A Farewell to Arms Biblical Allusions

Allusions got more than deeper meanings as it is evidently shown in the novel A Farewell to Arms. A story whose plot is regenerated back in the war days is plotted and designed in artistic style embedded with great biblical allusions such as:

  • Love
  • Faith
  • Death

Why Allusions?

Food for thought. The art of allusions in writing is specifically embraced by writers to enable the communication between the writer and the reader to stay hidden. In other words, allusions are indirect communications embedded within a story for the readers to analyze and digest the deeper themes of the contexts.

Well said and explained but that aside. Let us look at the study case of the core characters in A Farewell to Arms: Henry, Catherine, and the Priests, and see the biblical allusions depictions.

Death

Death comes to us all according to genesis right? Yes. The war between Italy and Austrians consumed many lives and more spillage of blood during the battles. Henry woke up near a dead soldier after receiving serious injuries and he began to fathom the natural law of selection why he remains alive while that soldier dead. But who is in charge of nature? if I may ask.

The death of Catherine is God’s awakening sign to Henry. The loss of life of his love Catherine has made Henry accept the outcome of nature. What is beyond his control. The signal is a clear allusion of surrendering to God’s decision because He is the one who gives the life and takes it away…alpha and omega remember?

Loss of Faith

The priest is a symbol of faith. The priest keeps on reminding Henry about God’s love and protection. The kind of spiritual investment demanded from human souls to put on Him is what drives our sins and suffering away. However, Henry tries to put faith in God but according to him, he thinks it is in vain.

Deserting the army indicates loss of faith for Henry. The merciless killing of the soldiers by the Italians themselves drives away the faith of Henry in the battle and he ceases to fight anymore and runs away with Catherine.

The loss of faith is an aspect frequent during errors of King David or mosses where God test our faiths through this immense suffering just to prove how strong is our faith with the things we perform….is our faith feebled or strengthened by our sufferings?…The ball is in your court!

Love

Love is God’s part of creation. The strong relationship between Henry vs. Catherine is based on love and their love is a sign of hope. What keeps these two love birds alive is love despite the rough challenges them face from war. Love washes their pain away and takes them away from the reality world just for a moment.

Adam and Eve. The creation of love began in the book of genesis where Adam and Eve were created to love each other despite their imperfections and even after having the disagreement with God and being evicted out of the garden of Eden, they still stayed by each other’s side and went ahead to even procreate. Their love was not shaken despite their imperfections and this is a naked allusion to the Henry and Catherine story

End thoughts

A farewell to arms allusion reveals the power of nature/God. The biblical allusions embedded with this novel ring a bell to both believers and nonbelievers how powerful the law of natural selection is inevitable.

And Henry comes to admit this by saying that “there is always a reason why that soldier is dead while I am alive”. This kind of a statement clears the log in our eyes and began to search for deeper reasons!

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February 20, 2017

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