American Literature books summary
rely on repetition and rhythm for much of their effect. The resulting
terse, concentrated prose is concrete and unemotional yet is often resonant
and capable of conveying great irony through understatement. Hemingway's
use of dialogue was similarly fresh, simple, and natural-sounding. The
influence of this style was felt worldwide wherever novels were written,
particularly from the 1930s through the '50s.A consummately contradictory
man, Hemingway achieved a fame surpassed by few, if any, American authors
of the 20th century. The virile nature of his writing, which attempted to
re-create the exact physical sensations he experienced in wartime, big-game
hunting, and bullfighting, in fact masked an aesthetic sensibility of great
delicacy. He was a celebrity long before he reached middle age, but his
popularity continues to be validated by serious critical opinion.
Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in the summer of 1899.
As a young man, he left home to become a newspaper writer in Kansas City.
Early in 1918, he joined the Italian Red Cross and became an ambulance
driver in Italy, serving in the battlefield in the First World War, in
which the Italians allied with the British, the French, and the Americans,
against Germany and Austria-Hungary. In Italy, he observed the carnage and
the brutality of the Great War firsthand. On July 8, 1918, a trench mortar
shell struck him while he crouched beyond the front lines with three
Though Hemingway embellished the story of his wounding over the years,
this much is certain: he was transferred to a hospital in Milan, where he
fell in love with a Red Cross nurse named Agnes von Kurowsky. Scholars are
divided over Agnes' role in Hemingway's life and writing, but there is
little doubt that his affair with her provided the background for A
Farewell to Arms, which many critics consider to be Hemingway's greatest
Published in 1929, A Farewell to Arms tells the story of Frederic
Henry, a young American ambulance driver and first lieutenant ("Tenente")
in the Italian army. Hit in the leg by a trench mortar shell in the
fighting between Italy and Austria-Hungary, Henry is transferred to a
hospital in Milan, where he falls in love with an English Red Cross nurse
named Catherine Barkley. The similarities to Hemingway's own life are
After the war, when he had published several novels and become a famous
writer, Hemingway claimed that the account of Henry's wounding in A
Farewell to Arms was the most accurate version of his own wounding he had
ever written. Hemingway's life certainly gave the novel a trenchant
urgency, and its similarity to his own experience no doubt helped him
refine the terse, realistic, descriptive style for which he became famous,
and which made him one of the most influential American writers of the
Book I, Chapters 1-6
Frederic Henry begins his story by describing his situation: he is an
American in the Italian army near the front with Austria-Hungary, a mile
from the fighting. Every day he sees troops marching and hears gunfire;
often the King rides through the town. A cholera epidemic has spread
through the army, he says, but only seven thousand die of it.
His unit moves to a town in Gorizia, further from the fighting, which
continues in the mountains beyond. His situation is relatively enjoyable;
the town is not badly damaged, with nice cafes and two brothels--one for
the officers and one for the enlisted men. One day Henry sits in the mess
hall with a group of fellow officers taunting the military priest. A
captain accuses the priest of cavorting with women, and the priest blushes;
though he is not religious, Henry treats the priest kindly. After teasing
the priest, the Italians argue over where Henry should take his leave;
because the winter is approaching, the fighting will ease, and Henry, an
ambulance driver, will be able to spend some time away from the front. The
priest encourages him to visit the cold, clear country of Abruzzo, but the
other men have other suggestions.
When he returns from his leave, Henry discusses his trip with his
roommate, the surgeon Rinaldi. Henry claims to have traveled throughout
Italy, and Rinaldi, who is obsessed with beautiful girls, tells him about a
group of new English women and claims to be in love with a Miss Barkley.
Henry loans him fifty lire (Italian money). At dinner that night, the
priest is hurt that Henry failed to visit Abruzzi. Henry feels guilty, and
tells him that he wanted to visit Abruzzi.
The next morning, Henry examines the gun batteries and quizzes the
mechanics; then he travels to visit Miss Barkley and the English nurses
with Rinaldi. He is immediately struck by Miss Barkley's beauty, and
especially by her long blonde hair. Miss Barkley tells Henry that her
fiancee was killed in the battle of the Somme, and Henry tells her he has
never loved anyone. On the way back, Rinaldi observes that Miss Barkley
liked Henry more than she liked Rinaldi, but that her friend, Helen
Ferguson, was nice too.
