How can I compare the similarities and literary messages of The Bridge on the Drina and A Farewell to Arms?

Expert Answers
Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I see now with this second post of your question that you have a specific idea in mind. You need both “similarities” especially in the “literary message to readers.” This has caused me to rethink the previous thesis and reword it a bit. This thesis, then, could be the end of the first section of your outline: Both A Farewell to Arms and The Bridge on the Drina are similar in that they both convey the message of the importance of connection (in the former, the connection is with Catherine and in the latter, the connection is with the physical bridge).

The next section of your outline would be your first body paragraph which would show why a connection is needed within both books: war. In A Farewell to Arms, the war is World War I, and the destruction is heavy. It causes Frederic Henry to be disillusioned both in watching the battles and in being wounded himself. In The Bridge on the Drina the connection is needed because of the suffering of the Bosnian people. It doesn’t focus on one specific war, but describes many wars from the 1500s until the early 1900s. Interestingly enough, the suffering history involved also depicts World War I.

The next section of your outline would be your second body paragraph which would focus specifically on the connection in the two novels. In A Farewell to Arms, Frederick Henry finds his connection (and his escape from World War I specifically in the character of Catherine. Through this love, Frederick Henry searches for personal meaning. He gets lots in “her hair” as well as her conversation. They don’t get married quite yet, but they conceive a child together. This gives Frederick Henry hope. Similarly, in The Bridge on the Drina the connection is reflected in the title: the bridge IS this connection. Sokolli was originally taken from his home in Bosnia, but eventually becomes the grand vizier in the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s. He wants to build a bridge across the Drina River near Viegrad. It is beautiful and, through its eventual acceptance, is the connection between the Turks and the Bosnian people.

The third section of your outline should be your last body paragraph which would focus on the destruction of the two connections and how that affects the literary significance. In A Farewell to Arms, Frederick Henry has accompanied Catherine during the birth of the baby. The destruction of the connection begins with the baby’s death and continues with the death of Catherine due to a hemorrhage. Frederick Henry has nothing left in that he has lost his love and life connection. Also, in The Bridge on the Drina the connection is destroyed when the bridge is destroyed. Ironically, the bridge is destroyed in World War I. Further, it takes Alihodja as a kind of witness of history, the culture, and the actual bridge. The connection is lost and the entire idea destroyed.

The last part of your outline should indicate the conclusion of your essay. It should begin with a reworded thesis and present a new idea. Perhaps you could present an idea that is a more modern “bridge” in our world. For example, the World Trade Center Memorial as a symbol of peace.

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A Farewell to Arms

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