In A Farewell to Arms, according to Passini in Chapter 9 and the priest in chapter 11, why do wars countinue? How are their views different?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Passini and the priest both abhor the war, and they both allude to a ruling class that makes war and to the officers that support it. Their opinions differ, however, in regard to why wars continue. According to Passini, "There is no finish to a war" because wars are not won through military action:

War is not won by victory. What if we take San Gabriele? What if we take the Carso and Monfalcone and Triests? Where are we then? Did you see all the far mountains today? . . . Only if the Austrians stop fighting. One side must stop fighting.

Passini believes war will continue because the controlling class "is stupid and does not realize anything and never can."

The priest, in contrast, believes war continues because those who oppose it have no political power and are forced to wage war by those who do:

They [those who oppose war] are not organized to stop things and when they get organized their leaders sell them out.

The priest, however, unlike Passini, has not given up all hope that the war will end:

It is never hopeless. But sometimes I cannot hope. I try always to hope but sometimes I cannot.

Passini and the priest both see the war as a terribly destructive force created and continued through the human failings of those with power.

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