AP English 11
04 December 2014
It is the utmost responsibility of every competent author to be able to express the depth in their character’s emotions through a variety of stylistic devices. However, readers tend to disregard these rather distinguishing details that are the pathway to understanding the author’s style techniques and their character’s point of view. Ernest Hemingway utilizes the character
Frederic Henry, in
A Farewell to Arms
, as a character who encompasses multiple layers to his personality due to the circumstances that are placed at hand during the time of war. Frederic's tone is constantly in flux throughout the story as he captures his memories of trials, tribulation, heartbreak, love, and little triumph during his days as an ambulance driver in World War I. Page
A Farewell to Arms marks a moment of reflection for Frederic while he recalls a night spent with his previous nurse and love interest, Miss Catherine Barkley. As Frederic reminisces back to this extraordinary night, he is bombarded by memories of happiness that he once felt, all of which became a mere memory along with Catherine after her death. Frederic is left with void and feels rather fatuous as he had let himself fall into the dangers of love during a time where detachment would conquer. Despite the twelve year gap between Catherine’s death and Fredric’s memoir, he continues to dwell on the joy of the past with an underlying tone of somber and emptiness as if they were yesterday.
Fredric utilizes a myriad of positively connotated words in portraying the existing gaiety.
Frederic begins the excerpt on page 249 by setting the scene. Henry is trying to accentuate the attachment they had for each other and how it bought about a sense of unity. He intuitively explains every detail of the moment with diction in words such as “pleasant”, “cheerful”,
“exciting”, and “comfortable.” These words create a sense of radiation as it exemplifies the happiness that perseveres despite the war in existence. In addition, the simplicity of the words that he utilizes conveys how when Catherine is in acquaintance “life isn’t hard to manage.” It is understood that he is not as detached from life as he makes himself seem to be. However, he juxtaposes this happiness as rain continues to fall, showing that the war prevails. The first sentence is unusually long, indicating that he prefers this moment to live on, just as he allows the sentence to continue on. While the overriding tone of this segment is comfortable and happy, by the way Frederic clutches on to this moment, the reader can infer that he is so attached to this memory because in the midst of war it made him realize there was something to live for. Frederic includes repetition at the end of the segment when he states, “if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone” and “waking in the night to find the other was there, and not gone away.”
He also includes the sentence, “feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone.” The beginnings of both the separate thoughts in these sentences create parallelism. He does this in order to stress the similarities between the idea of being “home” and being “not alone”;which implies being with Catherine. One can then infer that Frederic feels comfortable and “at home” when he’s with Catherine. Frederic’s constant repetition of this idea of loneliness shows his obsession over the possibility of being alone, and how it is not favorable because he has
Catherine now. The implications of Frederic’s animosity towards being alone foreshadow
Frederic’s immense loneliness after Catherine’s death. While Frederic is describing this moment as if he is Frederic the character, his foreshadowing through diction and syntax makes it apparent that he is a narrator reflecting on the past. These first few sentences exhibit a tone of somber and