Chapter 9 of A Farewell to Arms is a real turning poitn in the story as it is in this chapter that Frederick is wounded. It is in a certain way the true begining of Frederick's war.
To begin with, in the first pages of the chapter, the words "circus" and "native village" seem very theatrical to describe the front. Moreover the words "native village" can express the lack of civilization of the war and the distance or the exoticism that the narrator feels between him and the war. This clearly shows that Frederick doesn't take the war very seriously or that is doesn't seem very dangerous to him. On top of this, whenever the narrator mentions the dugouts, it is in a positive way. He says that they are "very good" and that he feels "relaxed" in them. The dugouts are supposed to be a horrible place but here it is the complete opposite: they eat, drink and smoke in them, they feel relaxed and seem disconnected from the reality of the war outside. This either shows that the narrator is very naive and doesn't truly understand the war or that he uses the dugouts to create an illusion of safety, considering what is about to befall them. Another way for the author to create an illusion of safety is the use of comic relief or irony. When Frederick calls the other drivers "patriots" he is clearly being ironic and is trying to look detached. He is being ironic to forget the fear and the war and not to let the others know that he is afraid.
The evolution of light is also important in this chapter. In the beginning, "the sun [is] going down" but just as the story, it is getting darker outside and light is disappearing whereas war is approaching. The light slowly disappearing may forecast what will happen a few pages after; Frederick will be wounded. As long as the sun is up and that it isn't completely dark, Frederick is not afraid and even feels relaxed. But as soon as it is dark, the first bombings start and fear slowly overtakes the soldiers.
There are a few references to fate as well as to Christ. In the beginning Frederick describes the front as "a one road show". It shows that indeed there is only one way to go and that he doesn't have a choice. He also says a few pages later: "I'll take what you can give me". Literally he is speaking about food but implicitly about life. He will take what life will give him: good or bad, death or life. He doesn't have any power over this. It may forecast the end of the book and his powerlessness when facing it. The sentence "Lift it high Tenente" may be an allusion to the Last Supper as if Frederick was Christ, Once again this might forecast the end of the chapter as it is the last true meal that they will have together. Frederick is compared to Christ another time at the end of the chapter when he has been rescued but insists on the fact that he doesn't need to be healed right now. He is portrayed as a savior, sacrificing himself like Christ.
The most important part of this chapter is of course the moment when Frederick is wounded. The way Hemingway describes this scene is very interesting and particular. Indeed it feels like everything is happening in slow motion because Hemingway describes every detail but at the same time the reader feels that it is happening very fast. Hemingway's style is innovative because at this time they didn't have much in terms of slow motion movies or special effects as we have today but nevertheless he manages to describe it the way we would imagine it with all of these modern effects. Moreover, he evokes what his five senses perceive to make the reader understand that this war profoundly touches every single part of you and it also makes the scene look a lot more realistic.
The other important part of this passage is Passini's death. This scene is very tragic because, even though the reader can't see him, he can imagine Passini agonizing, screaming because of the pain and begging God for mercy. It feels unfair to see him dying as he was the most pacific of the drivers. Indeed in one of their conversations, Passini says "there's nothing worse than war". Maybe he is the first one to die because of his ideas, which are similar to –though stronger than- the narrator's ideas. His death may forecast the end of the book and what will happen to the narrator as if it was a message. It might also be a way to convey his loss of belief in mankind and in life in so far as the wise and “respectful” always die first.
Once he is rescued, Frederick realizes for the first time in the book, the true impact of war as he has seen Passini die in front of him: "Passini's dead." "Yes. He's dead." Clearly there is nothing more to say. He then meets an English man that lies to the doctor so that Frederick can be healed more quickly. The English man says that Frederick is the legitimate son of President Wilson. This shows a certain lack of unity in the Italian army as Frederick doesn't mind being healed before the other Italian soldiers. But more importantly, it’s another element of comic relief, allowing the tension to ease up a bit. At the end of the chapter, Frederick is in the ambulance and begins to feel the pain due to his wound, From that moment pain becomes the most important thing for him, nothing else matters, not even the dying man above him that is losing all his blood. In fact, the deaths don't seem to bother anybody as when the man dies they just replace him with another body. Nobody is touched by the deaths anymore, they are so many they got used to it and are well aware there is no point in trying to do or say anything.
In chapter 9, we finally see some changes in the character of Frederick. He is wounded and realizes what war is really about. This chapter will impact the whole story as it will permit Frederick and Catherine to live their love story to the fullest but also marks the end of Frederick's naiveté and innocence. He will no longer be able to ignore his place in the war or the war itself.
Ludmila, with Khalil & Yoen
Monday 19th : groups reveal their scene selection (funny, tragic, action). Be prepared for a brief justification of your choices. Each group will be assigned one different scene. Staging begins.
Wednesday 21st and Friday 23rd : oral presentations on the six essays given before Christmas, with written version handed out to me.
Monday 26th : test on « War in chapter 9 »
Friday 30th : staging/acting.
PLEASE BE REMINDED OF YOUR TEST ON THE REPRESENTATION OF WAR FROM CHAPTERS 5 TO 8, ON FRIDAY 16TH.
Today, we are going to talk about the representation of war in chapters 7 and 8, in the novel A Farewell to Arms written by Hemingway.
