A Farewell to Arms

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Overview

The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway's frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto -- of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized -- ...

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Overview

The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway's frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto -- of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized -- is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was 30 years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ernest Hemingway did more to change the style of English prose than any other writer of his time. Publication of The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms immediately established Hemingway as one of the greatest literary lights of the twentieth century. His classic novella The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. He died in 1961.

Biography

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), born in Oak Park, Illinois, started his career as a writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. Before the United States entered the First World War, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in the Italian army. Serving at the front, he was wounded, was decorated by the Italian Government, and spent considerable time in hospitals. After his return to the United States, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers and was soon sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution.

During the twenties, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also Rises (1926). Equally successful was A Farewell to Arms (1929), the study of an American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Among his later works, the most outstanding is the short novel, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), the story of an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat.

Hemingway -- himself a great sportsman -- liked to portray soldiers, hunters, bullfighters - tough, at times primitive people whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal ways of modern society, and who in this confrontation lose hope and faith. His straightforward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories, some of which are collected in Men Without Women (1927) and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Hemingway died in Idaho in 1961.

© The Nobel Foundation 1954.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ernest Miller Hemingway (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 21, 1899
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oak Park, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      July 2, 1961
    2. Place of Death:
      Ketchum, Idaho

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.

The plain was rich with crops; there were many orchards of fruit trees and beyond the plain the mountains were brown and bare. There was fighting in the mountains and at night we could see the flashes from the artillery. In the dark it was like summer lightning, but the nights were cool and there was not the feeling of a storm coming.

Sometimes in the dark we heard the troops marching under the window and guns going past pulled by motor-tractors. There was much traffic at night and many mules on the roads with boxes of ammunition on each side of their pack-saddles and gray motor trucks that carried men, and other trucks with loads covered with canvas that moved slower in the traffic. There were big guns too that passed in the day drawn by tractors, the long barrels of the guns covered with green branches and green leafy branches and vines laid over the tractors. To the north we could look across a valley and see a forest of chestnut trees and behind it another mountain on this side of the river. There was fighting for that mountain too, but it was not successful, and in the fall when the rains came the leaves all fell from the chestnut trees and the branches were bare and the trunks black with rain. The vineyards were thin and bare-branched too and all the country wet and brown and dead with the autumn. There were mists over the river and clouds on the mountain and the trucks splashed mud on the road and the troops were muddy and wet in their capes; their rifles were wet and under their capes the two leather cartridge-boxes on the front of the belts, gray leather boxes heavy with the packs of clips of thin, long 6.5 mm. cartridges, bulged forward under the capes so that the men, passing on the road, marched as though they were six months gone with child.

There were small gray motor cars that passed going very fast; usually there was an officer on the seat with the driver and more officers in the back seat. They splashed more mud than the camions even and if one of the officers in the back was very small and sitting between two generals, he himself so small that you could not see his face but only the top of his cap and his narrow back, and if the car went especially fast it was probably the King. He lived in Udine and came out in this way nearly every day to see how things were going, and things went very badly.

At the start of the winter came the permanent rain and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army.

Copyright © 1929 by Charles Scribner's Sons

Copyright renewed 1957 © by Ernest Hemmingway

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First Chapter

Chapter One

In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.

The plain was rich with crops; there were many orchards of fruit trees and beyond the plain the mountains were brown and bare. There was fighting in the mountains and at night we could see the flashes from the artillery. In the dark it was like summer lightning, but the nights were cool and there was not the feeling of a storm coming.

