‘Unsoldiered’ Soldier or Alternative War Narrative?: Modernist Epistemes in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms


Department of English, Higher Teacher Training School (ENS) Bertoua, P.O. Box 652, Bertoua The University of Ngaoundéré


This article posits that the image of the desexualised and feminised soldier portrayed in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, traceable by some to the author’s biographical experience, is, in effect, just part of the author’s modernist discourse as a writer of the post-World-War I era. As such, the novel’s subject matter, plot, themes, characters, structure, point of view, as well as the author’s whole art and vision are shaped by the author’s subscription to Modernism. The Psychoanalytical and Modernist theories are used to analyse Hemingway’s novel in the paper. While the former sheds light on Hemingway’s depiction of the disempowered soldier and shows how this portrayal emanates from the writer’s childhood experiences, the latter places the emasculated representation of the soldier within a broad modernist framework by showing how, apart from this portrayal that bears on characterisation in the book, the other components of the novel (subject matter, plot, themes, structure, point of view, author’s art and vision) fit in the mould of modernist discourse.