As already mentioned in the previous presentations, war is becoming more and more present in this book, its presence more palpable, but as is typically the case in this book, it’s impossible to know what to expect given that moments of serenity are never very long, and tension generally eases up rather quickly. Here again, the narrator is not really involved in this war, even if the fighting is much closer than before.
At the beginning of chapter 7, on page 31, a sentence draws attention, when the narrator says ‘’the sky was very bright and blue and the road was white and dusty‘’. First, the words ‘’ bright ‘’ and ‘’ blue ‘’ are symbols of happiness and push the reader to imagine that everything is ok. So there is a big contrast between these words and what is actually going on, namely the war. Then there is another contrast between the sky, the soldiers, and the road they are walking. Indeed, the soldiers are described as ‘’ sweating ‘’, ‘’hot’’, and as ‘’dusty” as the road. The dirty road, the soldiers and the war can represent filth and hell, whereas the sky, which is ‘’blue‘’ and ‘’bright‘’, represents purity and heaven. Again, the mix of these antithetic elements makes it difficult to anticipate anything good or anything bad.
Thanks to this description of the sky, the reader is entitled to expect something positive should happen, but in this case, it is … not the case. It is just as if the negative effects of the war were as strong as the positive effects of the pleasant weather. Moreover, the question is to know why the soldiers are sweating : is it because they are actually fighting, or is it just because the action takes place in summer, and that everybody is sweating at that time in the year, even if they have nothing to do but walk. A farmer or a construction worker would be sweating too. So far, Hemingway describes situations that can be adapted to a war context, but not only to a war context, hence a touch of indecisiveness in the reader’s mind.
On page 32, the narrator helps a soldier to injure himself, so he doesn’t have to go on the front. It so happens that this other soldier is also an American and it leads to the understanding that the two Americans are both outsiders and that they are not involved in the war the way true Italians, or true Europeans may be. The narrator tries to be involved but not in the way he should be as an officer. He is both in and out. In the same way, at the bottom of page 33, it is said that the narrator came back to the villa at 5 o’clock pm. That means that he doesn’t work long, as if it was a regular job. After these first three pages of chapter 7, the interpretation of the reader about the narrator is uncertain, as a reflection of Frederick’s motivation in the war
At the bottom of page 38, the narrator explains that due to the absence of Catherine he ‘’suddenly felt (…) lonely and empty ‘’ and he also says at the last line of the chapter: ‘’when I could not see her there I was feeling lonely and hollow ‘’. This is arguably the first time in the novel that the narrator expresses deep feelings and it is little surprise that they have nothing to do with the war.
Margot, with Killian, Marie & Sarah.
Chapter 5 and 6
We are going to analyze the representation of war in chapters 5 and 6 of A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. In these chapters we will see that the idea that Frederick is an outsider is emphasized but this time with the others’ vision about him, and he will also be playing another role.
Chapter 5 opens with the narrator paying a visit to Catherine. At the hospital, he has a conversation with the “head nurse”, who tells him: “there is a war on, you know”. The sentence is really ironic and is used to remind him that it is a time of war. The expression “you know” could imply he has forgotten what war is, even if it is told ironically.
“You’re the American in the Italian army”: means Frederick is unique and seen as an outsider because it is as if he were the only American in the Italian army, the truth is that he is famous for his difference.
The head nurse continues and specifically asks why he, an American, joined the Italian army. His answer is unclear: he says that he “happened to be in Italy” and “spoke Italian”. This idea is that it can be only by chance or coincidence that he joined the Italian army. On his side, as he does not give a proper reason, we can see he has no real reason too.
On the one hand, the nurse’s words are harsh and violent, but on the other hand, what she says is not totally a reproach. Indeed, she continues the conversation talking about how she only spends her time learning the “beautiful” language that is Italian. They talk about Italy, the “beautiful language”, the “beautiful uniforms”, which also means she is not that overworked herself.
On page 22, we can notice that there is a lot of descriptions of the damages of the war. “There was what was left of a railway station and a smashed permanent bridge that could not be repaired and used”. There are “broken places”. We can say that Frederick now realizes what war has destroyed. However, his position of outsider is still confirmed in the sense that war is here something of the past, things have been destroyed but are not being destroyed any more. Likewise, the use of such phrases as “would start”, “could” and ‘was-to” are actually used in sentences that start with “if”. So, it means that what Frederick says is hypothetical, as if he talked about a “virtual war” or not a “real” war yet. War is either behind or ahead, it is never really here.
When Frederick goes into the trenches, as he was “visiting” them, it makes us think of a tourist, whereas a battlefield is not a beautiful place that is supposed to attract people. So, if he is a tourist, adding that to his “useless presence”, he should not be here. To continue with, when we read the surprising sentence “I had a drink with the captain and went back across the bridge”: there is no military reason of his visit: he went into the trenches just to drink, as it was more important than war. In fact, the passage shows us that he tries to keep himself busy, busy drinking.
In the same passage, he uses the words “the Italian lines”. The author could have written “our” or “we” but he wants to show that Frederick does not count himself as part of those “lines”. Frederick does think the Italian side is his side, as he should think. It could mean he feels quite neutral. But what is important is that he is not involved, or at least, he does not feel the necessity of being involved and patriotic.
