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What A Beautiful Bridge Essay

3397 words - 14 pages


David Wharton Dr. Northcutt ENG 1020-04 April 10, 2012 “What a Beautiful Bridge” In the writing of A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway employs symbolism in many forms. Hemingway uses water in various states throughout the progression of the novel such as the use of rain and rivers to symbolize life and love as well as death and danger. Hemingway uses symbols to allude to the events that will occur in the coming chapters of the novel if the reader is keen to heed them. Hemingway’s use of the “bridge” and the rivers they cross, represent the lives of people and the hazards people encounter when they approach and cross a bridge in an effort to reach what is waiting on the other side. ...view middle of the document...

Hemingway was very aware of what patriotism, honor and glory meant in the perpetuation of wars and in the development of the sentiment echoed by a nation’s citizens. Hemingway’s public voice was ingeniously hidden in the masked voice of his fiction as stated by Robert O. Stephens in his great work, Hemingway’s Non-Fiction, The Public Voice: “I am without politics,” said Hemingway’s old man at the Ebro Bridge, and to many readers of Hemingway that fictional statement has been the epitome of his political awareness, whether spoken form behind the mask of fiction or said in his own right. But in spite of such frequent assertions […] that Hemingway lacked politics, his journalism and essays indicate a considerable amount of political thought and, beyond that, a coherent political view of twentieth century events. An understanding of that political vision provides not only insight into the thinking behind a surprising amount of Hemingway’s fiction but also a more dynamic view of Hemingway’s political motives than is generally suspected (180).

Wharton3 Hemingway makes a profound statement exposing his feelings for war and why it is waged in this opening description by Frederic Henry. Henry’s metaphors reflect the feelings of a nation that had been inundated by propaganda and why a war should be fought. “There were small gray motor cars that passed going very fast; usually there was an officer on the seat with the driver and more officers in the back seat. They splashed more mud than the camions even and if one of the officers in the back was very small and sitting between two generals, he himself so small that you could not see his face but only the top of his cap and his narrow back, and if the car went especially fast it was probably the King. He lived in Udine and came out in this way nearly every day to see how things were going, and things went very badly” (4). In this paragraph, the car is the policy of the government to act in waging war. The government uses propaganda to enlist support for the decision to wage war and to cast its citizens into battle for whatever ideal they are slinging. The policies of governments are controlled by a Ruler and his advisors under the guise of being in the best interest of the people. The real motivations of the government are hidden between the General’s shoulders and only the surface of the governments intentions are told to the governed. Moving fast and without regard for the consequences to the lives of those that will do the fighting and the suffering, they are told to keep marching, marching into certain danger and death for the glory of the state. The people are persuaded to support the policies of the rulers by the mud or propaganda that is rained down on them. The Camions, heavy load trucks, and soldiers are forced to carry out the burdens of these policies by doing all the heavy work and carrying out the hard duty that is thrust on the grunt, the true fighter of these wars. Danger and uncertainty,...

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