“I’m not brave any more darling. I’m all broken. They’ve broken me.Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
My first encounter with A Farewell to Arms was through the 1932 movie version with Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes:
It soon became one of my favorite Gary Cooper movies and, like I usually do, I wanted to read the original story so I picked up the Hemingway book.I’ve never spent much time with Hemingway, only Old Man and the Sea(thumbs down) and A Moveable Feast (thumbs up). So I wasn’t very curious about Hemingway until I saw this movie but I’m a sucker for romantic tragedies and thought I’d give this book a try after watching the movie. Having finished it, yesterday, my first thought was that the movie was quite different and more tragic than the book.
SPOILERS follow if you haven’t seen the movie.
In the movie, Frederic deserts the Italian army and finds his way to Catherine not knowing she is pregnant and has left for Switzerland. Once he finally is reunited with her, it is too late and she dies in his arms. Reading the book, I knew Catherine would die but I didn’t know that she and Frederic had time together before tragedy befalls them. Knowing that they have the time together, for me, lessened the tragic punch of the story. Also, Frederic’s reasons for leaving the army are different which, in the book, makes the desertion more understandable.
I found the dialogue in the book to be repetitive, with all the “you’re a fine girl”, etc. Is Hemingway always like this? Is there another Hemingway novel I should read?
All in all, I enjoyed the book but prefer the movie, which I found more romantic and sad (plus it did have Gary Cooper).