A Farewell to Arms

Irony and the Brutality of War in A Farewell to Arms College

In 1929, Ernest Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms. During this era, there were many books centered on the Great War. Percy Hutchinson, a contemporary writer for the New York Times, predicted that Hemingway’s book “[…] is to be given classification, [it] belongs to the rapidly crowding shelf of war novels.”While many other authors, however, focused on the bravery and sacrifices of war, Hemingway wrote his novel from a different perspective. Hemingway broke away from the norm and instead used literary forms to shed light on different aspects of war. Hemingway’s use of irony inA Farewell to Armsgives valuable insight into the reality of war, from the perspective of an apathetic soldier.

Frederic Henry, the main character in Hemingway’s story, is an enigma. His dialogue and actions are constantly contradicting each other, and he frequently finds himself in surprising situations. For example, Henry seems to give little thought to the Italian army or even the war itself. He carries himself nonchalantly, yet he volunteered to be in his current situation. The audience would expect a volunteer to be zealous and dedicated, but it appears that Henry is only there for the booze and women. This contradiction is even more unusual when one...

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