Homework for April holidays 2011

1 Reading ‘A Farewell to Arms’.

Students trying to achieve a good ATAR score, please read the passages I’ve suggested in the handout. They amount to only 34 pages, half of which are the final chapter. It will take you several hours to read this much. Please read the passages slowly, trying to imagine the people and the places so that you bring alive the scene inside your head.

An optional activity for students who succeed in reading the whole novel is to complete the essay outlined in the separate handout sheet: ‘Is Frederic a hero?’

Students not needing an ATAR score please try to read these passages also, as you too must still do the SAC on this text.

2 Language Analysis – the SAC for this part of the course takes place three weeks after the ‘A Farewell to Arms’ SAC, so it is necessary to begin work on language analysis now.
Students wanting high ATAR scores please do the two letters and the email.

Students not needing a high score please do the email and one letter.

Send completed work to me over the holidays and feel free to email me for extra work – prompts - or if you have any concerns. If you don’t have an internet connection, no problems, just bring the work to school on the first Wednesday back.

Hemingway A Farewell to Arms (34 essential pages )

Book One Gorizia, Pava, Isonso River.

  • 50 -57 Hit by trench mortar. Portrayed as loved and respected.

Book II Milan

After Frederic is wounded he is sent to the American Hospital in Milan, central Italy, far from the conflict. There he meets Miss Barkley again and they fall in love

Ch 14 82-85 Catherine appears. In love, in bed.

Ch 16 92-96 They are passionate in ‘our’ room.

Catherine finds that she is pregnant. This is a huge problem for them both although they don’t really express their anxieties. For Catherine, it is unacceptable for a young woman of her status in society to be pregnant and unmarried and pregnant to someone her family doesn’t even know. For Frederic, the fear is that he may die in battle and leave his beloved and their child to fend for themselves in the war because Catherine’s family back in Scotland may well reject her. In many scenes the actions of people the reader barely knows suggest that Frederic has had another life as a rich playboy.

Ch 18 101-105 The waiter loans 100 lire. They think about the future. He is worried about a baby and wants to marry. Catherine doesn’t want to marry. She comes across as sensible and mature fatalistic and brave. He is vowing love. This chapter hints at darker themes.

Ch 19 Catherine. (112-114) Her fear of rain. (Note how the novel ends.)

Although Frederic contracts jaundice – a liver disease he contracts probably as a consequence of the amount of alcohol he consumes, he is eventually well enough to be ordered back to the front. It is hard for him to leave Catherine. from the large amount of secret drinking he does page 123 ‘I’ve never had a baby and I’ve never even loved anyone.’ ‘I could cut off my tongue.’ ‘Life isn’t hard to manage when you’ve nothing to lose.’ C.

Book 111 Gorzia, Udine and Caporella

Back at Gorzia Fred meets his Italian surgeon friend who in his absence has become bitter and self-destructive – either working or drinking and seeing girls. Read page 153

The Austrians begin an advance and a decision is made by the Italian high command to pull back all the Italian troops – a retreat. P167. ‘In a retreat what do we do with the wounded? ‘They take as many as they can and leave the rest.’ Fred makes no comment.

They begin the retreat in the rain. One of Fred’s ambulances picks up two young frightened girls (of course the civilians in the area retreat with the soldiers). The retreat is chaotic.

Ch 29 181-185 Bogged and Fred shoots a sergeant. Why? Gives the two frightened civilian girls a ten lira note and tells them to go.

Ch 30 The retreat. Aymo, one of his men is randomly shot and his body left on the river bank. Fred is halted after crossing a bridge and is captured with other officers who are being summarily shot. He fears that they will mistake him for a spy because of his English accent. They are shooting officers who have left their men. Escape. Read page 197-200

Book IV Milan

Frederic jumps a freight train and makes his way back to Milan to find Catherine.

