that idea infuriates me.   I believe Catherine is talking about the fact that she and Henry are married in their hearts and have become one.  She is no longer just Catherine but her soul is connected and intertwined with Henry's forevermore.  She has given up her identity and melded into Henry's so hence she is no longer separate.   

Question #3:  What are your impressions of Henry so far given his reaction to the war, being wounded, falling in love, and his relationships to others?

Henry seems to be the most memorable character and getting wounded has been the most interesting part of the book so far.  I am sort of anxious for him to get back to the front and ambulance driving.  I definitely think he believes he is in love with Clara as he has asked for her hand in marriage more than once.  I find their midnight escapades in the hospital romantic.   I can't really decide if this is a novel about World War 1 or a novel about a romance between a wounded soldier and a nurse.  

Question #4: What do you think of Hemingway’s writing style and the story itself so far? Are you enjoying it?

The story is actually starting to get interesting for me and Hemingway's writing style is being tolerated for now but I think I am starting to get used to it.  I actually read this week's pages in one sitting.  

Next week I will be reading chapter 21-20