In the same passage, we noticed the use of the three adjectives “quiet, hot, dirty” by Hemingway. They were not picked without a reason. In fact, they are the opposite meaning of “clear, cold and dry”. It could mean that he feels and experiences for the first time the atmosphere of war, he explicitly states what we understood a few pages before: war is not something clean…
As he and some carabinieri are being bombarded without any of them being hit, the narrator insists on describing what he sees, hears and smells as if the sensory aspect of events was more important to him than danger or strategic matters, as if war was no more than some experience of the senses. Again his detachment is perceptible. The fact no one is injured installs an idea of impossibility in a time where casualties are not counted anymore. Death had to happen now but does not occur: it does not kill him. This fact can be taken to make the situation almost funny, which links to the “funny life” that Rinaldi thinks he is living. It is completely absurd because unprotected, they don’t get hit whereas they will get hit despite the protection of the dugout in chapter 9. Again, everything is reversed.
Now, let’s focus on the “narrow road”. As there was only one, it refers to the road of his life, as if he had a ready-made path and only one direction, no other possibility than following his destiny. Theoretically, it conveys the idea that he is made to be an outsider in this war and not be in a useful place: that is his destiny. Hemingway might be denouncing that not everyone was heroic in the war.
This can be linked to the expression “funny life” which is not quite what we would have said about his life. Indeed, there is the war but it doesn’t seem to affect him. So, Frederick feels like a tourist, talks about the damages with the word “nasty place”, and about pleasure with “funny life”. These words don’t feel appropriate to the real situation. Everything seems irrelevant and the contrary of what should be intended. However, this only road could also be the cause of the “mess” page 22. Or else, it is an ominous sign that death is the only outcome.
That same evening, Henry returns and meets Catherine. They discuss her nursing duties, until the sentence “let’s drop the war” appears. In this war context, the verb “drop” appears completely inappropriate. It is too light and seems easy to say: it implies that you drop the war or you just leave it. It makes the reader visualize an object falling, for example, a bomb in this war context. The irony is that if they had not dropped the war, their romance would have never existed and Frederick would have never been shattered by her death, the way she had been shattered by her fiancé’s death after he was “blown to bits” when another “bomb” was “dropped” on him. They agree not to talk about it. They could be trying to create a world of their own, apart from the horrors of war: maybe because they want to clear their minds and think about a different topic, but ironically again, it is not the war that will “kill” them – at least morally for Frederick- but their attempts at dropping it.
Furthermore, Catherine answers: “it’s very hard”, where we can see she can’t forget what happened to her fiancé. There is a difference of knowledge and perspective about war between Catherine, who already experienced the war at least emotionally and can’t forget it, and Frederick’s inexperienced perspective.
As we already mentioned previously, Henry calls his life “funny” which is not the word which first comes to mind. Indeed he is a soldier in the Italian army: his life should be repetitive, horrible, sad: everything but not funny. It could mean that he doesn’t know what his life is.
A different perspective on war can be found in chapter 6.
First, the chapter begins with a description of the hospital, which evokes death through war. The hospital is described like a cemetery. As soon as he comes in he sees “marble busts”, and actually, it reminds him of graves. The idea could cast a shadow on the story and foretell the end of the book, when he compares Catherine to a statue.
Frederick then admits that he “wore a real gas mask and felt like a gunman”, add that to the “ridiculous short barrel” he holds. Everything is fine, until he practices with it: he feels ashamed, lost, and does not know where he belongs anymore.
In fact, the “real masks” and the “uncomfortable” and “too bloody theatrical helmets” evoke theatre and acting. So the actor is actually Frederick. What the author is trying to say here is that when you act, you are not yourself, you play a role. Indeed, the “masks” and the “helmets” are seen as accessories, not real ones, and the clothes can only be seen as costumes. This idea is also linked to the war described as a “show” in chapter one. Now we can see how Frederick plays a role, and why indeed, he is an outsider.
The words “real gas mask” are used here as if the previous ones were false, and also as if he was surprised they were real, given that everything else gives him a sense of “false soldiering”. Frederick is ashamed of wearing an Italian gun in front of the English people. He is not involved as a true actor but still acts. In reality, this war is not a good play and Frederick is a bad actor. He is not a good actor in his love life with Miss Barkley, and not a good actor as well in the war.
Rinaldi, is also an actor. At the same moment indeed, he “carried a holster stuffed with toilet paper”. Thus, there is no real difference between the two bad actors that are Frederick and Rinaldi. Indeed, no difference can be found between a fake gun and a gun that you can’t use: both are useless. Unfortunately, when you are not a good actor, shame increases, and you want to be somewhere else, just like Frederick. That’s how we understand that he is “uncomfortable” and feels “ridiculous”.
After that, the couple plays "a rotten game." Catherine understands that they are using each other to escape the war in their own way: Frederick through love and women, Catherine, by pretending to find a replacement for her lost love. So far, both love and war can be seen as some Italian “comedia del arte”.
In conclusion, we can observe an evolution of the representation of war between chapter 5 and chapter 6 and the beginning of the book. Indeed, in chapter 5 Frederick still can’t see – except retrospectively and virtually - what war can do and can destroy. However, in chapter 6, his vision has changed, he seems to know more about what is war and death but still keeps his position of outsider. Finally, in chapter 5 he is not quite involved in the war whereas in chapter 6 he has a role, he is an actor in a play even if he is not a good actor.