Sometimes in the dark we heard the troops marching under the window and guns going past pulled by motor-tractors. There was much traffic at night and many mules on the roads with boxes of ammunition on each side of their pack-saddles and gray motor trucks that carried men, and other trucks with loads covered with canvas that moved slower in the traffic. There were big guns too that passed in the day drawn by tractors, the long barrels of the guns covered with green branches and green leafy branches and vines laid over the tractors. To the north we could look across a valley and see a forest of chestnut trees and behind it another mountain on this side of the river. There was fighting for that mountain too, but it was not successful, and in the fall when the rains came the leaves all fell from the chestnut trees and the branches were bare and the trunks black with rain. The vineyards were thin and bare-branched too and all the country wet and brown and dead with the autumn. There were mists over the river and clouds on the mountain and the trucks splashed mud on the road and the troops were muddy and wet in their capes; their rifles were wet and under their capes the two leather cartridge-boxes on the front of the belts, gray leather boxes heavy with the packs of clips of thin, long 6.5 mm. cartridges, bulged forward under the capes so that the men, passing on the road, marched as though they were six months gone with child.

There were small gray motor cars that passed going very fast; usually there was an officer on the seat with the driver and more officers in the back seat. They splashed more mud than the camions even and if one of the officers in the back was very small and sitting between two generals, he himself so small that you could not see his face but only the top of his cap and his narrow back, and if the car went especially fast it was probably the King. He lived in Udine and came out in this way nearly every day to see how things were going, and things went very badly.

At the start of the winter came the permanent rain and with the rain came the cholera. But it was checked and in the end only seven thousand died of it in the army.

Copyright © 1929 by Charles Scribner's Sons
Copyright renewed 1957 © by Ernest Hemmingway

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Reading Group Guide for A Farewell to Arms

Introduction

Ernest Hemingway was born July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois. After graduation from high school, he moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he worked briefly for the Kansas City Star. Failing to qualify for the United States Army because of poor eyesight, he enlisted with the American Red Cross to drive ambulances in Italy. He was severely wounded on the Austrian front on July 9, 1918. Following recuperation in a Milan hospital, he returned home and became a freelance writer for the Toronto Star.

In December of 1921, he sailed to France and joined an expatriate community of writers and artists in Paris while continuing to write for the Toronto Star. There his fiction career began in "little magazines" and small presses and led to a volume of short stories, In Our Time (1925). His novels The Sun Also Rises (1926) and A Farewell to Arms (1929) established Hemingway as the most important and influential fiction writer of his generation. His later collections of short stories and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) affirmed his extraordinary career while his highly publicized life gave him unrivaled celebrity as a literary figure.

Hemingway became an authority on the subjects of his art: trout fishing, bullfighting, big-game hunting, and deep-sea fishing, and the cultures of the regions in which he set his work -- France, Italy, Spain, Cuba, and Africa.

The Old Man and the Sea (1952) earned him the Pulitzer Prize and was instrumental in his being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954. Hemingway died in Ketchum, Idaho, on July 2, 1961.

Description

Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American assigned toa Red Cross ambulance unit in Italy, is severely wounded on the Austrian front and sent to a hospital in Milan, where he falls in love with his English nurse, Catherine Barkley. When he returns to the front, the war goes badly, and Frederic joins a retreat from Caporetto in which he barely escapes execution at the hands of Italian battle police. He deserts the army, returns to Milan, goes on to Stresa, joins now-pregnant Catherine Barkley, and avoids capture by rowing across the lake to Switzerland, where they live an idyllic life until Catherine delivers a still-born child and dies, and Frederic walks back to his hotel in the rain, alone.

Discussion Questions

1. How does the first chapter of A Farewell to Arms set a tone and mood which anticipate subsequent events? Why does the narrator move the reader through a change of seasons from late summer to autumn and on to winter? What are the major images in the chapter, and what is the effect of the understatement in the final sentence (p. 4)?

2. During Lt. Frederic Henry's early visits with Catherine Barkley, Catherine says as they touch each other and speak of love, "This is a rotten game we play, isn't it"? (p. 31). How should one characterize Frederic's early "love" for Catherine? What does the initial stage of their relationship reveal about the effect of the war upon their lives?

3. What perspective regarding love does the priest from Abruzzi provide, and why do officers bait him during meals? Frederic says the priest "had always known what I did not know and what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget. But I did not know that then, although I learned it later" (p. 14). Is Frederic's observation borne out in the novel?

