Characterization in a Passage from A Farewell to Arms
Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation. Although that ceased when the carabiniere put his hands on my collar. I would like to have had the uniform off although I did not care much about the outward forms. I had taken off the stars, but that was for convenience. It was no point of honor. I was not against them. I was through. I wished them all the luck. There were the good ones, and the brave ones, and the calm ones and the sensible ones, and they deserved it. But it was not my show anymore and I wished this bloody train would get to Mestre and I would eat and stop thinking. I would have to stop. (Hemingway 232)
This previous is an excellent example of how one passage in the book can relate many of the feelings demonstrated throughout the entire novel. The events and feelings of this passage determine the outcome. A few examples of symbolism are clearly presented and those symbols can also help the reader gain a better understanding of the character’s situation. The passage also illustrates how the character has evolved and developed since the beginning of the story. The passage is also a big event because it is the first major pivotal point that occurs throughout the novel. By closely analyzing this passage we can form many predictions that Hemingway was foreshadowing, and relating to the end, with use of symbols and development of character.
The two symbols best noticeable in the passage are the river and the stars on Frederic’s uniform. The river as in many stories represents a change or baptismal. In this case, the river was representing the removal of Frederic from the war front. On one side of the river he’s still an ambulance driver for the Italian army during World War I; on the other side, however, he is a civilian in the middle of a war that is now foreign to him. The stars also serve as a symbol but represent the same thing the river does. When he removes them he is simply calling it quits and removing himself from the war.