Home > Uncategorized > Ernest Hemingway: There are people who would make war, there are other people who would not make war

Ernest Hemingway: There are people who would make war, there are other people who would not make war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Ernest Hemingway: Selections on war

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Ernest Hemingway
From A Farewell to Arms (1929)

hemingway

“What’s the matter, father? You seem very tired.”

“I am tired but I have no right to be.”

“It’s the heat.”

“No. This is only the Spring. I feel very low.”

“You have the war disgust.”

“No. But I hate the war.”

“I don’t enjoy it,” I said.

He shook his head and looked out of the window.

“You do not mind it. You do not see it. You must forgive me. I know you are wounded.”

“That is an accident.”

“Still even wounded you do not see it. I can tell. I do not see it myself but I feel it a little.”

“When I was wounded we were talking about it. Passini was talking.”

The priest put down the glass. He was thinking about something else.

“I know them because I am like they are,” he said.

“You are different though.”

“But really I am like they are.”

“The officers don’t see anything.”

“Some of them do. Some are very delicate and feel worse than any of us.”

“They are mostly different.”

“It is not education or money. It is something else. Even if they had education or money men like Passini
would not wish to be officers. I would not be an officer.”

“You rank as an officer. I am an officer.”

“I am not really. You are not even an Italian. You are a foreigner. But you are nearer the officers than you are to the men.”

“What is the difference?”

“I cannot say it easily. There are people who would make war. In this country there are many like that.
There are other people who would not make war.”

“But the first ones make them do it.”

“Yes.”

“And I help them.”

“You are a foreigner. You are a patriot.”

“And the ones who would not make war? Can they stop it?”

“I do not know.”

He looked out of the window again. I watched his face.

“Have they ever been able to stop it?”

“They are not organized to stop things and when they get organized their leaders sell them out.”

“Then it’s hopeless?”

“It is never hopeless. But sometimes I cannot hope. I try always to hope but sometimes I cannot.”

“Maybe the war will be over.”

“I hope so.”

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