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Final assignment

on Tue May 29, 2018 12:47 pm
Choose one of the following questions and compose a thoughtful, extended response to it (not a formal essay). Afterwards, you need to review your classmates' posts and respond to one of them. You may choose to disagree with some aspect of their post or you may choose to agree and add to it, the choice is yours--but of course, you should be respectful.

1. Frederic says the priest "had always known what I did not know and what, when I learned it, I was always able to forget. But I did not know that then, although I learned it later" (p. 13). Is Frederic's observation borne out in the novel?

2. The Italian front has been referred to as the "picturesque" front. Indeed, this part of the world is known for its natural beauty. What role do the physical descriptions of the landscape play in the establishment of the novel’s themes?

3. If we are to interpret the novel as an antiwar novel, how do we reconcile Fredric Henry’s use of violence (when he kills the engineering sergeant) and seemingly masculine persona with his disillusionment with the war?

4. What purpose does the following passage serve in relation to the rest of the novel? What is it trying to communicate? <i>“Once in camp I put a log on a fire and it was full of ants. As it commenced to burn, the ants swarmed out and went first toward the center where the fire was; then turned back and ran toward the end. When there were enough on the end they fell off into the fire. Some got out, their bodies burnt and flattened, and went off not knowing where they were going. But most of them went toward the fire and then back toward the end and swarmed on the cool end and finally fell off into the fire. I remember thinking at the time that it was the end of the world and a splendid chance to be a messiah and lift the log off the fire and throw it out where the ants could get off onto the ground. But I did not do anything but throw a tin cup of water on the log, so that I would have the cup empty to put whiskey in before I added water to it. I think the cup of water on the burning log only steamed the ants” (289).</i>
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Re: Final assignment

on Tue May 29, 2018 8:30 pm
I choose to answer the 2nd questions
The physical descriptions of the landscape of the front plays a relatively subtle but impressive role in the establishment of the novel’s themes. Personally, they serve well for the general idea(s) of this novel and they also provide me with a feeling of having a more comprehensive and realistic recognition of the book.
It can be easily told from the text that the overall landscape of the Italian front can be characterized as magnificent, splendid and grandiose. To be more literary, a feeling of sublime is endowed with it. Tracing back to the first several chapters of Book One, we can find that Hemingway almost uses the whole chapter to portray us the scenery and helps up develop a specific picture of the landscape in our mind.
For its importance in supporting the central ideas of this novel, I want to mention that there’s a fierce contrast between the natural beauty of the gorgeous landscape, the brutality of the war, and the disillusionment of the belligerent people. In fact, the beauty of that natural attraction inversely emphasizes the fragility of itself. In other words, Italy in World War One is a fractured and broken landscape which reflects the tragic and breaking lives of the characters. Bombardments, ashes and blood can immediately overwhelm the vulnerable beauty of the landscape. More importantly, after finishing the book, we can find this is where everything goes down: What a tragedy!
The interesting thing is, the combination of the theme and those descriptions reminds of a prolonged Irish folk song called “Last Rose of Summer”. The general feeling given by the lyrics are just so harmonious with the theme of the novel. I want to call this kind of sentiment a “tragic, sorrowful beauty”.
In sum, what I see is that beautiful landscape may not let the sorrow escape. Contradictorily, it sometimes just begets more, due to the tremendous alteration of, simply, everything.
Reference:
Shmoop Editorial Team. "A Farewell to Arms Setting." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 29 May 2018.
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:21 pm
I choose the answer the first question.

From my point of view, Frederic’s observation haven’t borne out yet. Since he said that the Priest know those things Frederic did not know, Frederic at this point haven’t seen all those awful stuff at war and haven’t met Miss. Barkley yet. There is no way that he started a observation without any reason. I think his observation started after he began to question the war, “what was the matter with this war?” That was his first time questioning and trying to understand what the Priest said about the war, because he had seen the evil part of the war and began his journey. But at this time, Frederic was just at the place of the hero’s journey where is still before the calling for journey, everything is still unknown to him.

In addition, the story haven’t showed anything about the Italian army, such as the morale and the battles, from Frederic’s sight, everything seems to be in a peaceful condition, the soldiers were joking with the Priest, Rinaldi was dating with some women in the hospital. The war seems very far from their lives, Frederic haven’t experienced anything yet. After Frederic met Miss. Barkley and became lovers, Frederic’s life changed and the war changed because Italy’s switch side.
Frederic’s observation borne out after he noticed the change of the war, and he started observing the things happened around him and the changes both on himself and others.

In conclusion, I don’t think Frederic’s observation borne out yet, the story would’t have went so fast that the hero started his journey before the call for the journey. In this story, the observation was sort of part of Frederic’s journey.
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Re: Final assignment

on Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:47 pm
I choose question 4.

The ants are similar to the characters in the novel. They struggled to get rid of something, but ultimately failed. They did not escape successfully from their fate, just like the ants, running back and forth to escape from fire but of no use. For Catherine, when she was in dystopia, she tried quite hard, but finally both she and her baby died. For the baby, I think he did a lot to embrace the world, but he choked in his mother’s body. For Henry, he struggled to have an ideal life——free, unlimited, and with his lover, he escaped from the army confronting the enormous danger, but eventually he lost his lover and baby and meant to go through a long and lonely life. They made huge efforts to achieve the life they wanted to have, but they all failed to escape from fate, falling into the dreadful fire.

And I think “I” in the passage is referred to fate. It is one’s fate that decides his future, being safe away from fire or falling into the heat, being satisfied and enjoyable or suffering from sorrow, according to the passage. Unfortunately, the existence for human being is tragedy since our future has already been confirmed——death. In other words, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much glory we gain, we will definitely and inevitably gradually walk towards death. People can escape from war or other things, but we cannot avoid death. Human beings are so vulnerable that we will easily be put into fire by the hand of fate. Also, as an atheist, Henry may want to imply that if someone wants to avoid death by anchoring the hope to his belief, the one holding his fate, it is quite sorry because that guy wants to drink whiskey and does not have time or willing to deal with his stuff.