4. Why are the Italian soldiers disillusioned with the war? How is Frederic's leap into the river to escape the battle police a symbolic demarcation in the novel? What extended meaning do we find in his statement, "It was not my show any more..."(p. 232)? Does Catherine represent for Frederic refuge, peace, and "home" in its fullest sense? How?

5. Is A Farewell to Arms "a study in doom," as it has sometimes been called? How is Frederic's recollection of the ants on the burning log relevant to questions about God and faith raised in the novel? What do you believe Frederic has learned, or perhaps become resigned to, in this novel of love and war?

After Reading the Novel

The critic Allen Tate read A Farewell to Arms in Paris in 1929 and called it a masterpiece. Fewer than three months after its publication it had sold 45,000 copies and headed many bestseller lists. Many consider it Hemingway's best novel. You may wish to look at early sketches which inspired portions of A Farewell to Arms, especially the "Miniatures" which introduce Chapters 6 and 7 of In Our Time, or at short stories which evolved from Hemingway's World War I experiences such as "In Another Country" (1927), "Now I Lay Me" (1927), and "A Way You'll Never Be" (1933), all available in The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Since the rise of feminist criticism, much has been written about Hemingway's female characters, especially Catherine Barkley, whom some reject as unflatteringly submissive. There is considerable division over this issue, and the subject is worthy of exploration. A 1957 Hollywood movie version of A Farewell to Arms stars Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones. A more recent film, loosely based upon Hemingway's war experiences in Italy, starring Chris O'Donnell and Sandra Bullock, is also available.

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Reading Group Guide

Farewell To Arms
by Ernest Hemingway
Scribner, ISBN: 0-684-80146-9
Trade Paperback, $11.00

Farewell To Arms

Reading Group Guide for A Farewell to Arms

Introduction

Ernest Hemingway was born July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois. After graduation from high school, he moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he worked briefly for the Kansas City Star. Failing to qualify for the United States Army because of poor eyesight, he enlisted with the American Red Cross to drive ambulances in Italy. He was severely wounded on the Austrian front on July 9, 1918. Following recuperation in a Milan hospital, he returned home and became a freelance writer for the Toronto Star.

In December of 1921, he sailed to France and joined an expatriate community of writers and artists in Paris while continuing to write for the Toronto Star. There his fiction career began in "little magazines" and small presses and led to a volume of short stories, In Our Time (1925). His novels The Sun Also Rises (1926) and A Farewell to Arms (1929) established Hemingway as the most important and influential fiction writer of his generation. His later collections of short stories and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) affirmed his extraordinary career while his highly publicized life gave him unrivaled celebrity as a literary figure.

Hemingway became an authority on the subjects of his art: trout fishing, bullfighting, big-game hunting, and deep-sea fishing, and the cultures of the regions in which he set his work -- France, Italy, Spain, Cuba, and Africa.

The Old Man and the Sea (1952) earned him the Pulitzer Prize and was instrumental in his being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954. Hemingway died in Ketchum, Idaho, on July 2, 1961.

Description

Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American assigned to a Red Cross ambulance unit in Italy, is severely wounded on the Austrian front and sent to a hospital in Milan, where he falls in love with his English nurse, Catherine Barkley. When he returns to the front, the war goes badly, and Frederic joins a retreat from Caporetto in which he barely escapes execution at the hands of Italian battle police. He deserts the army, returns to Milan, goes on to Stresa, joins now-pregnant Catherine Barkley, and avoids capture by rowing across the lake to Switzerland, where they live an idyllic life until Catherine delivers a still-born child and dies, and Frederic walks back to his hotel in the rain, alone.

Discussion Questions

1. How does the first chapter of A Farewell to Arms set a tone and mood which anticipate subsequent events? Why does the narrator move the reader through a change of seasons from late summer to autumn and on to winter? What are the major images in the chapter, and what is the effect of the understatement in the final sentence (p. 4)?

2. During Lt. Frederic Henry's early visits with Catherine Barkley, Catherine says as they touch each other and speak of love, "This is a rotten game we play, isn't it"? (p. 31). How should one characterize Frederic's early "love" for Catherine? What does the initial stage of their relationship reveal about the effect of the war upon their lives?

