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  • Titill er á ensku Making a Separate Peace: The Evolution of the War Veteran as Literary Hero in Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Across the River and Into the Trees
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    As an ambulance driver in World War I and a war correspondent in World War II and the Spanish Civil War, Hemingway had a unique opportunity to experience the brutality of war and to confront violence, fear and death. His war experiences, especially the injuries he sustained on the Italian front, significantly influenced his works, particularly the evolution of his war veterans, as is highlighted in Hemingway’s male protagonists of In Our Time (1925), The Sun Also Rises (1926), A Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), and Across the River and Into the Trees (1950). Nick Adams, Jake Barnes, Frederic Henry, Robert Jordan, and Richard Cantwell all experience the horrors of war and all are severely injured in one way or another, and it is through these military experiences that the Hemingway war veteran evolves from being a passive self-absorbed man that things happen to, to a passionate and courageous man who is in control of his own life. A study of the evolution of Hemingway’s five male protagonists, in the order of their appearance, highlights Adams’, Barnes’, Henry’s, Jordan’s, and Cantwell’s similarities as well as their differences. Each incarnation of the Hemingway war veteran deals with similar problems and as the character evolves the better he becomes at dealing with the situations life throws at him. Nick Adams’ journey towards adulthood highlights his struggles with fear, death and war as well as his relationships with women. Seriously wounded in the Great War, Nick’s war experience causes him to retreat from human companionship as he attempts to recuperate. Nick’s recovery is uncertain and he faces his future alone and isolated. Jake Barnes is left physically impotent by his war injuries and is trapped in a dysfunctional relationship with Lady Brett Ashley. As Jake finally realizes that he must free himself from Brett before she ruins him, his revelation hints at a possible future where he is alone but at peace. Like Nick and Jake, Frederic Henry is seriously injured in World War I. Confronted with his own mortality he enters into a relationship with Catherine Barkley. However, as Frederic is unable to commit fully to Catherine and their future, he is left alone and isolated after the death of Catherine and their son. Robert Jordan joins the fight against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Sent on a fatal mission behind the enemy lines, Robert nevertheless enjoys his final days as he bonds with the guerrillas and has an intense love affair with Maria. A fervent believer in the cause, Robert Jordan’s heroic portrayal and inevitable death suggests that although perfection is always worth striving for, it is always, inevitably, unattainable. At the age of fifty Colonel Richard Cantwell is dying of a heart disease. After decades of army service, having fought in both World Wars, Richard has suffered through multiple injuries and his army career has left him disillusioned and bitter. As death approaches Richard attempts to come to terms with his war experience and says good-bye to his mistress and his friends. After making the most out of his final days Richard suffers a fatal heart attack.

  • 13.1.2015

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