In conclusion, I think the information the passage wants to convey is the vulnerability and tragedy of human’s life and the inevitable future—death of human.
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Re: Final assignment

on Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:45 pm
I choose to answer the last question.

When I first read this passage in the novel, I felt pretty strange. Cause this kind of words seldom appeared in the whole book which discusses about something seemed to be out of the story plot and it is quite not the style of Hemingway. Of course, the iceberg theory, those strange words always implies and alludes something bigger and more grandiose.

Henry here acts like an administrator, standing aside, watching the scene and doing nothing even pouring the water onto the burning ants. The brutality and heartlessness were not created from nothing, but the brutality itself, the war. Every single ant in the crowd represents one individual involved in the war. They are always busy moving here from there, crawling around for the opportunity of living. “Some got out, their bodies burnt and flattened, and went off not knowing where they were going. But most of them went toward the fire and then back toward the end and swarmed on the cool end and finally fell off into the fire.” Just like the words said by the soldiers mentioned before in the book, people don’t know the reason why they are fighting and what they are fighting for, the war is totally absurd. People are just doing those things in the group and died before they figure out something really matters and meaningful. Sometime, after they have experienced the cruelty, they would find that they are no longer familiar with what they deserved to enjoy. They were paralyzed. And they have no power to do something different. They are crippled, not only physically but mentally. So pathetic. Cause every single individual’s destiny is controlled by someone high up in the state, and normal people do not have any chances to reach that.

This passage expressed that people are tiny, depressed and helpless, just like the ants on the log. There is no way to rescue themselves. It concludes the former story and alludes something bad will happen, they will “finally fell off into the fire”, into the chaos which full of people’s desires, conflicts, cruelty and ultimately the death Very Happy


Last edited by JaminCheng on Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:18 pm
I choose question 2.

In the very beginning of the novel, Hemingway offer large sums of depressing depiction of the warfront. The sky is drizzling, the winter is approaching, showing a bleak sight from the eye of the main character

1. Maybe these scenery descriptions are called iceberg theory which Hemingway is said to be good at .But at the same time, it offer a quick overview of the background setting and lay the emotional tone of the whole text. The reader will have a better sense of involving which may bring a better understanding of the themes if the landscape is described.
2.The theme of anti-war can be highlighted through the contrast between the beauty and the cruelty. From my point of view, the enormous beauty of the landscape can symbolize something precious or something deserves looking forward to.However, after the wash of blood, the world becomes a nasty place.If not the war, everyone can live with peace in the natural beauty. Henry could have gone to then dark forest and enjoy the sunshine, having a thorough breath of fresh air and shout out loud 'Life can't be more perfect'. It is to some extent true that sometimes our most precious joy came from our routine life. We are normal people and shouldn't it be our right to own such life with petty joy?However the war cut down the dream with its guns and blood. For example, "only seven thousand people die" in such a seemingly calm and indifferent words as the ruthlessness of the war. "The rain does not stop, the winter is coming, the cholera will follow the rain." It describes the horror of war and the fact that wars and cholera cause death and control.
3. People always realize something only if something precious was lost. Only if the natural beauty was destroyed , can people realize something sad has happened. The tragedy of the beauty questioned people of the things that have done, whether they are right or not, or does it deserved their sacrifies. The lost can make the reader think how to guard the beauty and always be sorry for the loss.
4. The beauty of the landscape also reminds people of the vulnerability of the world. Natural beauty can be destroyed easily and seemingly, human civilization is to some extent extraordinary weak. The world maybe beauty but in most times people are nasty. They always think of themselves ahead of anything else and may do anything at any cost only to fulfill their ambition. we are too weak.everything is too weak. Are we really perusing a better life?

To sum up, the natural beauty of the landscape build up the themes in a chic way. Maybe the vast beauty of the landscape is just simply, beauty. It is the disaster of the war that adds a lot of extra thinking to the landscape. Maybe we tries to feel the landscape crying but people are people, we always have beautiful reasons for all our behaviors. Maybe I can write that we are responsible for the tragedy of the beauty, but are we really going to cherish them before the disaster happened?
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:09 pm
I guess I'm going with question 4. This question interests me because I believe there are so many plausible allusions that could be tied with the ants and fire.

First of all, the ants could represent the men fighting in the war. The log, the perfect shelter for ants, represents the ideal homeland, Italy, before war came along. Ants could live happily in the log, protected from all the harms and perils of the outside world, and so could the men. Throwing the log on fire can be compared to war raging in Italy. These men, watching their homeland burn in flames became enraged, a voice in their mind tells them to fight, fight for everything they have ever known. And they did indeed, so did the ants. They all swarmed to fight the fire, to fight the war with high morale, but only to turn back defeated. The ants realized that they were never going to save their homeland, and the men of Italy realized that they were fighting a war that could never be won. In the end, both were defeated and compelled to turn back. The ants had to escape the heat of the fire, and the men had to escape the heat of the war. I do agree with Cathy that "I" here represents fate. Fate could have easily saved the Italians, yet it sent in the Germans, like how I poured a cup of water into the flames. The Germans helped steam the doomed Italian army, the men that is already on the verge of inevitable demise because of Austria-Hungary. Whereas the water steamed the ants that would soon be boiled by the flames.
Another understanding is that the ants represent the spirits of the Italian army men (or their morale), rather than their physical bodies. Ants in the log is comparable to the high spirits of the men before the war, living a happy and stable life. Then came the war, the fire. The men's morale, eager to rush to their bitter adversaries. The ants, eager to rush to the center of the fire. After realizing that there was no chance of victory, the ants withdrew. So did the men's morale. They became disillusioned just like the ants, and wondered about without an aim. Finally, fate poured a cup of water onto men's morale, which streamed their morale even further. As with the entrance of the Germans.