3. What perspective regarding love does the priest from Abruzzi provide, and why do officers bait him during meals? Frederic says the priest "had always known what I did not know and what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget. But I did not know that then, although I learned it later" (p. 14). Is Frederic's observation borne out in the novel?

4. Why are the Italian soldiers disillusioned with the war? How is Frederic's leap into the river to escape the battle police a symbolic demarcation in the novel? What extended meaning do we find in his statement, "It was not my show any more..."(p. 232)? Does Catherine represent for Frederic refuge, peace, and "home" in its fullest sense? How?

5. Is A Farewell to Arms "a study in doom," as it has sometimes been called? How is Frederic's recollection of the ants on the burning log relevant to questions about God and faith raised in the novel? What do you believe Frederic has learned, or perhaps become resigned to, in this novel of love and war?


After Reading the Novel

The critic Allen Tate read A Farewell to Arms in Paris in 1929 and called it a masterpiece. Fewer than three months after its publication it had sold 45,000 copies and headed many bestseller lists. Many consider it Hemingway's best novel. You may wish to look at early sketches which inspired portions of A Farewell to Arms, especially the "Miniatures" which introduce Chapters 6 and 7 of In Our Time, or at short stories which evolved from Hemingway's World War I experiences such as "In Another Country" (1927), "Now I Lay Me" (1927), and "A Way You'll Never Be" (1933), all available in The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Since the rise of feminist criticism, much has been written about Hemingway's female characters, especially Catherine Barkley, whom some reject as unflatteringly submissive. There is considerable division over this issue, and the subject is worthy of exploration. A 1957 Hollywood movie version of A Farewell to Arms stars Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones. A more recent film, loosely based upon Hemingway's war experiences in Italy, starring Chris O'Donnell and Sandra Bullock, is also available.



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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 349 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 342 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I know what you're saying, I said it too. Why with so many wonderful contemporary authors do I want to go back and read this out dated novel. Well my in-person book club decided for me that's what I was going to do. And I am so glad I did.

    First published in 1929 when Hemingway was 30 A Farewell to Arms is viewed through the eyes of an American serving in the Italian army during the WW1, his love of one woman and his eventual life on the run. We today are used to the prose like, flowing dialogue of contemporary authors, so I was at first un-prepared for Hemingway's staccato, and very pragmatic verse, he puts us on the front lines with the soldiers and shows us how life away from the front was spent. He tells us of medical procedures of the time, procedures that we view as expectant as an aspirin, but in his day were life saving and sometimes life taking techniques. He takes us on an unequaled journey from the Mountains to the small villages and finally to the cities of Italy and ends our voyage in a small village in Switzerland. He takes us behind enemy lines and in the trenches of allies and he does it with an amazing proficiency. His characters are unforgettable in their portrayals from his protagonist Frederic and his love interest Catherine to his comrades in arms. His love story is poignant and heartwarming and tragic and yet beautiful in it's telling. He was truly a masterful narrator.
    So come back to the classic tale of love found and love lost, of war and desertion and of human frailty. Come back and see why this tale has survived a number of reprints and almost a century in time. Come back and make Papa proud. Come back and read the one and only A Farewell to Arms.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 18, 2009

    A Must

    Hemingway's "A Farewell To Arms" is an absolute necessity in order to understand the time in which it takes place. The dichotomy between love and war is an idea explored in depth in the novel. The novel paints a picture of war as pointless, confused, and without victor. Though it lacks an uplifting ending to say the least, this piece of literature is one that deserves a permanent spot on your bookshelf.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2009

    A Farewell to Arms Review

    In my opinion, 'A Farewell to Arms' is a book worth reading. One strong point about this book is the straight-forward, and realistic writing style. Hemingway wrote small, yet descriptive sentences that attract's the reader. Unlike, most other authors, who take a number of pagers to describe one simple thing. Hemingway keep's the reader's mind going.
    Though the overall writing content was execellent, there are small parts of the book that give it negatve reviews. The 'supposed' love between the main characters, in my own opinion felt dull, and not very realistic. The ending is a surprise for the reader. But dispute it being hated for having a depressing ending, it's very memorable and understandable. This book doesn't have a typical 'happy ending' because unlike most books it's realistic. 'A Farewell to Arms' is overall a wonderful book to read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Very Interesting

