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A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms


by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms Theme of Foreignness and the Other

A Farewell to Arms often neutralizes difference springing from differing political and geographic identities. At times, when one group of men is firing on another group of men, such differences surge to the forefront. The novel features an American man and an English woman who meet in Italy during World War I. They both work tending the wounded during World War I. And when there’s pain involved, we are all from the same country. The country of pain. But pain is not the only thing that neutralizes foreignness in Ernest Hemingway’s tragic romance. Love does an even better job. The novel is a loving portrait of Italy, and its people, even the foreigners.

Questions About Foreignness and the Other

  1. What does Rinaldi mean when he says Frederic is Italian inside? Do you agree with Rinaldi? Is Rinaldi talking about something besides nationality? If so, what else might he be discussing?
  2. How does Frederic interact with the Italians he meets? How does Catherine?
  3. What are the different nationalities we see represented in the novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Frederic’s winning personality guarantees that he won’t be a foreigner anywhere in the world.

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