Fara, with Nina, Manon & Matahari.
Hemingway's novel A Farewell to Arms offers one of the most accurate depictions of war in literature. In chapters 3 and 4 more particularly, we note a number of elements related to the theme of war that, besides, is the main one in the novel together with love. In these chapters, the place given to war has growing importance, and it has an almost palpable presence, however distant it may feel. Hemingway's writing suggests that Henry and his entourage are outsiders to the war, and he uses Nature as a mirror for the situation of warfare at the front, introducing the reader to the idea of “false soldiering”, and loss of a sense of purpose.
In these chapters it is confirmed that Henry is an outsider to war notably with numerous descriptions, starting with portraits of his weapons. As a matter of fact, his Austrian rifle and his war weapons are described as decoration items. He calls them “picturesque” but develops a weird sense of admiration for these items. We can say that he thinks of his weapons as beautiful for their aesthetic and does not see their real meaning consequently indicating his outsider position. Moreover, the fact that the equipment is described as "lovely" or "shiny" stands in stark contrast with usual depictions, as we may think that they should be dirty, and covered in mud. This indicates that they are not used, and once again they are reduced to decorating the room, a proof of Henry's distance from the war and of the fact that he is not directly affected by it. Moreover, we can say that this can be foretelling of Frederick’s realization about his rifle; he will eventually realize that they are instruments of war and death.
When describing the sound of war at the beginning of chapter 4, the narrator uses the word "nuisance" which is definitely not the word that would first come to one's mind for such description. As a matter of fact, one may expect adjectives such as “horrifying” or “hammering” to describe war’s noise. We can state that he is talking about the war with an understatement with only consequence to make his “pajamas flap”. In the same way, a fully committed soldier should be up and about before the firing begins.
The “brown” mountains, described in the beginning of chapter 3 create an idea of distance as the war is happening there, creating opposition to Nature. This also is the last apparent consequence of death and war on Nature and creates a sense of distance of the war as the mountains are far away from the narrator.
Nature is indeed a very important theme in these chapters as it influences the whole mood of the chapters and mirrors the situation.
Spring is here associated to joy and revival “it was a lovely spring morning”; the endless rain is gone and now replaced by sun and happiness: the snow has melted. This also is surprising as the primary sense of death of the book seems to have disappeared in those lines. But there is a sense of build up, the snow has left and “more guns” have arrived, death is coming but they do not know when “there will be an offensive”.
This war seems to be an antithesis to other types of war as it is described as “picturesque” and “beautiful” even if “more guns” are here. One should bear in mind that the latter two adjectives are first used by Catherine and might reflect her impression that compared to what happened to her fiancé in France, this is indeed so unusually quiet and harmless that it may seem “picturesque” and “beautiful”.
Everything is clean, green and calm, too calm. This gives the reader the feeling of calm before a storm, or in this case, before a battle. “The fields were green and there were small green shoots on the vines [...] green on their slopes” and “the war starts again next week”, we could accordingly say that Hemingway is describing nature as picturesque and beautiful, thus not connecting it to war. This is another antithesis as green is associated to nature, hope and life but also to sickness and failure.
Frederick seems to unconsciously sense a war/battle coming, indeed he says “There was the beginning of a feeling of dryness in the nose that meant [it] could be hot later on” as if he foreshadowed what is going to happen as the plot develops. We could also add that it seems like nature itself is giving him a sign that there will be war again, this relayed when Rinaldi says “the war starts again next week”.
“False soldiering” plays a very important role in Hemingway’s portrait of war. Revealed by his discussion with Miss Barkley, and Frederick's feelings about his leave, it gives a realistic view on people's mentality during wartime.
In chapter 4, Frederick meets Catherine Barkley in a garden while his friend Rinaldi sits to talk with Nurse Ferguson. Catherine talks about her dead fiancé whom she lost in the battle of the Somme. While talking about him she states that she thought he would come back with a few “sabre cuts” and “few injuries” but then says that he was “blown to bits”. Hence the mentality of many people of the time who thought that war was just like in the movies and had a romantic, patriotic and highly "picturesque" vision of war, conversely confronted to its morbid reality when she says “That's the end of it”. This can also be a foreshadowing when Henry will be wounded, transported to the hospital and taken care of by Miss Barkley. We could add that she seems to think everything is a “silly” joke as she mentions this word more in a lot of her dialogue.
In addition, Miss Barkley makes comments that are as ambiguous as interesting. In some cases, she even seems to have a better understanding of war than Henry himself, like when she states that "people can't realize what France is like", "He didn't have a sabre cut. They blew him all to bits", two quotes that translate her disillusion about the war after her fiancé’s death, and explain her pessimistic view on the continuing of the war : "we'll crack". On the other hand, she gives the impression that she isn't very well informed on the war, and as Henry states later on in the novel, she sounds a little crazy : “I've heard about it", "This is close to the front isn't it ?", "It's a silly front", "are they going to have an offensive ?", "I remember having a silly idea". This somehow discredits her pertinent remarks and leaves us wondering whether she really knows what she is talking about or only repeating what she has heard from others.