    When reading a book, I go into it with an open mind; I did this for A Farwell to Arms also. Most people who don't like this book complain about Hemingway's writing style--I had no problem with it, as his journalistic writing style was easy for me to read. My problem with the book was that the story wasn't very interesting. I did not want to keep reading it after I reached the end of a chapter or a book. The story has many holes in it and leaves too many questions unanswered and stones unturned. The ending is as annoying as saying that it was all a dream. Anyway, I still will read Hemingway; but I will not revisit this book.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2004

    Horrible and Pointless

    I do not know what Hemingway was thinking when he wrote this book. It is very unorganized and pointless. I would give this book 0 stars but that choice is not on there. I do not recommend this book to anyone because it is a waste of good time!

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2004

    worst book I've ever read in my life

    I've read a lot of books in my day, and this was the worst one ever. I had absolutely no symptathy for any of the characters; I didn't care whether they lived or died, I just wanted it to end. I would give this zero stars if possible. So boring.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2004

    Boring

    it was so boring i cant believe i read this imean the battle talk and the romantic love story behind it was so bad if you ever have to read this book for school. I pity you

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2009

    A Farewell to A Farewell to Arms

    worst book i've ever read...the conversations were ridiculous as were the relationships and the ending was the worst ending a book could possibly have...and if you dont know much about WWI this book will not help your understanding...

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2009

    A Tale of Love and the Hardships of War

    A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway is wonderful story that really touches your soul and makes you think about life in the 1900's. This book takes place during World War I and tells the story of Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American working as an ambulance driver for the Italian army, and his love for a British nurse, Catherine Barkley. I'm not going to say much about the story, however I will talk about some parts of the book that really make the reader think. There is a part in the book when it is raining outside and Catherine breaks down into tears because she is afraid and wont stop until Henry comforts her. Later in the book there are several instinces when rain keeps showing up. I think that in this book, rain symbolizes our greatest fears being realized. Throughout the book, whenever Henry was in a life or death situation the weather outside was always raining. The rain is an important part of the end of the book. That is just one example of the many ways that this book makes the reader think. Becuase this book makes us think about the story then it can be considered a classic novel. If a novel makes us think about the story then it can be considered a classic. If a book does not make the reader think then the book can't be remembered. A Farewell to Arms has a story that transcends through time and touches people throughout the world even today. I found myself tearing up a little bit at the end. A Farewell to Arms is a wonderful book that everyone should read, however I think that you have to be at least thirteen to read this book. This is a mature book that can only be understood if thought about. I thouroughlly enjoyed reading this book and I can't wait to read some of Ernest Hemingway's other great works.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2005

    In one ear and out the other.

    I found this book to be somewhat static. There didn't seem to be any part of the book that grabbed my attention especially, and I felt dissapointed at the end not because of the ending but because the story could've have been written in a much more interesting way. This book to me had no suspense or excitement.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2000

    A Great Book -- To Use As a Doorstop

    In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway seems to reveal his macho side for a short period of time compared to his other novels. Then, once Catherine comes in, he becomes too romantic. I don't mind romance novels, but the conversations that Fredric and Catherine have bring the bile from the back of my neck. It is almost a disgusting experience to read the book and I am ashamed to admit that I have read it. This one book turned me off to all Hemingway books I've read afterward. I give it 2 thumbs down.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2000

    What Was Hemingway Thinking???