The next day, Henry calls on Miss Barkley again. The head nurse
expresses surprise that an American would want to join the Italian army,
and tells him that Miss Barkley is gone-- but says that Henry may come back
to see her at seven o'clock that night. Henry drives back along the
trenches, eats dinner, then returns to see Miss Barkley. He finds her
waiting with Helen Ferguson; Helen excuses herself, and Henry tries to put
his arm around her. She refuses, but allows him to kiss her. Then she
begins to cry, and Henry is annoyed. When Henry goes home, Rinaldi is
Three nights later, Henry sees Miss Barkley again; she tells him to
call her Catherine. They walk through the garden, and Henry tells Catherine
he loves her, though he knows he does not. They kiss again, and he thinks
of their relationship as an elaborate game. To his surprise, she suddenly
tells him that he plays the game very well, but that it is a rotten game.
Henry sees Rinaldi later that evening, and Rinaldi, observing Henry's
romantic confusion, feel glad that he did not become involved with a
Book I, Chapters 7-12
Driving back from his post, Henry picks up a soldier with a hernia;
they discuss the War, and Henry arranges a way to get the man to a
hospital. Henry thinks about the War, and realizes that he feels no danger
from it. At dinner that night, the men drink and tease the priest; Henry
nearly forgets he had promised to go see Catherine, and before he rushes
over, Rinaldi gives him some coffee to sober him up. At the nurses' villa,
Helen Ferguson tells Henry that Catherine is sick and will not see him.
Henry feels guilty and surprisingly lonely.
The next day an attack is scheduled. Henry goes to see Catherine, and
she gives him a Saint Anthony medal. He spends the day driving to the spot
where the fighting will take place.Henry and his men wait in the trenches
as the shelling begins. They are hungry, and Henry risks being shot to
fetch some cheese. As he sits down to eat it, he hears a loud noise and
sees a flash and believes he has died. A trench mortar shell has struck him
in the leg. Wounded men fall all around him.
Henry's surviving men carry him to safety; a British doctor treats him
on the field, then sends him in an ambulance to the field hospital. Henry
lies in intense pain. Rinaldi comes to visit him at the field hospital, and
tells Henry that he will get a medal. Henry shows no interest in medals.
Rinaldi leaves him a bottle of cognac and promises to send Miss Barkley to
see him soon.
At dusk, the priest comes to visit. They discuss the war, then God.
Henry tells the priest he does not love God--he says he does not love
anything much. The priest tells him he will find love, and it will make him
happy. Henry claims to have always been happy, but the priest says Henry
will know another kind of happiness when he finds it. Half delirious, Henry
thinks about Italian towns, then falls asleep.
Rinaldi and a Major from their group come to visit Henry the night
before he moves to a better hospital in Milan. Henry is still half-
delirious, and they drink profusely. After a confused conversation, Henry
falls into a drunken sleep. The next day, he is taken on a train to Milan.
Book II, Chapters 13-17
At Milan, Frederic Henry is taken to the American hospital. A young,
pretty nurse named Miss Gage makes his bed and takes his temperature. The
head nurse, Miss Van Campen, irritates Henry by not allowing him to have
wine. Henry pays some Italians to sneak wine into his room with the evening
In the morning, Miss Gage tells Henry that Miss Barkley has come to
work at the hospital--she claims not to like her, but Henry tells her she
will learn to like her. The porter brings a barber to shave Henry, but the
barber mistakes Henry for an Austrian soldier and threatens to cut his
throat. After the barber and the porter leave, Miss Barkley comes in, and
Henry realizes he is in love with her. He pulls her down into the bed with
him, and they make love for the first time.
Henry goes through a round of doctors who remove some of the shrapnel
from his leg. The doctors seem incompetent, and tell Henry he will have to
wait six months for an operation if he wants to keep his leg. He cannot
stand the thought of spending six months in bed, and asks for another
opinion; the house doctor says he will send for Dr. Valentini. When Dr.
Valentini comes, he is cheerful, energetic, and competent and says he will
perform the operation in the morning.Catherine spends the night in Henry's
room, and they see a bat. Catherine prepares him for the operation, and
warns him not to talk about their affair while under the anaesthetic.
After the operation, Henry is very sick. As he recovers, three other
patients come to the hospital--a boy from Georgia with malaria, a boy from
New York with malaria and jaundice, and a boy who tried to unscrew the fuse
cap from an explosive shell for a souvenir. Henry develops an appreciation
for Helen Ferguson, who helps him pass notes to Catherine while she is on
duty. Catherine continues to stay with Henry every night, but Henry and
Miss Gage finally convince her to take three nights off of night duty--Miss
Van Campen has commented that Henry always sleeps till noon.