In conclusion, I believe this paragraphs relates closely to the characters of the novel and the plot. It could be said that the ants and fire acts like a summery of the war in the novel. Yes, a recap. Like Jamin said, it's odd for Hemingway to suddenly write down this paragraph that seems so "incompatible" with his usual writing style. Such an oddity forces the reader to think about alternative means or explantations possible for this out-of-place paragraph. Iceberg theory in it's fullest glory.
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:59 pm
I choose the 4th question

Before this paragraph is about the baby’s death, and after it is Catherine’s death, followed by the misery end of the whole story. This paragraph, in my opinions, serves as a turning point. It symbolizes the failure of Henry’s hope.

The scenario refers to Henry’s life during the war. That is a perfect metaphor. Henry hated the war, but he can not escape. He saw the apprehensive causalities, saw his colleagues dead by his side, and he just hesitated to make the decision. So many people paid their own life for this rotten war, they lost their aims, their directions, and their hope, and they just bustled to the hell, without another choice. Just like the ants, there had been no more discipline in the army that everyone follows, insurgents were everywhere, with the power strong enough to execute the commanders. Ants should be well-disciplined, they serve loyally for they king, collaborate when others are in trouble, and fight for the same aim of finding food. But they lost control when they encounter flame, they hustle aimlessly. The same thing with the Italian soldiers when they were facing such vehement warfare. So to be precise, the agitation of ants refer to the panic, or I shall say, the consequences of every aspect caused by the war.

And his escape can be seen as the cup of water which aimed at saving the ants from diabolical torment of flame, however it was still not a perfect handle, Henry also didn’t eschew what he should confront. The reason he poured the water was casual, because of nothing important, so maybe I can say it’s near a coincidence, which has long-term underlying foundation, that lead him to the decision. Let me interpret it separately. The reason he poured the water is because he needed an empty cup to hold his whisky, which he had been ‘addictive’ for long. And the insurgence was let by the long lasting warfare, which brought countless psychological and physical traumas to the despair soldiers. Henry want to use this ‘judicious’ way to run away from the rotten war, and proceed toward his bright future, but he was arrested in the halfway. The water put off the fire, but the remaining steam still hurt these fragile creatures, fragile like the soldiers who were extenuated by the war. That is a exquisite metaphor, and there are many ways to interpret it, I just express my own opinions to it.

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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:25 pm
I chose the 3rd question, Henry's behavior is common for the characters in many antiwar novels.

It is obvious that this is a antiwar novel, but the point is how Hemingway, as well as many antiwar novelists, succeeded in making people call on peace but not war.
In this way I consider the violent action or delusion of Henry understandable and convincing. Henry’s just a represent of the numerous soldiers fighting in the war, so his actions, his feelings can be considered as the common behavior of the people suffer from war. We can take a look at “All Quiet on the Western Front”, which is also a antiwar novel and has several similar parts to this one. In that novel, the author describes the authentic violence during the war, the horrible fighting between the soldiers and the bloody battlefield consists of unknown corpses. That makes the readers deeply impressed so that they would against the war. It is similar in Hemingway’s novel for the same kind of bloody battle occurs and the same feeling from the soldier——Crazy and Violent also impress the readers.

As readers born in the comparatively peaceful era, we hardly understand the feelings of attending a war and the bloodiness of a war. Our understanding of violence may be different from the ones from the people who suffered war. Hemingway's description of Henry provided us the opportunity of trading shoes with the characters from the novel, and with the men from the terrible world. I said it's common in the antiwar novels because the comparison of peace and violent behavior has the great power to impress people, to show the true side of the war which is different from the war described by the government or authorities, different from the war as you thought. In that way I consider the behavior of Henry as the represent of the great writing skills of Hemingway and the really actual actions people would behave if there's really a war, just like the people behaved in the past when the war actually happened.
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:39 pm
Question 3

People often try to find the deep meaning of literature works and title them as the so-called profound theme. This novel is also interpreted as an anti-war novel. However, I believe maybe Hemingway did not decide to put painstaking elements in his novel when he first wrote it---in other words, he did not INTEND to make it a work of that high value as anti-war. Hemingway, as a writer who had fought on the front life before, were just depicting the reality: the cruelness, the ruthlessness, the bloodiness, the hopelessness, the craziness, and the nothingness existing in the war. The reality then was a long way from what we experience now, which creates barriers in understanding and difficulties in accepting, inciting readers’ negative attitude towards war, thus gaining itself the title of anti-war.
I always remember one of my favourite authors once said that when he wrote his novels, he did not consciously CREATE any expression, action, or life trend of his characters; instead, the characters went to their own fate without his interference. So whenever I’m with literature, I view every character as an independent individual.
Since there’s not a definite theme or intention here, we can say that all is reasonable because it’s just the reflection of reality---Fredric Henry’s use of violence was the result of his pride of being obeyed and insecurity for being taken over; while his seemingly masculine persona with his disillusionment was caused by the wound of war. All reactions of the character are reasonable in a period full of blood and bullet, and these reactions, without readers’ common value to understand, eventually become the reason for anti-war.
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Reply to the Elsa's brilliant insight

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:43 pm
elsa paio wrote:I choose question 2.

