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Hemingway: Celebration of Manhood in "A Farewell to Arms"

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 12:28 AM
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Hemingway: Celebration of Manhood in \"A Farewell to Arms\", by Alejandra de Picciotto, from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hemingway usually celebrates a specific type of manhood in his novels, and \"A Farewell to Arms\", published in 1929 and set in 1916-1918, in Italy and Switzerland, in the middle of World War I, is no exception, depicting as the ideal a very masculine, competent, sexual and rather chauvinistic kind of man, for whom friendship, order, self-assurance and commitment to relationships is important. On this basis, the aim of this essay is to analyse the type of man celebrated in the above-mentioned novel and the way Hemingway achieves that masculine portray.



Frederick Henry, the protagonist, evidently considers solidarity and loyalty to relationships important. This is exemplified by his performance in the war as a lieutenant, ambulance driver and helper, who assists people in the war front. His friendship with Rinaldi is also valuable to him, one of the shelters he has against the grim reality of way, to the point that not even liking for a woman interferes with it, since Rinaldi does not show any resentment to Henry when the former notices that Catherine Barkley - an English nurse working on the front who is liked at first by Rinaldi and eventually becomes Henry\'s girlfriend - prefers Henry to him. Henry also displays loyalty and commitment to his relationship with Catherine, thanks to which he also shows the great love he is able to give in the context of a violent world where certainties and beliefs are shattered, and which also represents a way for him to isolate himself and escape from the awful and cruel experiences he has to endure. Henry also, and conversely, proves to be very cruel in his killing of the two engineers who do not want to follow his orders to help their truck get out of the mud in which it had stuck and who escape, thereby showing disloyalty and disobedience to authority, which goes to show Henry\'s awareness...

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