Book II, Chapters 18-24
That summer Henry learns to walk on crutches, and he and Catherine
enjoy Milan. They befriend the headwaiter at a restaurant called the Gran
Italia, and Catherine continues to see Henry every night. They discuss
marriage, but Catherine remains opposed to the idea for the time being.
They pretend to be married instead. Catherine tells Henry that her love for
him has become her religion.
When not with Catherine, Henry spends time with a soldier named Ettore
Moretti, an Italian from San Francisco who is very proud of his war medals.
Ettore is extremely boastful about his military prowess, and Catherine
finds him annoying and dull. One night Henry and Catherine lie in bed
listening to the rain, and Catherine asks Henry if he will always love her.
She says she is afraid of the rain, and begins to cry.
Henry and Catherine go to the races with Helen Ferguson, whom Henry now
calls "Fergie," and the boy who tried to unscrew the nose cap on the
shrapnel shell. They bet on a horse backed by a racing expert and former
criminal named Mr. Myers; they win, but Catherine feels dissatisfied, so
they pick a horse for the next race on their own. Even though they lose,
Catherine feels much better.
By September, Henry's leg is nearly healed. He receives some leave time
from the hospital, and Catherine tells him she will arrange to go with him.
She then gives him a piece of startling news: she is six months pregnant.
Catherine worries that Henry feels trapped, and promises not to make
trouble for him, but he tells her he feels cheerful and thinks she is
wonderful. Catherine talks about the obstacles they will face, and mentions
the old quote about how the coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but
one. She says that, in reality, the brave man dies perhaps two thousand
deaths in his imagination--he simply does not mention them.
The next morning it begins to rain, and Henry is diagnosed with
jaundice. Miss Van Campen finds empty liquor bottles in Henry's room, and
accuses him of producing jaundice through alcoholism to avoid being sent
back to the front. Miss Gage helps Henry clear things up, but in the end he
loses his leave time.
Henry prepares to travel back to the front. He buys a new pistol, and
takes Catherine to a hotel. The hotel makes Catherine feel like a
prostitute, but before the night is over they feel at home there. Before
midnight, they walk downstairs and Henry calls a carriage for Catherine.
They have a brief good-bye, and Henry boards the crowded train that will
take him back to the war.
Book III, Chapters 25-28
After returning to Gorizia, Henry has a talk with the major about the
war--it was a bad year, the major says; Henry was lucky to get hit when he
did. Henry then goes to find Rinaldi; while he waits for his friend, he
thinks about Catherine. Rinaldi comes into the room and is glad to see
Henry; concerned, he examines Henry's wounded knee. He says that he has
become a skilled surgeon from the constant work with the wounded, but now
that the fighting has died down temporarily he has a frustrating lack of
work. They talk about Catherine, and at dinner the officers tease the
After dinner, Henry goes to talk with the priest. The priest thinks the
war will end soon, but Henry remains skeptical. After the priest leaves,
Henry goes to sleep; he wakes when Rinaldi comes back, but quickly falls
The next morning, he travels to the Bainsizza area, and sees the damage
caused by the war: the whole village is destroyed. Henry meets a man named
Gino, and they discuss the fighting. Gino says the summer's losses were not
in vain, and Henry falls silent--he says words like those embarrass him. He
says that the names of villages and the numbers of streets have more
meaning than words like sacred and glorious.That night, the rain comes down
hard, and the Croatians begin a bombardment. In the morning, the Italians
learn that the attacking forces include Germans, and they become very
afraid--they have had little contact with the Germans in the war so far,
and prefer to keep it that way. The next night, the Italian line has been
broken, and the Italian forces begin a large-scale retreat.
As the forces slowly move out, Henry returns to the villa, but finds it
empty; Rinaldi is gone with the hospital. Henry finds the drivers under his
command, including Piani, Bonello, and Aymo. Before leaving in the morning,
Henry gets a good night's sleep.
They drive out slowly through the town, in an endless line of soldiers
and vehicles. Henry takes a turn sleeping, and shortly after he wakes, the
column stalls. He finds that Bonello has given two engineer sergeants a
ride, and Aymo has two girls in his car. Exhausted, Henry falls asleep
again, and dreams of Catherine.That night, columns of peasants join the
retreating army. In the early morning Henry and his men stop briefly at a
farmhouse, eating a large breakfast. Soon, they continue slowly on their
way, rejoining the line of trucks and soldiers.
