Ernest Hemingway Long Fiction Analysis
“All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true story teller who would keep that from you,” Ernest Hemingway wrote in Death in the Afternoon. He might have added that most of his own stories and novels, if traced back far enough, also begin in death. In The Sun Also Rises, death from World War I shadows the actions of most of the main characters; specifically, death has robbed Brett Ashley of the man she loved before she met Jake, and that fact, though only alluded to in the novel, largely accounts for her membership in the lost generation.
A Farewell to Arms begins and ends with death: Catherine Barkley’s fiancé was killed before the main events of the novel begin, and her own death at the end will profoundly influence the rest of Frederic Henry’s life. The Caporetta retreat scenes, often referred to as the “death chapters” of A Farewell to Arms, prompt Frederic Henry to give up the death of war for what he believes to be the life of love. In For Whom the Bell Tolls, death is nearby in every scene, a fact suggested first by the image of the bell in the novel’s title and epigraph, the bell whose tolling is a death knell. Perhaps most important in For Whom the Bell Tolls, Robert Jordan’s choice to die as he does comes from his reflections on the heroic death of his grandfather compared with what he sees as the cowardly suicide of his father. Finally, Santiago’s...
(The entire section is 5774 words.)
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