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A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

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Topics for Further Study

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  • The character of Hemingway’s Catherine Barkley has undergone a great deal of scrutiny. This attention has alternated from seeing her as a strong, independent, and assertive woman to a needy, weak, and dependent person. Using the text, support both sides of the position. What do these views say about Hemingway’s attitude toward gender roles?
  • If Catherine’s position as heroine is uncertain, what about the hero Frederic Henry? Using the text, support or reject Henry’s role as hero in A Farewell to Arms.
  • Hemingway’s style has been said to be a purely masculine form of writing. What does it mean to say a writing style is male or female? Do you agree or disagree that his style is masculinist? Why?
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje is a story about a soldier wounded in the Italy of World War II. Compare it with Hemingway’s story and discuss the genre of wounded men cared for by nurses. How do these stories compare with actual historical accounts of fighting in Italy during World War II?

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