What is the language and style of writing used in A Farewell to Arms?

Hemingway's language and style in A Farewell to Arms are best described as sparse and direct.

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Ernest Hemingway's prose style is often considered straightforward. He avoided what is called "purple prose," giving the reader only as much description as needed and keeping dialogue tight and natural. This style was the result of training as a journalist, in which overt poetic technique is generally shunned in favor of sparse, tight writing.

While such a style would seem antithetical to interesting and absorbing drama, it works in Hemingway's favor. In A Farewell to Arms, the prose style would appear to be at odds with what is often a highly emotional story, but the lack of flowery description or melodramatic dialogue helps sell the realism. It prevents the love story between Frederic and Catherine from sliding into melodrama or sentimentality since everything is presented so plainly to the reader.

Even more emotionally charged moments, such as when Frederic prays for God to save Catherine from dying after she starts to hemorrhage in child-bed, are depicted in this way:

The nurse went into...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 806 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on August 11, 2020