In the very beginning of the novel, Hemingway offer large sums of depressing depiction of the warfront. The sky is drizzling, the winter is approaching, showing a bleak sight from the eye of the main character

1. Maybe these scenery descriptions are called iceberg theory which Hemingway is said to be good at .But at the same time, it offer a quick overview of the background setting and lay the emotional tone of the whole text. The reader will have a better sense of involving which may bring a better understanding of the themes if the landscape is described.
2.The theme of anti-war can be highlighted through the contrast between the beauty and the cruelty. From my point of view, the enormous beauty of the landscape can symbolize something precious or something deserves looking forward to.However, after the wash of blood, the world becomes a nasty place.If not the war, everyone can live with peace in the natural beauty. Henry could have gone to then dark forest and enjoy the sunshine, having a thorough breath of fresh air and shout out loud 'Life can't be more perfect'. It is to some extent true that sometimes our most precious joy came from our routine life. We are normal people and shouldn't it  be our right to own such life with petty joy?However the war cut down the dream with its guns and blood. For example, "only seven thousand people die" in such a seemingly calm and indifferent words as the ruthlessness of the war. "The rain does not stop, the winter is coming, the cholera will follow the rain." It describes the horror of war and the fact that wars and cholera cause death and control.
3.  People always realize something only if something  precious was lost. Only if the natural beauty was destroyed , can people realize something sad has happened. The tragedy of the beauty questioned people of the things that have done, whether they are right or not, or does it deserved their sacrifices. The lost can make the reader think how to guard the beauty and always be sorry for the loss.
4. The beauty of the landscape also reminds people of the vulnerability of the world. Natural beauty can be destroyed easily and seemingly, human civilization is to some extent extraordinary weak. The world maybe beauty but in most times people are nasty. They always think of themselves ahead of anything else and may do anything at any cost only to fulfill their ambition. we are too weak.everything is too weak. Are we really perusing a better life?

To sum up, the natural beauty of the landscape build up the themes in a chic way. Maybe the vast beauty of the landscape is just simply, beauty. It is the disaster of the war that adds a lot of extra thinking to the landscape. Maybe we tries to feel the landscape crying but people are people, we always have beautiful reasons for all our behaviors. Maybe I can write that we are responsible for the tragedy of the beauty, but are we really going to cherish them before the disaster happened?

Brief and naive remarks from Jack Shi:
Glad to see that someone chooses the same topic as mine Smile
It's very insightful of you to be "circumspect" about not only the landscape itself but also the people in the plot. And I really like your first and the fourth statement, which respectively mentions the use of iceberg theory and the vulnerability brought by the contrast between the war and the gorgeous landscape. I have a lot of common feelings and ideas similar to yours. Besides, you also find some interesting points and questions that I haven't discovered such as your second and third point, which states that the beauty from the routine life and whether people deserve their sacrifices, which I consider as a good question to be articulated.
Anyway, good for you! Excellent and profound insight. Surprised
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:44 pm
I chose the third question.
1, To explain how do we reconcile Fredric Henry’s use of violence (when he kills the engineering sergeant),i think it is a kind of sarcasm. The writer wants to use this violent action to show us how horrible the war is by telling us it can even let a calm, gentle man lose his all morality. It is shocking fact for the readers to know Fredric Henry’s use of violence to kill the engineering sergeant for refusing to help free the car from the mud. So, it makes us interested about the reason why he, such a calm man, did this action. At that time, Italian army started retreating . The rational thought and moral judgment of these solders did not work in such a disordered situation. Henry is just like these poor solders. War is the main reason why there was a such chaos exist. It is war took sympathy from Henry and let him kill the man. It is war legitimizes the killing and benumb these solder’s feeling as a human being. War created a world full of violence and disorder.

2, To answer the question how do we reconcile seemingly masculine persona with his disillusionment with the war, I have to say something about the illusion and the masculine persona. (1)To explain his disillusionment with the war, the writer shows the illusion between Catherine and Henry. Catherine was just seeking solace for his fiancé’s death, Henry was just trying to run away from the war. With the time’s going, both of Catherine and Henry fell in love and started to be unable to recognize the line between the reality and the illusion. They even dreamed they would live on a Swiss mountain and do everything they want to do in Swiss during the war. To Henry, her love is the shelter for him to forget the war. So, in this novel, her death, which means disillusionment to Henry, let us know both love and war lead to losses for which there is no compensation and the shelter is always temporary during the war.(2)To reconcile seemingly masculine persona with the war, I have to say these domineering personality are created by the war. Rinaldi is a masculine male who said he fell in love with Catherine at the beginning of the novel.Because of his frequent visits to the whorehouse, he dead of syphilis. In my opinion, it is a kind of punishment to the behavior as a man-being true to himself. During the war, he is just being tired to the danger and the war. He was finding a place to escape from the war.

To sum up, both of the Henry's violence and seemingly masculine persona with his disillusionment with the war can be thought as a part of antiwar novel, if we are to interpret the novel as an antiwar novel.
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:58 pm
I would like to choose the 4th question.

At this moment when I see this paragraph, I think of so many things Hemingway wants to express through Henry’s observation and thoughts while watching the ants on the log. The tone of this paragraph is dreary and miserable, implying the following dreadful endings.

The ants, in one way, could be a symbolization of the suffering people in war. People reject the bloody and barbarian war events. The fire, representing the guns and weapons, forces the people to fight a battle, without leaving a choice to live, but to die. ‘When there were enough on the end they fell off into the fire. Some got out, their bodies burnt and flattened, and went off not knowing where they were going.’ Fright and despair spread among the crowd, and they see their loved ones dropping to the fire, having no way to save them but to lament. We can see their aspiration to survive, but being in such scenario will only finally lead them to the inevitable death. Henry could be a messiah for saving the ants. In this term, the God could be the messiah, but it turns out to be an unsuccessful attempt.

In another way, the ants could represent Henry himself, while the fire is his predestined fate. The fire in Henry’s life is ignited when Henry Catherine stepped in and had their baby after the end of his dreadful days in the trenches. But the fire swiftly burns out when he is unfortunately faced by the inevitable death of his only love in the following plot. The death of his own baby is followed closely by the death of his wife. ‘But most of them went toward the fire and then back toward the end and swarmed on the cool end and finally fell off into the fire.’ This description clearly demonstrates Henry’s desire to survive, and to strive towards a blessed life. But his fate seems to be merely the opposite of his wills, finally compelling him to the abyss of losing it all.

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Reply

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:03 pm
JaminCheng wrote:I choose to answer the last question.

When I first read this passage in the novel, I felt pretty strange. Cause this kind of words seldom appeared in the whole book which discusses about something seemed to be out of the story plot and it is quite not the style of Hemingway. Of course, the iceberg theory, those strange words always implies and alludes something bigger and more grandiose.

