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Introduction    Sample Question    
Sample Answer
    Analysis    Study Guide Links

Introduction: The questions linked below are to help you as you read the novel, A Farewell to Arms.  They are not easy to answer because they usually ask you to use your judgment about the meaning behind what people in the story say or do.  When you discuss these questions--in class, in a study group, or with another reader--look for more than one interpretation of the "data" in the novel so that you can evaluate which interpretation makes the most sense to you.  

Below are a sample answer to study question #14 and one teacher's analysis of it as a response made during a first reading of the novel.

Q . 14: After meeting him, what do you think of Ettore Moretti? What does Catherine think of him? How does Frederic seem to feel about him? Why might Hemingway introduce such a character at this point?
Sample Answer: Ettore is a gauge to show that Lt. Henry and Catherine view war differently and react to the war with different emotions. Lt. Henry accepts Ettore's bragging about his war exploits and tolerates the parading of his medals.  Even though Lt. Henry feels that medals are empty symbols and he himself is quiet about his war experiences, he also believes the army needs men like Ettore--men who glory in war and killing. Catherine sees through Ettore's fraud and his presumptuous attitude and can not accept him.  Catherine believes nothing is gained by war.
Analysis: This answer shows that the student infers the characters' attitudes about Ettore Moretti, one of the minor characters in the novel, by what they say or don't say.  Her answer shows that she followed Ettore's words and read closely the discussion of Ettore by Lt. Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley. It also draws information from other parts of the book, such as referring to Lt. Henry's attitude about medals which is pointed up in question #19c.  She may even be using the plot summary supplied to the class to guess how the scene with Ettore fits in with what happens to Lt. Henry later and with Hemingway's apparent attitude toward war.
Note to Teachers: When I first assigned the 34 study questions to students, I asked them to write answers to all of them individually before we discussed the novel in class.  This procedure frustrated me because students weren't reading strategically, in general, and were not making answers like the sample above.  

When I had students work in groups and answer questions a few at a time, they were able to help each other read less one-dimensionally by 
bullet testing each other's assumptions about characters and their actions,
bulletreferencing phrases in the text that stood out to them which might not have stood out to others
bulletoperating under the assumption that nothing is accidental in a published novel.--EH

 

Study and Research Questions by "Book" in A Farewell to Arms

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Book One: introduction of major themes and characters; Chapters 1-12

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Book Two: Frederic and Catherine in Milan; Chapters 13-24

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Book Three: retreat from Caporetto; Chapters 25-32

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Book Four: farewell to the war; Chapters 33-37

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Book Five: Switzerland; Chapters 37-41

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Suggested Assignment Parameters: What options might teachers and students consider for reporting on the research topics listed at this website?

 

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Copyright3.gif (24311 bytes)Copyright and Permission: This web on Ernest Hemingway's early novel was begun under a small grant from the VCCS, which holds copyright.  2001 by the Virginia Community College System.  This web was made by Dr. Eric Hibbison, Professor of English and Chief Chair, VCCS Regional Centers for Teaching Excellence (1998-2002). Materials in this web may be used free for educational purposes, but this web should not be behind a portal for which users must pay a fee without written permission from the VCCS.  If you're an educator using this web, please inform ehibbison@jsr.vccs.edu, especially if you'd like contact with other educators who are using this web.