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A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms

by Ernest Hemingway

The Priest

Character Analysis

Why doesn’t the priest get a name? Is it because he’s supposed to be a generic priest? Not likely. This is a very specific priest. We know where his family lives. We know where he’s from. Maybe the omission of his name has to do with the idea of this as a confessional narrative, as we discuss in "Tone," "Point of View," and Frederic’s "Character Analysis." Of course, the priest, as far as we know doesn’t hear Frederic’s full confession. But Frederic does confess that he doesn’t "love" God, and that he "doesn’t love." Maybe the priest doesn’t get a name to protect the figurative sanctity of Frederic’s confession. Nobody is supposed to know who confesses what to whom. That’s the whole deal. That way you can’t go and make the priest tell what is supposed to be confidential. The fact that the priest doesn’t have a name heightens the confessional tone of the novel as a whole.

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