Henry here acts like an administrator, standing aside, watching the scene and doing nothing even pouring the water onto the burning ants. The brutality and heartlessness were not created from nothing, but the brutality itself, the war. Every single ant in the crowd represents one individual involved in the war. They are always busy moving here from there, crawling around for the opportunity of living. “Some got out, their bodies burnt and flattened, and went off not knowing where they were going. But most of them went toward the fire and then back toward the end and swarmed on the cool end and finally fell off into the fire.” Just like the words said by the soldiers mentioned before in the book, people don’t know the reason why they are fighting and what they are fighting for, the war is totally absurd. People are just doing those things in the group and died before they figure out something really matters and meaningful. Sometime, after they have experienced the cruelty, they would find that they are no longer familiar with what they deserved to enjoy. They were paralyzed. And they have no power to do something different. They are crippled, not only physically but mentally. So pathetic. Cause every single individual’s destiny is controlled by someone high up in the state, and normal people do not have any chances to reach that.

This passage expressed that people are tiny, depressed and helpless, just like the ants on the log. There is no way to rescue themselves. It concludes the former story and alludes something bad will happen, they will “finally fell off into the fire”, into the chaos which full of people’s desires, conflicts, cruelty and ultimately the death Very Happy




Remarked by Cathy:
I like the simile that “Henry here acts like an administrator”, and the statement “Cause every single individual’s destiny is controlled by someone high up in the state, and normal people do not have any chances to reach that.” Our ideas are quite similar that people were controlled by something or someone else. People are vulnerable and helpless that they cannot avoid their destiny or control their future. But you claimed that ants are like people in the war, which is something I did not consider about. All in all, I am quite sympathetic with your answer. Smile
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:09 pm
I chose the fourth question.
The ants, like soldiers, rushed to the fire without hesitation: the fire of the enemy, like moths flinging directly to the fire, so many of them died and wounded, the corpses were everywhere on the battlefields. Realizing that something was wrong, the soldiers finally turned their backs and tried to get a chance to live. Another sudden fire also burned most of them——the ants, as well as the soldiers. A small number of ants escaped, but they were also confused and did not know where to go. They are like the priest. In the war, only he remained conscious from beginning to end. He hated the war and knew what the actual war was. But still he couldn't see “it”. What is “it”? Is it the significance of everything? Is it the useless power of religion when it face the war? No matter what “it" is, the priests feel suffocated by all these things. He is the most sober and most confused. The cup of water that can be thrown to the camp fire can be said to be a compromise of evil and natural goodness, and it can also be said that he just does not care about it. Whether being the Messiah of ants is meaningless to Henry, they should be as simple as pouring a glass of water if they are to die. He has nothing to do with death. Before this metaphor, he had been thinking that Catherine was going to die, and no she wouldn’t die. He was crazy, from his deep inner heart, from the moment he began his cursing of his child. He saw too many people die in the battlefield, so awful, just like watching the ants pounce on the fire, and then slowly became dark. Easily, people are gone. He imagined all the situation will have, he is mad, but his persona suppressed his appearance very well. He still behave as before. His madness is a kind of silent collapse.
The role of this strange metaphor is nothing more than the merging of all previous emotions, whether on the battlefield or in the later hard times, into such a seemingly absurd actions. Venting, silent bursts of emotions are here. This indifferent emotion implies a certain kind of certainty—death. Therefore in the end, he still used his feelingless language , to narrate the curtain call of sorrowful tragedy.
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:19 pm
For Q3:
In my opinion, this novel is definitely an anti-war novel. As the title goes: A farewell to Arms, Hemingway wrote this novel to appeal more people to looking forward to the peace and to stop the war. However, some parts of this novel seems to have conflicts with the theme, especially the use of violence of Henry’s and his seemingly masculine persona.
First, I think Hemingway was not just writing an individual, he was writing a generation of people. So, some of Henry’s behavior and his persona couldn’t represent for himself, it is a reflection of the behaviors of many people. People living in a certain times hardly know how this times is. Hardly could anyone jump out of his era and view the era as a passenger. And it is the same with Henry. Thus, I think his use of violence is a product of that times. It is the common behavior rather than an individual behavior. The use of violence depicted how people lost themselves in the war and had to behave as “normal people” as everyone else in the war. Furthermore, that is where the theme lies: Hemingway showed a group of people who were violent but without realizing themselves to tell people the ruthlessness of the war and to recall people’s eagerness to the peace.
On the other hand, the description of violence and the masculine persona of the character could be seen as a comparison. The comparison in this anti-war novel is to impress people. Sometimes, in a novel, to appreciate the positive and to disdain the negative aspect might have the same function as to ruin the beauty and to magnify the evil side. Both could recall the deep kindness in a person’s mind. So, the use of violence and seemingly masculine persona with Henry’s disillusionment with the war do not have the conflicts with the theme, however, it highlights the theme more.
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:30 pm
Question:
3. If we are to interpret the novel as an antiwar novel, how do we reconcile Fredric Henry’s use of violence (when he kills the engineering sergeant) and seemingly masculine persona with his disillusionment with the war?

