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TERM PAPER IDEAS / ESSAY TOPICS / BOOK REPORT IDEAS
1. To what extent are the characters in A Farewell to Arms in control of their lives, and to what extent are they controlled by outside forces?
2. Trace the development of Frederic Henry as a character who changes his outlook and ideas as a result of his experiences.
3. Discuss the plot structure in A Farewell to Arms. How does Hemingway keep you interested in reading on?
4. Comment on Hemingway's use of setting to enhance his themes. In what kinds of places, for example, are the characters happy and fulfilled? discontented and frustrated?
5. Discuss the thematic importance of Hemingway's minor characters-the various nurses, ambulance drivers, friends of Henry, and so on.
6. Contrast and compare the characters of Rinaldi and the priest. Include
their respective relationships to the developing character of Henry.
7. Discuss plausibility in A Farewell to Arms. Is it believable? How does Hemingway make it so?
8. Show how Henry's developing character is used to present a theme in A Farewell to Arms.
9. Is A Farewell to Arms a tragedy in the literary sense or merely a love story with a sad outcome?
10. Comment on the dramatic elements in the structure and narrative methods of A Farewell to Arms.
11. Compare the landscapes of the Abruzzi and the Swiss mountains, and comment on their significance in the novel.
12. Discuss the effectiveness of Hemingway's use of the first-person limited point of view.
13. What is the role of rain in A Farewell to Arms? Is Hemingway trying to tell "how the weather was"? Or is it symbolic?
14. Comment on the various attitudes of the Italians toward the war. Use specific characters and specific times to illustrate your findings.
15. What in your opinion is the significance of the Count Greffi scene? Does it have any bearing on plot, theme, or characterization?
16. Discuss Hemingway's stylistic techniques in his dream-sequence passages and in his stream of consciousness passages.
17. Compare and contrast the atmosphere of the officers' mess before Henry's wounding with the atmosphere afterward. Of what significance are the changes, if any?
18. Analyze and evaluate Hemingway's descriptive techniques. How effective is it to let the unadorned details speak for themselves?
19. Evaluate Catherine as a character. Is she believable? Why, or why not?
20. Discuss the function of sport in A Farewell to Arms.
21. Comment on Henry's plunge into the river to escape the carabinieri. What is its function in plot, character, and theme presentation?
22. The retreat from Caporetto has been called one of the great pieces of war writing of all time. Do you agree or disagree with this evaluation?
23. How satisfactory is the ending of the novel? Does it enhance Hemingway's fictional purposes?
24. There is an astonishing amount of drinking in A Farewell to Arms. Comment on the possible reasons Hemingway might have had for including it.
25. Imagine yourself a passenger in Tenente Henry's ambulance during the retreat. Keep a journal recording of your impressions.
26. Has reading this novel changed or intensified your feelings toward war? Discuss.
27. A Farewell to Arms was written in 1929 about events occurring in 1917
28. Is it modern, old-fashioned, or a combination of both?
29. Dialogue is an important part of A Farewell to Arms. Evaluate Hemingway's use of dialogue to advance plot, present character, and illustrate theme.
30. Comment on Hemingway's use of irony and understatement in A Farewell to Arms.
31. Compare and contrast the scene involving Henry and his ambulance drivers before his wounding to the sequence with Henry and his drivers during the retreat.