Updated: Feb 4, 2019
I just finished A Farewell to Arms. I know in my last book post, I said I was going to start An Authentic Experience, but my friend gave me this Hemmingway, and he said that "I just had to read it now", and I couldn't help myself. He has good taste, and if ya'll have been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I am all over the place when it comes to my books. I may start something today and put it down for a week before I start it again. No worries Kelley, I will get to your book :)
Of course this book had to be relatable, every damn book I read is. The two main characters are lovers, and in the end they both seem like real nut jobs to me. Catherine is bat shit crazy, but you know what, so is Henry. I liked Henry a lot though. He portrays himself as a man of duty, and with no prospects of praise for his work. He is strong and proud, but reveals a weakness usually hidden by his masculinity when he speaks of Catherine. The first part of the book reveals that he is only interested in her to get her in the bed. Typical damn man. But, he eventually falls in love with her crazy ass. Thing is, I think she knows she is nuts too. She is constantly asking him if he really loves her, and for so long he tells her he does, not meaning it. Later though, he says it and means it. They briefly separate for his tour in the Italian military, only to come back to her, fully in love and still weird as hell.
Her character seems very sweet and submissive to the reader I think, but I have read that Hemingway tends to portray his female characters in this manner. They are either real far out one way or the other. Nice and sweet, or very domineering and cold. Why can't we just be normal and not crazy Earnest? Anyhow, I enjoyed reading Catherine’s parts throughout the book. She is an interesting character. I would have loved to talk to someone like her, get in her head. I think it is quite cruel how he deceives her in the beginning though. I will never understand that kind of cruelty.
There is a quote I enjoyed and thought hard on when I read it. I had someone in mind. Some people are very pessimistic by nature I think. I am a realist I think for the most part, but can be very unrealistic about things that I really want too. I do not prefer Henry's outlook on life. I think it must be very sad to live that way.
"If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these, you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
Henry has this thought while in the bed with Catherine. Before this thought though, he is thinking of loneliness and how being with her or around her, or even within distance of her, alleviates the loneliness and sorrow somehow, somehow she understands. Henry thinks that when they are together, they can overcome these strange fears and feelings they have, just by being in the presence of other people. His thinking quickly switches with his next thoughts though, about how the world is designed to kill the good, the gentle, and brave. All these verbs he uses to describe Catherine. He then switches to pessimistic thoughts of how all the love and connections in this life, cannot undo the harsh realities of that this world has in store for us. No amount of happiness can undo the unhappiness that follows. It is kind of a predecessor to the ending of the book.
From here on out to the end, they seem to be running from this unseen force of reality that is out to get them and ruin them, and will soon enough do that very thing. It's a very odd ending. Have a go.
These are my two favorite lines from the book.
The ruin me line...I won't go there, honey..... It is true though.
All thinking men are Athiests. You have to question things to think, right?
I liked it pretty good. Probably going to read another soon.
I'm off to head outside and stare at Mars and the Moon, then read a little more before bed.