“A Modern Man in the Trap.” Re-understanding A Farewell to Arms in It’s Historical Subtext: A New Historicist’s Reading

A.K.M. Aminur Rashid


This paper draws on the New Historicist reading of A Farewell to Arms. It argues on the protagonist, Lieutenant Frederic Henry’s experience of WWI and how he feels distanced from his root. He is haunted by the meaninglessness of his life. His bidding farewell to the war and elopement, though shows him a lead a good life in the beginning, results in futile ultimately. A New Historicist reading of the novel explores that Hemingway juxtaposes the social and political context in the novel. Making Henry in his destitute condition, Hemingway delivers a message of cruelty throughout. The peace he signs with Catherine is merely a part-time happiness that Henry thoroughly fails to understand. In short, Henry’s life reflects how Hemingway shutters the idea of association and peace when wars break out. That is why Henry meditates on Catherine’s death in Switzerland, where they find themselves out of all warfare. In the beginning, Henry is dominated by the spirit of the American Dream until it cracks down; secondly, by the heroism of WWI until he is physically injured and thirdly, by Catherine’s love until she dies. To Hemingway, he becomes short. In fact, the analysis finds out a modern man  in the trap.


Ernest Hemingway; A Farewell to Arms; New Historicism; War; Love; Alienation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/10628


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