Dissertation
Dissertation > Literature > Literary Theory > Countries in Literature

An Archetypal Approach to the Animal Images in a Farewell to Arms

Author LiuDan
Tutor WangYanWen
School Yanshan University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords A Farewell to Arms archetypal criticism symbols horses swallows
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Hemingway, an American journalist and writer, is considered to be one of the mostfamous novelists in the world. He had many representative works such as The Old Manand the Sea, A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell tolls. With The Old Man and TheSea he won the Pulitzer Prize in1953and the Nobel Prize for literature in1954. Hiswriting style was characterized by applying concise wording, which had a profoundimpact on the development of American literature and the20thcentury literature. He putforward the famous "Iceberg Principle" and maintained that writers should only depictthe part above the water and leave the underwater part to the readers to interpret. Hisworks was worth interpreting. In A Farewell to Arms the hero was Henry who was anAmerican youth and participated in the war in Italy. During his injury he fell in love withCatherine, a British nurse. Due to the turbulent life in the wartime, Catherine died in thechildbirth and the baby also died. Finally Henry was alone and hopeless in the world. Thenovel depicted their love during the wartime. It is the war that destroyed their happinessand love.Archetypal criticism was an important critical school, which was popular in thefifties and sixties of20thcentury. Canadian scholar Frye elaborated this theorysystemically in Anatomy of Criticism. This theory stressed the importance of literatureconvention and argued that literature was the displacement of myth. In addition, it tried tofind out the rules of the recurred images, narrative structures, character types and themesin literature. There were many animal images in A Farewell to Arms such as horses andswallows. This thesis mainly applied the theory about symbol in archetypal criticism onthe analysis of the archetypal meaning of animal images. The methods of close reading,qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis were applied. By tracing the symbolic meaningof those animal images to fairy tales, fables and other related literary works, the author found that the writing about those animal images had thematic importance. The horse, thecarriage had become a symbol of their turbulent life during the wartime. Swallows wasthe symbol of beautiful life which they fought for. It seemed that the peaceful life was athand, but they failed in the end. From those two animals we could see the disaster causedby the war and learn about Hemingway’s anti-war theme.

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