Before the semester is over…

What was your favorite piece we read this semester? Why?

Or, what is something you didn’t expect to learn in this class, but did?

Or! What was the most shocking thing we talked about, read, or found this semester?

Article About the Hemingway Family

I know Ginny wants to make a blog post about Hemingway, mental illness and how that relates to “A Farewell to Arms,” but I wanted to leave a link to an article about a film from 2013 about the “Hemingway Curse” and the pattern of suicide in the Hemingway family which also includes comments from an interview with Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel. For anyone interested in, click here. I don’t want to steal the thunder from Ginny, so I’m going to leave the rest of this to her, but if you need something to hold you over until then, here’s this little snippet. Enjoy!

Reactions to Death in the End

A common occurrence with these novels is the protagonist witnessing the death of another right before the end of said novel. With Paul it was his friend Kat, for Nellie it was the other cooks, and for Henry it was (spoiler alert) Catherine. What I found interesting was the way they reacted to the deaths.

Paul spent the time in denial, acting as if Kat had merely fallen unconscious and eventually walked away numbly. Nellie was completely numb to it the entire time. Henry was the only one to completely break down internally, bargaining with God to ensure Catherine’s survival (pg 330).

It’s a common theme that war experience changes a person. Here’s an opening for discussion: how different was Henry’s experience with the war in comparison to Nellie and Paul’s, in that he reacted in a such a way to Catherine dying? Was it the war experience, or was the in-the-moment situation the deciding factor for his reaction?

The Military Hospital

Can we talk about how Henry’s medical leave was depicted in contrast to how such things were in the other novels?

Paul got holed up in that church hospital, where orderlies had to be flagged down and there were rumors of a room they brought men to die in. Henry got a total of four doctors to look at his knee, massages, baths, and chances to visit the town’s restaurants and horse races. It was as though he were on vacation instead of recuperating from injured legs.

What do you think Hemingway is trying to say by presenting Henry’s recovery to us this way?