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Masculinity and Gender in a Farewell to Arms

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Masculinity and Gender in A Farewell to Arms: Creating Understanding in the Secondary School Classroom
Senior Paper
    Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For a Degree Bachelor of Arts with
A Major in Literature at
The University of North Carolina at Asheville
Fall 2006
By John G. Draughon III
            Thesis Director
              Dr. Deborah James
              Thesis Adviser             Dr. Peter Caulfield

Draughon 1
John Draughon
Dr. James
LIT 491
12 December 2006
Masculinity and Gender in A Farewell to Arms:
Creating Understanding in the Secondary School Classroom
Ernest Hemingway was known for his over-the-top bravado, his misogynistic tendencies, and his determination to find out what comprises the masculine condition. He filled his writing with the past, recalling his youth in an effort to situate himself in the literary world. In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway creates Frederic Henry - an ambulance driver on the Italian front during WWI - and weaves a complex story of love, gender interaction and masculine identity. Confronting these issues in the high school classroom presents a serious challenge, and instructing students in a close reading of A Farewell to Arms requires an English teacher to understand the inner workings of the novel, as well as the current critical analysis of masculinity and gender within Hemingway's writing. Students also provide a valuable resource, injecting new ideas and interpretations into the classroom. By combining teacher instruction with student interaction, an equilibrium can be reached where student and teacher move toward a greater understanding of the text. A Farewell to Arms is a complex novel that can alienate some high school students, and it is only through careful consideration of the students' reading, interpretation, and critical analyses that an instructor can help them create a meaningful understanding of the novel. This...


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