Answer:
In <A Farewell to Arms>, Hemingway uses Fredric Henry's violent behavior and seemingly masculine persona with its internal indecisiveness to infer Henry's disillusionment with the war.
By using violence, Henry showed his masculinity but also failed to prove it as a lieutenant. After Henry was recovered and came back to the frontline, the situation had already beome desperate. Italians were losing and retreating in a way that was more chaotic than marching. Beholding these situation at frontline, Henry and other Italian soldiers were gradually losing their hope about this war. Their fearness towards the war was rising anti-war emotion to a climax. Some obvious and direct actions generated from this emotion were unrests among soldiers. Hence the soldiers took aim at their officers, refusing to obey to the order from their superiors. When Henry was ordering the two sergeants, he considered himself as the lieutenant. He has already lose his identification with his role of an ambulence driver, which he had no idea about the reason why he became it. Almost by instinct, he shoot one of the sergeants when they tried to escape in front of him. After this incident, when his companion was swearing the sergeant who escaped, Henry might realize that was an Italian he killed, who shall be his fellow and killing Germans with his support. Killing Italians was definitely not helping Italy win the war. Since then he lose the other identification of being a responsible lieutenant, as he was going far away from his original goal.
After Henry realized the contrast between his idealistic observation towards the war at first and the pratical impact of the war on everyone's life, he was totally disillusioned about the war. Thus he escaped, having no choice, as he was neither a patriotism for Italy nor has hatred for Germany.
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Good evening, good job (smile)

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:32 pm
JackShi wrote: I choose to answer the 2nd questions
The physical descriptions of the landscape of the front plays a relatively subtle but impressive role in the establishment of the novel’s themes. Personally, they serve well for the general idea(s) of this novel and they also provide me with a feeling of having a more comprehensive and realistic recognition of the book.
It can be easily told from the text that the overall landscape of the Italian front can be characterized as magnificent, splendid and grandiose. To be more literary, a feeling of sublime is endowed with it. Tracing back to the first several chapters of Book One, we can find that Hemingway almost uses the whole chapter to portray us the scenery and helps up develop a specific picture of the landscape in our mind.
For its importance in supporting the central ideas of this novel, I want to mention that there’s a fierce contrast between the natural beauty of the gorgeous landscape, the brutality of the war, and the disillusionment of the belligerent people. In fact, the beauty of that natural attraction inversely emphasizes the fragility of itself. In other words, Italy in World War One is a fractured and broken landscape which reflects the tragic and breaking lives of the characters. Bombardments, ashes and blood can immediately overwhelm the vulnerable beauty of the landscape. More importantly, after finishing the book, we can find this is where everything goes down: What a tragedy!
The interesting thing is, the combination of the theme and those descriptions reminds of a prolonged Irish folk song called “Last Rose of Summer”. The general feeling given by the lyrics are just so harmonious with the theme of the novel. I want to call this kind of sentiment a “tragic, sorrowful beauty”.
In sum, what I see is that beautiful landscape may not let the sorrow escape. Contradictorily, it sometimes just begets more, due to the tremendous alteration of, simply, everything.
Reference:
Shmoop Editorial Team. "A Farewell to Arms Setting." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 29 May 2018.

Hi,good evening Jack Shi. Glad that we chose the same topic.
You have a very precise and appealing language using which even moves me when I first read.
I love the word 'sublime' when you depict the overflow of the scene.(It reminds me that I haven't recited my vocabularies for today.,haha)
Apart from these, I was most struct by your idea of 'tragedy' and 'fragility'. It is a fantastic connection between nature and war. It is very clever of you to get your emotion involved and quote other literature works.
You are really talented and active. I hope you forever cherish your insight and deep thinking. Good luck.
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Good evening, good job (smile)

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:35 pm
JackShi wrote: I choose to answer the 2nd questions
The physical descriptions of the landscape of the front plays a relatively subtle but impressive role in the establishment of the novel’s themes. Personally, they serve well for the general idea(s) of this novel and they also provide me with a feeling of having a more comprehensive and realistic recognition of the book.
It can be easily told from the text that the overall landscape of the Italian front can be characterized as magnificent, splendid and grandiose. To be more literary, a feeling of sublime is endowed with it. Tracing back to the first several chapters of Book One, we can find that Hemingway almost uses the whole chapter to portray us the scenery and helps up develop a specific picture of the landscape in our mind.
For its importance in supporting the central ideas of this novel, I want to mention that there’s a fierce contrast between the natural beauty of the gorgeous landscape, the brutality of the war, and the disillusionment of the belligerent people. In fact, the beauty of that natural attraction inversely emphasizes the fragility of itself. In other words, Italy in World War One is a fractured and broken landscape which reflects the tragic and breaking lives of the characters. Bombardments, ashes and blood can immediately overwhelm the vulnerable beauty of the landscape. More importantly, after finishing the book, we can find this is where everything goes down: What a tragedy!
The interesting thing is, the combination of the theme and those descriptions reminds of a prolonged Irish folk song called “Last Rose of Summer”. The general feeling given by the lyrics are just so harmonious with the theme of the novel. I want to call this kind of sentiment a “tragic, sorrowful beauty”.
In sum, what I see is that beautiful landscape may not let the sorrow escape. Contradictorily, it sometimes just begets more, due to the tremendous alteration of, simply, everything.
Reference:
Shmoop Editorial Team. "A Farewell to Arms Setting." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 29 May 2018.

Hi,good evening Jack Shi. Glad that we chose the same topic.
You have a very precise and appealing language using which even moves me when I first read.
I love the word 'sublime' when you depict the overflow of the scene.(It reminds me that I haven't recited my vocabularies for today.,haha)
Apart from these, I was most struct by your idea of 'tragedy' and 'fragility'. It is a fantastic connection between nature and war. It is very clever of you to get your emotion involved and quote other literature works.
You are really talented and active. I hope you forever cherish your insight and deep thinking. Good luck.
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Re: Final assignment

on Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:41 pm
Jenny Shan wrote:For Q3:
In my opinion, this novel is definitely an anti-war novel. As the title goes: A farewell to Arms, Hemingway wrote this novel to appeal more people to looking forward to the peace and to stop the war. However, some parts of this novel seems to have conflicts with the theme, especially the use of violence of Henry’s and his seemingly masculine persona.
First, I think Hemingway was not just writing an individual, he was writing a generation of people. So, some of Henry’s behavior and his persona couldn’t represent for himself, it is a reflection of the behaviors of many people. People living in a certain times hardly know how this times is. Hardly could anyone jump out of his era and view the era as a passenger. And it is the same with Henry. Thus, I think his use of violence is a product of that times. It is the common behavior rather than an individual behavior. The use of violence depicted how people lost themselves in the war and had to behave as “normal people” as everyone else in the war. Furthermore, that is where the theme lies: Hemingway showed a group of people who were violent but without realizing themselves to tell people the ruthlessness of the war and to recall people’s eagerness to the peace.
On the other hand, the description of violence and the masculine persona of the character could be seen as a comparison. The comparison in this anti-war novel is to impress people. Sometimes, in a novel, to appreciate the positive and to disdain the negative aspect might have the same function as to ruin the beauty and to magnify the evil side. Both could recall the deep kindness in a person’s mind. So, the use of violence and seemingly masculine persona with Henry’s disillusionment with the war do not have the conflicts with the theme, however, it highlights the theme more.
How glad I am to see another answer for Q3!
I highly agree with your opinion that the use of violence highlights the theme more. You dissect the topic from a sociologist's view; that's good and also match Hemingway's writing purpose of exposing a generation's agony in the war and he himself being nihilistic. I suggest that it would be better if you consider adding more evidence to your consideration that people are behaving involuntary, either your analysis of the text or quoting directly.
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Finally I logged in

on Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:01 am
Rachel Ge wrote:Question 3

People often try to find the deep meaning of literature works and title them as the so-called profound theme. This novel is also interpreted as an anti-war novel. However, I believe maybe Hemingway did not decide to put painstaking elements in his novel when he first wrote it---in other words, he did not INTEND to make it a work of that high value as anti-war. Hemingway, as a writer who had fought on the front life before, were just depicting the reality: the cruelness, the ruthlessness, the bloodiness, the hopelessness, the craziness, and the nothingness existing in the war. The reality then was a long way from what we experience now, which creates barriers in understanding and difficulties in accepting, inciting readers’ negative attitude towards war, thus gaining itself the title of anti-war.
I always remember one of my favourite authors once said that when he wrote his novels, he did not consciously CREATE any expression, action, or life trend of his characters; instead, the characters went to their own fate without his interference. So whenever I’m with literature, I view every character as an independent individual.
Since there’s not a definite theme or intention here, we can say that all is reasonable because it’s just the reflection of reality---Fredric Henry’s use of violence was the result of his pride of being obeyed and insecurity for being taken over; while his seemingly masculine persona with his disillusionment was caused by the wound of war. All reactions of the character are reasonable in a period full of blood and bullet, and these reactions, without readers’ common value to understand, eventually become the reason for anti-war.
Hi Rachel, sorry for replying so late. I respect to your opinion that some writers didn't consciously create the things appears in the novel, but I hold my opinion that Hemingway created Henry's behaviors and characteristic. Of course the novel's very attractive and impressive, but I'd like to consider it as the author's skill, because even if the war is that way, not everybody could describe it so authentically and attract so many people.
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Re: Final assignment

on Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:02 am
I chose the 4th question.
This paragraph is wonderful and really moving. The reader's understanding of this passage is based on the angle he or she view this paragraph.
The ant and logs are apparently a metaphor. The extended thing is what is the two things stand for.
From my point of view ,I think that there are 2 interpretations for this scenario.
The first interpretation is that the First World War is the fire. The log is the world at that time. The ant symbolizes all the people who came to fight in the war. When the war{fire}started like a fire, all unsensible people(ant) started getting close to the war for reasons like economy, nationalism and so on. However, they all got burned and hurt by the dangerous war{fire} and most of them died. Some of them successfully fled from the centre of fire, just like Henery escaped from the war{symbolization again!} However, the ending was still a tragedy. Once you were on the log, you would die. This scenario was a kind of implication of Catherine's death. Since Catherine is Henery's hope and everything after he lost everything except Catherine , we could imagine her death may totally destroyed the life of Henery. Just like the ant, nowhere to run. Even though you escape the battle field , you are still likely to lose everything in the war. Also, the ant can be the countries who entered the war for econmical benefits and international status. After they found that they lost everything in the war, they tried to escape. However, it was too late. The war kept on destroying everything.
And the action of pouring water on the log casually for an empty water cup was another impressive plot. As far as I am concerned, the people who pour water may be god or the noble. Though Henery is more like an atheist, he showed fear and began to worship to the god before the battle. Now he felt fear since his child died and Catherine suffered a lot and might die either. However, he had no hope at all this time after experienced so many heart-broken things. So I thought he might be despaired toward the world and saw the cruelness of destiny. It was god that directed the war, gave him a little hope and then took his children and might took his only love away. It is the god who direct the whole tragedy. Also I thought the people who pours the water can also be the noble in Europe. They started the war for honor, money and that kind of stuffs. However, thousands of people sacrifeced their life for those silly things. The nobles were the people who can really do something to stop the war{Symbolization again! Henery can also save the ants}, however, they didn't. They continued the war, caring nothing about the death of normal people, continually living in a lavish way while soldiers suffered. They even used propagandas to encourage people go to the war and watch their death for exchange to valueless and pale things like money compared to the life of millions of people, just like the vapor kill all the small ants for a valueless empty cup.
As I have mentioned, this passage implied the tragedy at last. It gave us the feeling that something sad was going to happen. Also, it created a smothering sad feeling for the readers, just like the rain outside the hotel after Catherine's death. Death is anothet important theme here. The ending of the struggle is always death. Everyone in the war tried to survive, however their destination at last is still death. What's more, I felt the despair and nihilism in Henery's mind. Ants struggled. However, their struggle seems to be useless under the fatal fire. So what he could do in that era? Nearly nothing I suppose. His friend left him and had diseases one after another. He was nearly killed by the army he served for. Now his only love might die. He did struggle to leave the puddle of war. He fled everywhere but the ending was still a tragedy, like the ants. Though he may escape from the artillery, the war still destroyed him. The force is created by all human beings and he himself had no ability to resist the billow of the war. No hope. No savior. Only despair.