    I only have one word to describe this book: trash! Trash, trash, trash!!! Earnest Hemingway, what were you thinking mister? This was going to be a great book! Good battlefield scenes, wonderful attention to detail, geogrophy and chronology of the war done to a T, but then he decides to throw in this Catherine chick! Where did SHE come from??? Guys, if you're in the mood for some good old fashoned male reading, I DO NOT recomend this book. Please, look elsewhere. Earnest Hemingway, you really let me down!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Uh...nuh uh

    I had to read this for a college English course, otherwise I would have given it a pass. I'm not sure how or why Hemingway got to be known as the great literary genius of his generation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2012

    Just a Story of Fake Love

    A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, was, according to my honors english teacher, supposed to be one of the "greatest books you'll read in high school". Honestly, I found this to be one of the worst. It just kept going on about how Catherine doesn't really love him and how this is all for sex. I understand that this was an important overall value to the book, but I didn't like reading every other page of a book that was suppposed to be about war, it having them having sex in a park, or having sex in a hospital bed. This book was very vulgar, with poor grammar (supposedly a technique known as polysyndeton, but I think Hemingway just liked acting like an illiterate), and was very disappointing to the reader looking for a book about WWI

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2010

    This book was a complete waste of my life.

    I am an avid reader, and I read books from all sorts of genres. I've rarely come across a book I didn't like. Then this book came along. I detest everything about this book. Authors generally try to make their characters likeable and relateable. I despised every single character in this book. Except for the main character's friend. Who was in the first few chapters then dropped off the face of the Earth. Everyone else was either completely arrogant or so incompetent that I couldn't even bear to read about them. The plot was horrendous and drags on forever and the ending was the worst I have ever read. Save yourself the time and money, go out and buy a book that's actually worth it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    if i were a monkey, i would throw this

    While A Farewell to Arms had many symbolic aspects, it contained far too many boring conversations and practically irrelevant details for me to truly enjoy reading it. Tenente would often begin thinking about the rain(which, in this novel, represents rebirth) which plays a large part in the story. However, just after his thinking escapade, he would begin telling details on the war, and how it was going for nearly every country, and this really bored me.I hardly think I really needed to know every time the Austrians fired their weapons. As for the conversations, they were hardly ever interesting. The dull, boring characters would bring up cities that you don't really care about, and then they would go off and intoxicate themselves. Alcohol was a symbol for dealing with pain of many kinds, but i dont admire any character who is a heavy drinker. And speaking of characters, Catherine was indubitably a bizarre woman. She would spit out random comments like "I feel like a whore" or "I want to BE you, darling". She creeped me out, to be honest. All characters except Rinaldi lacked spontaneity(most of the time) and iconic flair. The ending disappointed me because of the abruptness, however it was intriguing. If rain meant rebirth of this book, I would appreciate a drought.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    WHAT CAN I SAY?

    I MUST HAVE BEEN BORN IN THE WRONG GENERATION TO APPRECIATE A "CLASSIC". I was completely bored, only finished it because it is the book chosen for my Aug book club meetup. He is dull, boring, and did not capture my soul with this book. I could not wait to finish it. I have read other classics with much enthusiasm, but this classic was a huge disappointment!

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2008

    Uninspiring Read

    Usually I can characterize the books I read with adjectives like... exciting, compelling, interesting, enlightening, etc. However, I cannot use any of these adjectives to describe A Farewell To Arms. Several months ago I decided to pick up a few literature 'classics' to try to broaden my reading experiences. So far I have been very disappointed. The only exception is listed below. But I have not given up quite yet.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2001

    What were you thinking, Ernest?

    This is by far the worst book I have ever read. If you like a book about drinking, guys getting girls into trouble, and war, then read this sickening book that reminds me of the movie Pearl Harbor. I could not believe this was required reading!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2000

    Ernest! Dude ! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?

    I will say it one more time ernest! What were you thinking!? This was an awful novel...I know I shouldn't trash a classic I should know better than that. I do admire the rich language that was used in this classic but I felt any such kind of remorse for the main character at the end. If you meant this classic to be a romantic tragedy your mission was not completed. Not even close. I don't mean to offend anyone in anyway but I feel this is needed to be said. This disappointed me Ernest. You may thinking I'm pretty blind and stupid because of my young age. This is it for now.... I will be reading your other novels Ernest. I'll be watching you! =) hehe

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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