Rinaldi seems to indicate that false soldiering is a very important part of the army as he says “self inflicted wounds [...] a few real wounded” thus indicating that most soldiers are, as Frederick, not interested in the war and prefer to wound themselves to avoid it. There again, is a loss of the sense of purpose in the army. This is also linked to our first part, as it shows that the effects of war on the characters are still indirect, hence their inability to identify with it. Lastly, this passage could be seen as a foretelling as Henry will later desert the army, just like the men with self-inflicted wounds want to.
Throughout the novel, the characters constantly try to distract themselves from the war, and to escape its omnipresence, however distant it might be. This is why Rinaldi pretends to love every woman he meets. It is also what Henry is willing to do during his leave, thinking about anything but the war : he goes in bars and cafes and sleeps with a different woman every night : "I had gone to no such place [...]and not caring". But it doesn’t help him, or at least, not for very long and he is quickly bored and almost disgusted by the way he spent his leave. This, indeed, is clear when he talks to the priest and comes to the realization that he has wasted his precious time away from the front for nonsense. He hasn’t done what he has planned to do, that is to say visit the Abbruzzi, and he hasn’t had a great time either: "I myself felt as badly as he did". His drunken guilt expressed in a full paragraph of free indirect speech emphasizes his loss of a sense of purpose when far from the front: "I explained, wine-fully, how we did not do the things we wanted to do, we never did such things". Ironically, what was supposed to make him forget the front will eventually only make him miss it (Teacher’s question: Does he wish he had stayed in Gorizia or that he had gone to the “clean, cold and dry” Abruzzi? I choose the second option.) As a matter of fact, war fills Henry’s mind, and afflicts him like a headache, painful and most importantly chronic.
Despite Frederick missing the front, his return to Gorizia is purposeless.
When he comes back to the front, the realization that he is replaceable and that he isn't vital for the functioning of their small base strikes him rather violently, and seems to profoundly hurt him, even though he doesn't show it very much. He states: "I had imagined that the conditions of the car [...] Evidently, it did not matter whether I was here of not". Considering that his leave was not successful, and he would rather talk about the war front than telling others about this leave, coming back to the front, where he thought he would be at ease and seeing that he wasn't needed, must have shaken his convictions, that is if he had any. It must have reinforced his loss of a sense of purpose as well as his feeling of being an outsider, already strong because of him being an American in the Italian army. Indeed, he answers that “there is not an answer for everything” when Catherine Barkley asks him why he is a foreigner in the Italian army. Again, we can state that this chapter foreshadows when Frederick will desert from the Italian Army as he will realize that he does not belong there, and that it might actually get him killed.
The quote “the whole thing seemed to work better while I was way” shows, again, that he does not care about his leave but considers it as a distraction and he appears to prefer war which is why he regrets (Again, I tend to disagree, there is no conclusive sign of regret as to his uselessness, it doesn’t seem to bother him) that things work better without him. We could also add that when Rinaldi says “You talk like a time-table” he seems to indicate that Frederick speaks with no further description about his leave and just gives the facts. Lastly, his loss of a sense of purpose is shown by his many uncertainties. He does not know whether to go and report or clean up; he does not have an alarm clock thus not having a work day and doesn’t have a purpose and does not understand war. He does not know why he didn’t go to the Abruzzi ; he went to Milan, Firenze, Napoli… but did not enjoy it, he seems to feel drained and useless “It was all I had left it except that it was now spring”. In conclusion we could say that the narrator feels purposeless when it comes to his life.
As a conclusion, the distance of war from the main character does not prevent him from being completely absorbed by thoughts about the front. Even during his leave, he comes to miss being there (Again, I would say he blames himself for not going to the Abruzzi mountains and their purity, not for taking his leave). His return to a well functioning and "beautiful" front strengthens his feeling of worthlessness and leaves him even more purposeless. Ironically, he wants to participate in the war effort but he has no purpose and is an outsider to the war. As war doesn't affect him, he can't seem to identify with it. The chapters happen during a period of calm as war has stopped during winter, but instead, it creates a buildup of tension, reminding us that war is close, hidden amid the greenery of the landscape.
Pierre, Elisa, Céleste, Charlotte and Ralu
We’re going to talk about the representation of the war in chapters 1 and 2 of a Farewell to Arms.
First, the soldiers are represented as responsible for bringing nastiness and dirtiness with them, everywhere they go, even when the landscape is initially beautiful. « The leaves fell early that year » « the dust they raised » « the feeling of a storm coming »: these quotes announce the bad events that are going to happen later in the story, even though for now, nothing really seems to affect the narrator directly. The soldiers are represented like dirty men: « troops were muddy and wet in their capes ». Also, the word « grey » is repeated several times in the chapter, which we can link to the fact that at the beginning the reader doesn’t know if Frederick is an actor or a spectator. He is more of a spectator as the reader can guess from such expressions as “we saw”, we could see” or “we heard”. Grey represents indecision as it is somewhere between black and white.
We can also link the dirtiness brought by the soldiers to the cholera, which is mentioned and usually follows wars, bringing even more damages. The image of the soldiers’ weapons “bulging forward under their capes as though they were six months gone with child” convey the sense they are literally carrying death in their wombs, and might also foretell of Catherine’s still-born baby.
