Literary activism begets such gems like A Farewell To Arms
. Somebody who had experienced war first-hand writes about why exactly there shouldn't be any wars in the first place. Touched by the honesty and the elegant nonchalance with which he has depicted some of the brutalities of war, the world has handed him the Nobel Prize for Literature and forgotten all about the message that the writer had intended to convey. And that is why wars still keep breaking out and will continue to do so.
One of the most poignantly written specimens of fiction to have emerged in the first half of the 20th century, A Farewell To Arms
recounts the story of two individuals trying to escape from a world, driven mad by the bloodlust of war. One is the young American ambulance driver named Frederic Henry and the other is the beautiful English nurse Catherine Barkley, who meet in Italy against a landscape of bloodshed and mayhem. In each other's arms, they find a sort of a safe haven and a tiny little ray of hope of surviving the war and having a future together.
Henry's romance with Catherine is interwoven with his experiences at the war-front and coupled together they make for one of the most emotionally riveting reads ever.
At the end of the book, I was tempted to think that Frederic and Catherine's romance was perhaps, too, an allegory of war. The bitter tragedy of Catherine's death along with the birth of her stillborn child coinciding with the end of World War I was perhaps, the author's way of saying that even if war ends it does so after causing unimaginable devastation.
If I'm to point out the fallacies of the book or the seemingly weaker points, then I must say I have a bone to pick with the dialogue. Lines such as 'You're such a sweet girl.'
or 'You're so sweet'
or Rinaldi's constant references to Henry as 'baby'
are a dime a dozen. But then again this must have been the common way of speaking a hundred years back. So it's not really a shortcoming, in the literal sense.
In the end, I would like to remember A Farewell To Arms
as an eternally true and enduring tale of human misery that is bound to move readers to tears for generations to come.