Last edited by Peter Wang on Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Final assignment

on Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:06 am
I choose the 2nd question.
The frontier of Italian is "picturesque". The magnificent, horrible, violence place was created by men, which destroyed them and made them frightened. But despite of these bad aspect of Italian frontier. Itself was magnificent, a tremendous tragedy. It has witnessed the separation and reunion of human beings. War makes people miserable, but it is also part of civilization development. Although this is not mentioned in the article, I think it is one of the reasons for the beauty of this scene.
The beauty is painful and sorrow. It just like a glass with crack, the glass was not complete but somehow it's beautiful. The scene of war is not a paradise for human. But it is a beautiful part, a indispensable part of the world. It showed the genuine heart of human, Blood and ashes, Ignorance, violence and cruelty. Human is not kind but it's truly beautiful. And the frontier showed the reality the truth of human.
Last but not least, there are some connections between pain and love. There is love in a place where there is pain. Despite the sorrow war in the novel, Hemingway offers a deep, mournful meditation on the nature of love to Catherine. And during the war, at the frontier there must be many stories of love just like Henry and Catherine. The war should strengthen the relationship of lovers and made them cherish the precious chance of love. The war brought painful to them and consolidated the love. Soldiers found their shelter and joy during the horrible time. The sad scene of Italian frontier should witness true love.
These are 3 points of the physical descriptions of the landscape play in the establishment of the novel’s themes.
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Re: Final assignment

on Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:13 am
I choose to answer the last question.
The ants in the passage are quite similar to each individual involved in the war. The log represented as the shelter for the ant also symbolizes the ideal homeland which is peaceful and full of happiness for every soldier in the war before it started. Putting the log on the lit fire was an analogy to the war taking place in Italy. Thus, those ants moved back and forth to find a safe place to survive although being put on the fired log was not their will, which was quite similar to soldiers who were forced to go to the front lines and devote into the war.
“Some got out, their bodies burnt and flattened, and went off not knowing where they were going.” The soldiers fighting for the war also did not know why they should attend the war and the cause of the war. They were kind of paralyzed after experiencing the cruel reality. They did not know what they should have at that time if the war did not happen and they did not even want to pursue it. They were just doing what they were told to do.
What’s more, the presence of “I” in the passage is a little ironic. “I remember thinking at the time that it was the end of the world and a splendid chance to be a messiah…… But I did not do anything but throw a tin cup of water on the log.” This quote described that the situation of the ants could be saved if I simply lift the log. Instead of being a messiah, I would rather put a cup of water and steamed the ants. Everything could be different within a simple action, especially the life of little ants. “I” could symbolize the governor who had the only power to start the war. They did not know how cruel the actual war was and how people suffered from that. They declared the war simply by words they spoken or paper they wrote while they did not know how enormous the effect they brought was. They could have just stopped this from happening and be regarded as the “messiah”. Thus, I think it is also ironic when related to the plot of the novel.
In addition, I think there is another understanding of the presence “I”. it could refer to the fate or the destiny. Everyone’s life is determined by fate, which is unchangeable. Sometimes, people’s life would be taken away by a amusing or mistaken thing. No one could do anything to change it and all the creatures would just suffer the consequences brought by the fate.
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Re: Final assignment

on Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:19 am
I choose to answer the last question.
This passage seemed to have no connection with the whole story, but its meanings and the realistic portray of the scene attracted me so much so that I tried to figure out the mystery in it.
Ants are a kind of tiny creature to human beings, and the description of this horrible scene about the burning of ants is in detail, it included a log, the fire, ants, a cup of water, and Henry himself. The author described the whole process that the ants made every effort trying to avoid their death and their failure at last carefully, also Henry’s thoughts and actions of being an observer to the whole tragedy.
From my perspective, all of those stuffs mentioned before in the passage have the symbolism for each of them. The ants symbolize human, they are both tiny and weak to the nature. The log means the homeland of Italy, since the ants were stayed on it from the beginning that Henry found the log. They were connected with each other peacefully before the disaster took place, and also during the disaster, just like the soldiers living in Italy before the war but also attending the war happening on their homeland. The fire would act as the war which brought out the death, the loss and the desperation. The cup of water seemed to be a mystery, but combined with the ending of the whole story, it would be the thing that happened to deepen the destruction and no matter what is in there, the ants or human, none of them could avoid from being destroyed. And Henry, the observer outside the scene of the ants, facilitated the whole tragedy. It was him who put the log with ants into the fire and watched it burning and causing death, then adding a cup of water in there, intensifying the whole killing process.
Being at the state of Henry, treat him as a normal one in real life, he became so cold-blood and selfish that even though he got the ability to prevent the ants from meeting death, he didn’t do it. The bloody war contributed to his characteristics, being a man without sympathy and kindness, just because he got used to death, killing, and there was no way to protect others in a self-insecurity condition, he needed to get his own profit.
Being at the state of ants, they had no idea about what controlled their lives, just like human beings. “Some got out, their bodies burnt and flattened, and went off not knowing where they were going. But most of them went toward the fire and then back toward the end and swarmed on the cool end and finally fell off into the fire.” The ants don’t know what they are fighting for, maybe they just want to stay alive, and the soldiers, don’t know what to fight for either, being scared of the death. Once I heard about someone’s opinion on human’s lives. She thinks that there might be something outside the Earth, controlling our lives. Actually all of us have our own way to go, no matter how hard we tried to change, to improve, the path is certain to each one, maybe created even before the one is born. The powerful controller may exist in the universe or somewhere else, but no one knows, and we human still work so hard trying to obtain a better life for us own, being unaware of its immutability, which is ridiculous and absurd. And she treats this controller as fate.
However, to me, it’s just so pessimistic, even though I thought as the same way in the past. From the other side, we don’t even know whether the controller is existed or not, how could we give our own life to it. I would still fight for myself all along the way because I believe the faith in my own heart would be the most correct and powerful thing to hold. In addition, what could I get if I believe in the fate, should I just stay back, do nothing, and wait for the death? Thinking about this way and doing nothing is the real self-suicide in such a peaceful life.
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