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A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

Language and Communication Theme

The characters in A Farewell to Arms struggle for understanding through effective communication, and we struggle right along with them. The novel shows that in times of war this struggle is intensified. Effective communication can mean the difference between life and death on the battlefield. Pages and pages of stunning dialogue bring communication down to a very personal level. And, because it’s Hemingway, what’s not spoken or directly communicated is as important as what we are directly told. This Modernist classic, and Hemingway’s style in general, continues to influence literary, journalistic, and even personal modes of communication.

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. Are there examples of miscommunication and/or communication breakdowns in the novel, either in terms of the war, or on a personal level? If so where?
  2. Do you think Ernest Hemingway is a good communicator? What about Frederic? Catherine?
  3. What are some of the different ways news of the war is transmitted?

Chew on This

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

Because so much important information is left out of A Farewell to Arms, it fails to accurately communicate its message.

Catherine and Frederic demonstrate that couples don’t have to fight to get along.

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