A Farewell to Arms

Escape Via Love and Intoxication

In Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, love and intoxication are closely tied to the even grander theme of escape. Although escape is a greater driving force, it exists in its connection to these other themes. This complex relationship is found not only in Hemingway's use of action and language, but also in the minds and philosophies of most of the major characters. Escape seems a natural preoccupation in a state of war. Hemingway makes it the founding principle in such a situation, and focuses on what is escaped to rather than the skeleton of a war being fought in the meantime. Time and time again, love and intoxication appear in this capacity.

Hemingway creates a strong foundation for this relationship in the action of the novel. By presenting characters in the face of a universally threatening situation, there is an understandably survivalist tone in the attitude of his characters towards the war. Escape as a driving theme is a product of this subtle tone. The war is avoided in conversation, in thought, and eventually in participation when Henry and Catherine desert their roles in its development. Both of these characters have also left their homelands behind, and Henry especially has several scenes of physical...

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