Ch 34 At the hotel he meets up with Catherine and Ferguson. Ferguson very upset with him. Fred. ‘But we were never lonely and never afraid when we were together. They decide to flee to Switzerland. They escape on a wet night helped by Emilio in the hotel. Emilio says he can return the money later. Emilio clearly knows Frederic well and likes and trusts him a great deal. Fred will be arrested as a deserter.

Ch 37 They row up Lake Maggiore and into the Swiss part of the lake.30 kilometres. Umbrella. Brandy and sandwiches. Land in Brissago. Breakfast. Arrested. They sweet talk the guards and are not arrested. Taken to Montreux Catherine is relentlessly cheery.

Book V Switzerland Autumn

Catherine and he stay in a Swiss chalet (mountain house) Discuss marriage. Catherine is realistic. Hints of her narrow hips which may cause birthing problems. Fred, is a little anxious despite their blissful love. They move to another city, Lausanne, to be closer to hospital.

Ch 41 Read all this chapter. Catherine in labour. Positive, cheery comments with the early pain. He thinks she may die. So, finally, does she. Last sign of their love, a wink. She has no religion but F. prays for her survival. Caesarian Hemorrhage. Boy dies just before her. Stoic farewells. He leaves alone in the rain.

A Farewell to Arms Essay One

Is Frederic brave?

Ask yourself what you believe. Why do you believe that? Because you remember parts of the novel which you feel show that. All you need to do is explain why that evidence shows what you believe. Then you have to find more evidence. The essay is really good or bad according to the evidence you find and the way you explain it. That means you have to think.

Do not use ‘I’ in these text essays. Make them impersonal. You may use ‘I’ in context essays but not in text essays.

Paragraph Introduction

Either as an opening sentence or as a closing sentence to this paragraph say whether you agree with this comment. Is he brave or not?

In the introduction you should provide some background. Who is Frederic? What happens to him. About 6 to 8 lines.

One of the big questions in the novel is whether Frederic is a hero or not. This is because he participated in the retreat from Caporetto fleeing the Germans, then from the carabinieri at the bridge, then from the authorities in Stresa. Is he brave, is he a coward or is it intelligent? Mention these incidents without explaining them in detail.


What is bravery? You define it.

P126 ‘The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one?’ Frederic misquoting.
Followed by Catherine’s take on what Fred has said. ‘The brave dies perhaps two thousand deaths if he’s intelligent. He simply doesn’t mention them.’ p126
Who is right? Thinking about what they have said here will help you a great deal with this essay.

Paragraph No he isn’t brave

He says so on p126. That he’s like a ball player. Just mediocre. So, in his own opinion he’s not all that brave.

‘And I’m very brave when I’ve had a drink.’ (ie Dutch courage.) Is this true?

P222 ‘…the world kills the very brave impartially.’ So why bother being brave. There are no rewards.

He flees to Stresa to find Caherine and escape - ‘makes his separate peace’ p217

The key to the question is to consider how far his desertion from the Italian army is cowardice. On a number of occasions he is told by Rinaldi, by his own men and even the priest and Count Greffi that the war is futile. So he has perhaps some justification or he can work out a self-justification. Anything else would be stupid. Catherine tries to find a justification for him ‘…only the Italian army.’ P224

‘the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago.’ p165.

Heavy drinking. Is this because he’s scared?

Ambulance service – not directly in danger.

P292 ‘started to cry’. Is crying the act of a brave person?

Paragraph Yes he is brave
It is brave to desert – he is brave in the retreat from Caporetto. At the bridge and when he makes a dash for it.
Wounded and receives his wound stripe. He’s stoic in pain

Joins up as as a foreigner and really doesn’t have to.

Doesn’t appear to believe in God. Is is brave to not believe in God?
Is not dishonest to Catherine. Telling lies is cowardice. Honesty is bravery.

Final paragraph

Never begin the last paragraph with ‘In conclusion…’ - too much of a cliché.
Try to save a good idea for this final paragraph, or finish by talking about the end of the novel – and as you do so refer once more to the question – his bravery. That is, you could talk about his emotional reaction to her death. Is it a brave reaction? Make sure you finish by referring back to the question.