The grey which represents indecision could also be linked to the quote « the river had been captured very handsomely », hoping that it might be livable soon if the war should end quickly. This shows Frederic wants the war to end quickly as though he did not really care for winning while it was his choice to serve Italy: once more it shows that he has confused feelings. In the same time, as all the fighting evoked so far takes place in the distance or “in the mountains”, the narrator is not really affected physically but also emotionally as he coldly says that “only seven thousand” men died of the cholera in the army. Obviously none of these men was his friend. War is just something to be described, not to be taken part in. Likewise, the fact that he is the only one to go on leave as the snow arrives raises the question of how needed he truly is.
In chapter 2, we can see that the war is getting closer as it is “only a mile away” but still it is not quite there yet as the atmosphere is quite peaceful with a “fountain”, some “vines”, a “garden” as well as “very fine” house. Could it be a sort of paradise – the same as in the first lines of the book - waiting to be corrupted by the evil influence of war? Arguably the question makes sense as the war makes the soldiers do bad things, because of the situation they’re in, they just try to distract themselves « everyone ate very quickly and seriously » It shows that there is no leisure, no happiness, they don’t have enough to eat so when they do they eat until excess. Also, the war makes the impossible become possible, like in the quote: « priest to-day with girls » whereas we all know that it is strictly forbidden for a priest to have any kind of relationship with a woman. « The priest smiled and blushed » He doesn’t look shocked by all the sins happening around him, maybe he even thinks about this type of things too, which is totally unbelievable. It would never happen anywhere else than in a war. They also mention « finger games » « whore house » They talk a lot about sexuality as if they were trying to remember good old times. This being said, none of the above-mentioned "bad things" equal the horrors that can be committed when true war and true chaos happen, these horrors can simply be imagined, like with the "storm coming" in Chapter 1 or the "cloud coming" in chapter 2.
Finally we can also say that the pope is corrupted : « the pope wants the Austrians to win the war » « that’s where the money comes from » This means that the money from the war comes from Austria, the pope supports them even if they are supposed to be enemies.
In conclusion in these 2 chapters the war is represented as a potential source of corruption and perversion but it seems that the danger is not totally felt or understood by the narrator.
Shirel, Yulius, Elodie & Océane
Posted by Shirel.
The two texts, « the Taming of the Shrew » and « the Ballad of the Sad café » show or describe women in a completely opposite way. In the first text the woman owes « true obedience » to the man, whom she should always « serve, love and obey », because in the first text, the husband owns his wife, she is like an object. The first text tells us how women should be and how they should act whereas in the second text a woman is in a position of power over her husband and she has quite « a temper ». It is the extreme evolution of women from obedience to leading.
« Kneel for peace » in text 1 insinuates that disobedient women are man’s enemy because you only make peace with somebody you had an issue with. It also tells us that after kneeling, the woman would become the man’s prisoner or slave. This also shows that women should not even try to complain about being kept home : « too little payment so great a debt », this text keeps saying that women owe men.
« Head » tells us that a man is a woman’s brain and it emphasizes on the fact that society thought women could not live without men, as someone cannot live without their head. We can also understand by this word that men are the head of the group and that they were always leading, whereas women were just made to follow and obey orders.
The words « Duty, oweth » mean that as we said before, woman were in debt because they got to stay home “secure and safe” when men had to work hard to bring money and food. But we can see that it is contradictory because they made women stay home, women did not ask for it, on the contrary. You can’t blame someone for doing nothing and tell them they are good for nothing in the same time. Again, it was just an excuse to treat women like slaves.
In the second text, Miss Amelia seems to have taken the lead of the couple. Men of that time thought that she was behaving « inappropriately ». Her marriage day was supposed to be the happiest day of her life but she is described as having a « temper » and ignores him almost the whole time. The town was happy that Miss Amelia would get married, they thought that being loved and getting married would change her but it is not the case.
The way that everybody in town is disappointed by Miss Amelia’s indifference shows that they all want her to be domesticated: the text says to be « tamed down ». It is not only Marvin who wants his wife to be submitted to him, but all men – and maybe women, too - in town, and that just shows that this was an issue that affected not only one couple, not only one town, but probably an entire nation. The reason is that Amelia must be made “calculable”, that is to say predictable, controllable, which does not seem to be the case with independent women…
The order of the words « bride and groom » shows that she is the one who controls their couple and that he has to follow her. She reversed the roles.
At the wedding, when the bride walks two paces ahead of the groom and she makes him understand that he will be the one who obeys, we can suppose that she is giving him a choice, whether he wants to spend the rest of their life following and be the one who is submitted or not. We can also notice that the wedding ring is made of silver which is the usual symbol of feminine passivity. This shows that Amelia will be dominating in this text even if Marvin had other plans, as his gift suggests, let alone that a ring symbolizes the total devotion of the one wearing it.
Something that is also important and needs to be noticed is the way that there was also an extreme evolution of the education that was given to women. In the first text, upper-class women did not know anything that could enable them to fly with own wings outside the control of their husbands, and just stayed home reading poetry or playing some music and chatting with other bored women, waiting for their husbands whereas in text two, Miss Amelia is « reading the newspapers, the farmer’s almanac or writing a few words on her notepad ». These are things that professionally active men used to read, not women. This emphasizes even more the fact that Miss Amelia reversed the roles and is the one in charge.
