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The issue of religion in the story a farewell to arms

Hawthorne expressed his views in The Scarlet Letter, Garcia Marquez did the same in One Hundred Years of Solitude and in other writings, and even Ernest Hemingway used his writing to develop his own ideas concerning the church.

This is fully evident in his novel A Farewell to Arms. Even in a book in which the large majority of the characters profess their atheism, the ideas of the church materialize repeatedly as both characters and as topics of conversations. Hemingway repeatedly emphasizes this in all sections of the book, even after Henry is injured, when he is completely isolated from the other soldiers. The first instance the reader sees of this is only six pages into the novel. Religion We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book.

How fast would you like to get it? We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails. Almost the same scenario is portrayed only a few pages later: Priest not happy without girls. The reader sees an obvious pattern in the relationship between the priest and the others. More important, though, than the fact that the other soldiers ridicule the priest, is for what he is ridiculed.

His religious celibacy also becomes an easy target: The other officers were amused at the baiting. Priest every night five against one. In this way the question of faith becomes a question of manhood.

What is the impact of war on religion in Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms?"

In the eyes of the soldiers, the priest, who represents all things religious, is not a man. His masculinity is called into question in a different way as well: If there is a war I suppose we must attack. Again the differences between the priest and the soldiers are emphasized. Overall, the soldiers express a complete distrust of the church itself. The priest and all the clergy are, to the soldiers, the enemy, no matter what.

In other words, he is not to be trusted and not to be taken seriously. Unlike the other soldiers, Henry never directly attacks the priest himself. But he does so in an inquisitive or curious manner. This becomes, in the novel, the essence of their relationship: They consistently speak of the war, of their thoughts on the war and its duration.

  1. In the eyes of the soldiers, the priest, who represents all things religious, is not a man. Henry looks to the priest for advice and as someone in which to confide.
  2. This is a vital clue to understanding the religious view Hemingway presents in the novel. He does represent religion, for this is why he receives the verbal battery he does from the soldiers.
  3. But he does so in an inquisitive or curious manner. In "A Farewell to Arms," religion occupies a prominent role, as it is discussed between characters throughout the story.

With the priest, Henry keeps up a consistent line of questions or prompts. What is significant about this is that with nearly every other character in the book, it is Henry who needs the prompting. Henry looks to the priest for advice and as someone in which to confide.

It is through his conversations with the priest that Henry comes to many important conclusions in the book, realizations about love, about the inefficacy of the war and of those conducting it, about the nature of man and power. When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for.

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You wish to serve. I know you will. Then you will be happy. When asked if he loves God, Henry replies that he fears Him sometimes. Henry implies that the feeling he most associates with love is fear. But through his conversations with the priest Henry gains a better understanding of what love is.

From this it is reasonable to say that Henry may never have fallen in love with Catherine if not for the priest. His feeling towards religion, however, is not.

Throughout their conversations, it is evident that Henry respects the priest.

  1. When asked if he loves God, Henry replies that he fears Him sometimes. You wish to serve.
  2. The trench warfare that characterized that war, and the highly questionable motivations for its existence in the first place, cemented notion of atheism to the young aspiring author. I knew she was going to die and I prayed that she would not.
  3. You're all I've got. Almost the same scenario is portrayed only a few pages later.

Yet he continually puts up a front against God and religion itself. How would Our Lord have been if Peter had rescued him in the Garden?

He is implying that the Christian God is no god at all, just the product of circumstance. But near the end of the book, when Henry is completely powerless, he resorts to the only option he has: When Catherine is in danger of dying, Henry has no other choice: I could not think.

I knew she was going to die and I prayed that she would not. God please make her not die. There is also one other instance in the book in which a soldier resorts to prayer. This is when Henry is injured and the mortally wounded soldier Passini is next to him. Dio te salve, Maria.

  • The reader sees an obvious pattern in the relationship between the priest and the others;
  • In no way does God have a presence in the book; the priest, who claims to be a representative of God, occupies a large role in the novel, but this role is one almost entirely devoid of religion;
  • How would Our Lord have been if Peter had rescued him in the Garden?

Oh Jesus lovely Mary stop it. This is a vital clue to understanding the religious view Hemingway presents in the novel. In no way does God have a presence in the book; the priest, who claims to be a representative of God, occupies a large role in the novel, but this role is one almost entirely devoid of religion.

The priest is there simply as a man, a person Henry looks to for advice. The most enlightening image the reader is given of God is metaphorical, with Henry occupying the position of God: Once in camp I put a log on top of the fire and it was full of ants. As it commenced to burn, the ants swarmed out and went first toward the centre where the fire as; then turned back and ran toward the end.

When there were enough on the end they fell off into the fire. I remember thinking at the time that it was the end of the world and a splendid chance to be a messiah and lift the log off the fire. Here, Henry is clearly acting as God, or at least as a god-like figure. He has the power to save the lives of multitudes, but chooses not to simply out of apathy. Need Help With Your Essay? The views Hemingway presents in the novel at this point become, if not clear, at least more accessible to the reader.

The priest no longer represents God. He does represent religion, for this is why he receives the verbal battery he does from the soldiers. But to Henry and to the reader he is simply another man with strong beliefs. God, in the novel, either does not exist or is completely apathetic to the actions of man. The one religious icon the reader sees in the book, the St.

Anthony necklace Catherine gives to Henry, is disregarded and lost within twenty pages. The frontlines are no place for religion. God has no place in war.