Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Farewell to Arms: 42% Complete

I'm really enjoying A Farewell to Arms so far.  Hemingway's writing is so raw and terse and real.  The fact that he was an ambulance driver himself during the first world war means that his descriptions of the front are realistic and detailed.  I'm racing through it and I expect to be done in the next day or two.  After Faust, it almost feels like reading children's literature.
I chose the quote for today because I think it is representative of Hemingway's writing; the way he chooses words and phrases that show how the characters feels.  In this piece, Lt. Henry is getting to know Catherine Barkley.
"I held her close against me and could feel her heart beating and her lips opened and her head went back against my hand and then she was crying on my shoulder. 
'Oh, darling,' she said. 'You will be good to me, won't you?'
What the hell, I thought.  I stroked her hair and patted her shoulder.  She was crying."
The way he says he thought "What the hell" and the way he says, twice, that she was crying, brings to mind that combination of frustration and confusion that many men feel when women display unexpected emotions.
Because this is so much easier to read than Faust, I know most of the vocabulary words, but there are a few words borrowed from Italian that I had to look up.  So today's word is "carabiniere" which means "a member of the Italian paramilitary police."
I expect that I will be finished with this very soon, so now I just have to decide what I want to read next.  Suggestions?

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