As a conclusion I would like to say that it is important to notice the evolution of the woman’s role in society compared to men’s. As we can see in text two the equality of the two genders is still not perfect because even if in the second text the woman is the one dominating the couple, equality between the two genders still isn’t perfect. The two texts created pity for two different characters, showing that not only men can be in control in marriage.
Charlotte, with Ruben and Elodie.
In class we studied two different texts. One called “The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare in 1593 and the other one called “The Ballad of the Sad Café” by Carson Mc Cullers in 1953. Our group had to study the theme of the material and financial protection of an inactive wife and compare the texts.
In “The Taming of the Shrew”, the wife is considered as a slave and the husband is considered as a prince by her. He has absolute power on her because he is the head of the relationship and even though the story happened during the Renaissance the people in the story are acting as if they were in medieval times with a lord protecting his servants.
In “the Ballad of the sad Café” the husband is the one whom is being dominated by his wife as opposed to text one.
In text one the wife is the one whom is being dominated because she lives for her husband and he keeps her alive, he is her “keeper”, he not only looks after her but also he is like a jailer in her life, the one that keeps her locked up. The wife is locked in her marriage, she depends on her husband she may live like a princess but he is like her jailor so she is like a prisoner.
Her husband is the one who works really hard every day by sea and by land, day in and day out, from sun up to sun down, in the cold and in the rain while she is warm, secure and safe at home. Clearly, one understands that the “sacrifice” of the husband is bit exaggerated, as if the idea was to tell women that it’s much too difficult to be a man, and they had better stay home.
She is nothing without him because he is the one who works to bring the money home; it is also made evident when Katherina says he is “thy life”: no woman can survive without a husband.
In text 2, the wife is the one who dominates because she is the one that takes care of business, she reads the newspapers, and she takes care of the inventory of the stock. She does some things as if she was a man like drinking coffee and smoking with her father's pipe. In fact she is the man of the house and she takes care of business, something that Marvin did not see coming. Indeed, Marvin Macy saves up some money to get married to Miss Amelia. His intentions are clear: he will be the bread-winner. He also brings some “swamp flowers” as well as some meat. Symbolically, the meat says that he will be her “keeper” and the swamp flowers suggest her complete passivity. That is also the reason why, after Miss Amelia married Marvin Macy, the people from the city wanted and expected her “to put a bit of ‘bride-fat’ on her” as if her destiny was now to either have babies or gain weight from doing nothing, like the wives described in text one, who stay home and remain inactive.
During the wedding, Miss Amelia is looking for the pocket of her overall because she is impatient and bored. She is feeling so because she does not care about her marriage, only about her business. By no means does she need Marvin’s wages to make ends meet. She is an active member of society, as one can see when she begins to talk about some business with a farmer or when she reads all those newspapers and almanacs at the end. At that time activities such as reading the newspapers, finishing the inventory of the stock were activities that were reserved to men. Her reading and writing also suggest she is the thinking “head”.
Text 1 and text 2 are really similar because in both texts someone in the relationship dominates in terms of financial and material resources but they are really different in the sense the roles have been reversed between the wife and the husband.
Marie, with Killian and Sarah.
In both texts, feminine beauty, frailty and love are differently developed.
In what way do they oppose?
In “The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare, the woman, who used to be considered as crazy because she was hard-tempered, didn't fit in what any man at that period could expect from a woman, talks about her husband with “fair love and true obedience”, that is to say with total admiration and devotion. We can say that she has been brainwashed by her violent husband. This brainwashing made her personality change.
This shows that she considers that she owes to her husband to be loving and beautiful in exchange for all he does for her. She's nothing without him, he gives her material and financial protection, intellectual guidance (“head”) and she lives through him, and only through him (“life”). In return, she has to be seen by him as beautiful and loving. In this text, love isn't a feeling anymore, it is a way of payment, which explains a lot about arranged marriage. On top of things, she is persuaded that being good looking is "a too little payment for so great debt". This is very important because it shows the permanent state of guilt women were maintained in by being constantly blamed for failing to justly satisfy their “loving lords”, the same guilt women were made to feel by Katherina when she accused them of being totally idle “at home” while their husbands suffered in the rain.
On the contrary, in “The Ballad of the Sad Café”, the woman lacks what used to be considered as feminine beauty or frailty in every way. Marvin “trains to give his chair to a lady”, thereby taking her weak constitution for granted and echoing the husband’s sense of “sacrifice” alluded to in text 1. Obviously, Amelia could not care less for Marvin’s chair, as her “great steps” and eager appetite suggest. She is by no means a weak and fragile woman. Concerning beauty or “fair looks”, it does not seem to be much of a concern to her, as "her mother's bridal gown was twelve inches too short ". That means her bridal dress is too small but she doesn't even care or bother to buy a more fitting one.
The truth to the matter is that this woman is herself when she behaves like a man. This is shown by such a phrase as “she had a smoke with her father's pipe" thanks to which she comes back to her true self and feels comfortable, whereas in her mother’s dress, she quickly feels “bored, impatient and exasperated”.
