Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Teaching the American Twenties: Exploring the Decade through Literature and Art


After the War

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway's 1929 novel A Farewell to Arms is narrated by Frederic Henry, a young American ambulance driver for the Italian military during World War I. Henry suffers injuries much like Hemingway's, falls in love with a nurse, and eventually deserts the Italian army. Though Hemingway gives much attention to the love story, the novel also depicts wartime horrors, obstacles, and discouragement. Henry's wife and son die in childbirth, and this tragedy and the shock of war leave him broken and disillusioned. Some critics consider A Farewell to Arms to be Hemingway's protest against all wars and armed conflicts that result in large numbers of casualties.

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Photograph of Ernest Hemingway in uniform
Photograph of Ernest Hemingway in uniform

A photograph of Ernest Hemingway in a World War I uniform. The uniform he wears is most likely from his service in the American Red Cross.

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