Book III, Chapters 29-32
Aymo's car gets stuck in the soft ground; the men are forced to cut
brush hurriedly to place under the tires for traction. Henry orders the two
engineer sergeants riding with Bonello to help; afraid of being overtaken
by the enemy, they refuse, and try to leave. Henry draws his gun and shoots
one of them, but the other escapes. Bonello takes Henry's pistol and kills
the wounded sergeant.
They begin to cut branches and twigs; in the end, they are unable to
save the car. Henry gives some money to the two girls travelling with Aymo
and encourages them to go down to a nearby village, Aymo gets in Henry's
vehicle, and they set out, now cut off from the main column.
Crossing a bridge, Henry sees a nearby car full of German soldiers. As
they travel, they begin to notice more and more signs of German occupation,
and they worry that they have been completely cut off from Italian-
controlled land. They proceed with caution; a sudden burst of gunfire kills
Aymo. They realize he was shot by the Italian rear guard--the Italians are
ahead, but because the rear guard is afraid, they are almost as dangerous
as the Germans.
Fearing death, Bonello leaves in hopes of being taken prisoner. The men
hide in a barn that night, and in the morning they rejoin the Italians. The
enlisted men become furious with the officers, and Piani is afraid they
will try to kill Henry. Suddenly, two men (battle police) seize hold of
Henry. They seize Henry because he is a foreigner, and in the chaos of the
retreat they intend to shoot him for a spy. When they look away for a
moment, Henry dives into the river and swims away.
After floating in the river for what seems like a very long time, Henry
climbs out, removes the stars from his shirt, and counts his money. He
crosses the Venetian plain that day, then jumps aboard a military train
that evening, hiding under a canvas with guns.
Lying under the canvas, Henry thinks about the army, about the war, and
about Catherine. He realizes that he will be pronounced dead, and assumes
he will never see Rinaldi again. Rinaldi has been concerned he will die of
syphilis, and Henry worries for him. Exhausted and hungry, he imagines
finding Catherine and going away with her to a safe place.
Book V, Chapters 38-41
That fall, Henry and Catherine live in a brown wooden house on the side
of a mountain. They enjoy the company of Mr. and Mrs. Guttingen, who live
downstairs, and they remain very happy together; sometimes they walk down
the mountain path in Montreux. One day Catherine gets her hair done in
Montreux, and afterwards they go to have a beer--Catherine thinks beer is
good for the baby, because it will keep it small; she is worried about the
baby's size because the doctor has said she has a narrow pelvis. They talk
again about getting married, but Catherine wants to wait until after the
baby is born when she will be thin again.
Three days before Christmas, the snow comes. Catherine asks Henry if he
feels restless, and he says no, though he does wonder about his friends on
the front, such as Rinaldi and the priest.
Henry decides to grow a beard and by mid-January, he has one. Through
January and February he and Catherine remain very happy; in March they move
into town to be near the hospital. They stay in a hotel there for three
weeks; Catherine buys baby clothes, Henry works out in the gym, and they
both feel that the baby will arrive soon.
Finally, around three o'clock one morning, Catherine goes into labor.
They go to the hospital, where Catherine is given a nightgown and a room.
She encourages Henry to go out for breakfast, and he does, talking to the
old man who serves him. When he returns to the hospital, he finds that
Catherine has been taken to the delivery room. He goes in to see her; the
doctor stands by, and Catherine takes an anaesthetic gas when her
contractions become very painful. At two o'clock in the afternoon, Henry
goes out for lunch.
He goes back to the hospital; Catherine is now intoxicated from the
gas. The doctor thinks her pelvis is too narrow to allow the baby to pass
through, and advises a Caesarian section. Catherine suffers unbearable pain
and pleads for more gas. Finally they wheel her out on a stretcher to
perform the operation. Henry watches the rain outside.
Soon the doctor comes out and takes Henry to see the baby, a boy. Henry
has no feeling for the child. He then goes to see Catherine, and at first
worries that she is dead. When she asks him about their son, he tells her
he was fine, and the nurse gives him a quizzical look. Ushering him
outside, the nurse tells him that the boy is not fine--he strangled on the
umbilical cord, and never began to breathe.
He goes out for dinner, and when he returns the nurse tells him that
Catherine is hemorrhaging. He is filled with terror that she will die. When
he is allowed to see her, she tells him she will die, and asks him not to
say the same things to other girls. Henry goes into the hallway while they
try to treat Catherine, but nothing works; finally, he goes back into the
Рефераты бесплатно, курсовые, дипломы, научные работы, реферат бесплатно, сочинения, курсовые работы, реферат, доклады, рефераты, рефераты скачать, рефераты на тему и многое другое.
При использовании материалов - ссылка на сайт обязательна.