So, if it is clear that Amelia is a strong-minded, independent woman who can take care of herself without a husband, it is necessary to ask why the author feels the need to present her like a man. Is it impossible for a female character to be self-reliant and autonomous without acting and looking like a man?
The author Carson McCullers, a woman herself, seems very backward. We find it disturbing that to be represented as independent, a woman, in 1953, had to be masculine in any way whatsoever. In this text, the reader ends up considering Miss Amelia as a man. We can compare the two texts and say that in both, the masculine figure dominates the other one, even when this masculine figure is embodied by a woman. To a degree, it signifies nothing has changed in four centuries!
This is probably because the two texts have been written at a time where people used to think that way.
However, Shakespeare denounces this situation because he uses irony, so the first text is more modern than the second one. Maybe Carson McCullers sees Amelia as a sort of twentieth-century version of a shrew, without the taming. Or maybe 1953 is just too early for feminists to understand that a woman needn’t act masculine to be modern.
Khalil, with Manon, Océane and Shirel
FarewellQuiz1718 due Friday November 17th
Study the form of the poem and bring to light the importance of rhyme and rhythm.
Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘Annabel Lee’ uses rhythm and rhymes to express the importance of the events, the characters and, most importantly, their love. Indeed, repetitions, alliterations and many other literary devices are used to highlight ideas.
One of the most noticeable elements in this poem is the repetition of ‘kingdom by the sea’. It is repeated five times: once in the first and second stanza on the second line (lines 2 and 8), twice in the third stanza (l. 14 and 20) and once in the fourth stanza (l. 24). We can see that from the third stanza, when the author begins to talk about Annabel Lee’s death, the rhythm with ‘kingdom by the sea’ begins to change, it is repeated a bit sooner than it should be if the rhythm were constant: her death disrupts everything.
In this poem, we feel that the sea and the tide can be compared to love. Indeed, both notions are infinite but unstable. This metaphor could explain the alternation of long and short verses in the first two stanzas, reminding us of the rhythm of the tide. However, the lovers are said to live in a ‘kingdom’: they are above the sea and therefore above any ordinary love – they are king and queen of love; their love is perfect. Their feelings are completely stable, at least until Annabel Lee’s death (as aforementioned) in the third stanza, at the same time as this tide rhythm ends. Indeed, the tide is something unstable but eternal. It creates a kind of life or lifestyle, a tranquility of sorts. The unexpected death of Annabel Lee breaks all of this and changes everything.
In Poe’s poem, we can also observe about how the terrestrial and the cosmic are represented. Here the terrestrial is symbolized by Annabel Lee and her lover and the sea, while the cosmic is symbolized by the angels. According to pre-Cartesian science, whatever happens in the higher spheres of the universe that is not appropriate, that doesn’t abide with the rules will eventually affect life on earth, in other words, cosmic disorder will cause terrestrial disorder. ( the opposite is also true. In Macbeth for example, the assassination of the lawful king – in other words not only a regicide but also a deicide - causes the Heavens to be “troubled with man’s act”, horses “eat each other” and “stones are known to move and trees to speak”, Act II, scene 4 & Act III, scene 4)
The winds can be seen as the first link: they have been sent down to earth by the angels. However the major link between the terrestrial and the cosmic is Annabel Lee: in her first years on earth, she falls in love with a human and their love is above all else, causing jealousy among the angels. Moreover, we can assume that after her death she becomes an angel and goes up to heaven. Her death changes everything, which proves its importance on earth and in heaven. These disturbances affect the structure of the poem, just as they affect the movement of the sea. The angels’ misconduct and Annabel Lee’s death are unnatural events happening in the higher spheres that cause the sea to lose its pace. It follows that Annabel Lee is much more than a simple human being.
We think that the poem is structured in a way that divides it into two patterns: the first containing stanzas one, two, and four when the author is talking about Annabel Lee when she is alive, and the second pattern with stanzas three, five and six, when Annabel Lee is dead. Indeed the ‘long short long short’ rhythm can only be observed in this first pattern, disrupted by the character’s death.
However, the poem’s structure could also be construed in a different way: the disruption in the poem only affecting the third stanza, when Annabel Lee dies; the initial pattern resuming from line 21.
Strikingly, the most frequent rhyme in this poem is that of the sound –ea. Indeed, it reoccurs in the words ‘me’, ‘Annabel Lee’, ‘we’ and ‘sea’. Here these words are merged into one: they are one, same entity. It is just the three of them in this ‘kingdom’.
Furthermore, we can observe a certain musicality through this poem, for example in the girl’s name, which is much more romantic and delicate than Poe’s wife’s real name, Virginia Clem, explaining the author’s choice. In lines 7, 9, 32 and 39, the repetitions of the words ‘child’, ‘love’, ‘soul’ and ‘darling’ introduces alliterations and assonances, reinforcing the musicality. These words make the lovers appear as one: their love unites them, both children sharing the same soul.
From this analysis, we can say that there is as much meaning in the structure of the poem as there is in its words. Indeed, it proves to us the importance of the main character’s name, the symbolism of the tide, their location ‘kingdom by the sea’, and the tension between earth and heaven, the lovers and the angels.
Lily, with Yulius, Emma and Lucie