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!

Morgan’s Bridge to the Blog

Hey guys! So today in class we spent a lot of time talking about the relationship between Catherine (Cat) and Frederic Henry’s relationship in the novel. We talked about the layers of their relationship, how they pretend that the hospital room and the hotel room is their own little house and even contemplated if their relationship was real or fake. Obviously, both Cat and Henry have some personal things going on and maybe that is why they are together, they could be a comfort for each other in some weird way. Being someone who has always been in love with the idea of being in love, I got really caught up in the romantic relationships we have seen so far this semester.

But how does the portrayal of love in “All Quiet,” “Not So Quiet,” and “A Farewell to Arms” do? How are they similar or different? Have we seen the type of relationship that Henry and Cat have before?

I think this all goes back to the glorification of wartime and the idea that everything works out in the end. It is the true romantic story: man goes off to war, gets injured, a pretty nurse takes care of him, nurses him back to health, they fall in love and get married, have a family and live happily ever after. Super sappy and in the end everything is wrapped up nicely with a pretty little bow and they live in a house with a white picket fence. It is like this was the dream of the time, the type of relationship people adored and wished themselves to be in. Pictures from this time and posters like that of which Dr. Scanlon showed us in class today add to this belief of the romanticized war.

However, we have already seen how Henry and Cat’s relationship deviates from this idea since she gets pregnant out of wedlock. Their mental states, their perspectives, and their actual relationship is everything outside of what the desired relationship was. So, could their relationship be here to mock this idea of romance during the wartime or is it an accurate depiction of two broken people finding relief and comfort within one another which makes life a little more bearable? And if so, what is trying to be shown here? Now, thinking back to our other books, how about the relationship Nellie finds herself in at the end of “Not So Quiet”? We discussed how she said she would never marry someone who was in the war and was injured because it would be a constant reminder of the things she witnessed, however, she gets engaged to Roy and accepts him even after his injury. Does this make their relationship the same as Henry and Cat’s? If so how? Do you think that these relationships that we see in these wartime stories are parodying the expectations that everyone believed would happen at the time, making fun of the dreams young women had of falling in love with brave soldiers, or do you think that they are just showing the actual “romance” that would come about during a time like this?

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Psychic Hemingway Anyone??

Can we also talk about how weird it was that Hemingway wrote in the 1929 version of A Farewell about the Japanese wanting to take control of Hawaii and then literally twelve years later Pearl Harbor happened? Am I missing something? Is this just some huge coincidence?

The Grey

So during class today we wrote on the board “war profits” as a major topic in the text, but I feel like we didn’t go into it in A Farewell to Arms as much as we did others. That being said, I couldn’t help myself from being a total reject of a student during my sociology class and only thinking about the questions I had about it.

I think one of the reasons I like this book particularly more than the others we’ve read this semester is because Hemingway does a fantastic job of writing the grey. Frederic Henry is a grey character. He joined the war because he happened to be in Italy and he happened to speak Italian and he shows no real commitment or tie to anything. He is neither black nor white because he doesn’t feel a strong connection to any real part of the war or any consequence thereof and it was this realization that got me thinking.

The other characters in the text bring up the question of who profits from the war and we don’t get a strong response from Henry. In fact, he is one of the first people in the books we’ve read this semester that hasn’t really explained to us either his patriotism or nationalism (for all the confusion the pair offers). This is nothing short of puzzling to me.

Logically, America would’ve been one of the few nations to have profited off of the war. They entered the fighting late which must’ve already saved the American people a lot of money, but on top of that, they’ve had to have supplied some type of weaponry or finances to the countries at war or it would’ve risked jeopardizing previous alliances. So while these men are discussing in front of Henry’s character the idea that someone profits, I wonder if Henry was considering the profit his own nation gained or if he was simply being blissfully ignorant?

I think one of the most dangerous things we see in either of the world wars is this conflation of patriotism and nationalism and Hemingway’s decision to write Henry as a character who is either blissfully ignorant or completely and totally unwilling to acknowledge the threat of his own country to the lives of other people is both (if intentional) masterful and disheartening…or perhaps I’m just reading into things a little too much…