Here are ten questions I came up with for the discussion this Sunday (4/25) on "A Farewell to Arms." The questions are meant to be points of departure to help us get into the major themes of the story as well as a means of finding the right balance between a freewheeling conversation and one that is structured and focused.
1. Why does Fredric say he wanted to go to Abruzzi, the region where the priest is from? 2. When Fredric is wounded (Chapter 9) he says ?? I knew I was dead and that it had all been a mistake to think you just died.? What mistake is he talking about? 3. What does Catherine mean when she says in chapter 18, ?What good would it do to marry now? We?re really married. I couldn?t be any more married.?? 4. The narrative returns to descriptions of water?especially rain?over and over. What roles does water play in the story? 5. How does one ?always feel trapped biologically,? as Frederic tells Catherine in chapter 21? 6. How does the retreat of Caporetto (Book 3) lead to a ?separate peace?? 7. Is Frederic a hero? 8. Who are the ants burning on a log (Chapter 41)? 9. How are Catherine?s scenes in the hospital in Book Five foreshadowed in other parts of the novel? 10. Is the title ?A Farewell to Arms? ironic?
The Moderns began in 2010 as a book club devoted to reading Hemingway and his peers. We've since evolved into a club that chooses books from the Modern Library's list of the 100 best 20th Century English language novels. It's a great list that takes us from Sherwood Anderson to Virginia Woolf and many luminaries in between. Please join us as we discover and reread some of the best works of the modern age.
Every discussion has drawn an interesting group of people from all walks of life and all ages. We choose the books off the list with a poll each month (polls are under the "More" tab). We typically meet the last Sunday of the month at the Ukrainian East Village restaurant.
A note on the restaurant: Everyone orders something whether it's a full dinner or soup or appetizers or just a cup of tea. They have been taking great care of us for years and their service is much appreciated--and the food is good. If you RSVP "yes" but for whatever reason can't attend, please change your RSVP to "no" so we have a better headcount when we tell the restaurant how many seats to set up.