Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois during the summer of eighteen ninety-nine. During his sixty-one years of life he wrote many famous novels and novellas. One thing he said in his life that made his readers see where his stories came from was a comment made to fellow writer F. Scott Fiztgerald. “If something in life hurts you, he said, you should use it in your writing.” (//www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/barrons/frwlarm.asp).
The difficult experiences that Hemingway endured throughout his own life, whether consciously or unconsciously, inserted in this novel is what lists it among his artistic achievements.
Hemingway joined the Italian Red Cross as an ambulance driver during WWI. During his time in Italy he was injured by a trench mortar shell and for quite a while would elaborate the story to make it more glorious and him more heroic than he actually was, the only thing known for sure was that he went to a hospital in Milan and fell in love with a nurse named Agnes von Kurowsky. “Scholars are divided over Agnes’s role in Hemingway’s life and writing, but there is little doubt that his relationship with her informed the relationship between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms.” //www.sparknotes.com/lit/farewell)
Hemingway was a very blunt writer. He describes things exactly as he sees them in great depth and he never minces his words. As Raymond S. Nelson says, “Hemingway tried to tell the truth about his times, to correct the ‘lies’ which former generations told, whether wittingly or unwittingly.” (“//www.bookrags.com/notes/fta/” //www.bookrags.com/notes/fta/ ) This is obvious in his very graphic descriptions of things throughout the novel and also in the way he does not sugarcoat any of the events that occur within the novel itself.
... ourselves pats on our backs and reward ourselves with good things. Life does not need anger to survive. It only drives us ... nearer to our graves. In life, small things should never make us sweat. They are only the red ... in our minds. The mistakes we make in life, the cruel and thoughtless things we do, are really the foibles of children ...
Another essence of Hemingway’s life that is apparent in the novel is his indifference to immediate family. “Hemingway’s parents were God-fearing Christians and patriotic Americans, staunch upholders of middle-class values. Hemingway thought them boring. He went out of his way to do things counter to his mother’s wishes. She gave him cello lessons; he set up a boxing ring in her music room.” ( //www.classicnote.com/ClassicNotes/Authors/about_ernest_hemingway.html ).
In the novel itself Hemingway’s character has no concern about his family back in America, he tends to forget about them completely, as does Catherine Barkley. Hemingway’s’ life in general is as fascinating as anything he has ever written is.
On one level, he was a legendary writer who found his ostentatious lifestyle and the fact that he was lionized enjoyable. Yet on another level he was a discipline author who would not give up in his search of literary perfection. His achievements in both life and literature are reflected in the fact that he is viewed by both scholars and rebels alike as a hero.