One of Ours One of Ours discussion


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How does OOO compare with Farewell to Arms?

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James (JD) Dittes I wrote in my review about the Murderer's Row of contemporary American authors who stand between Cather and her rightful recognition as one of America's most unique voices.

Still, the book that deserves comparison with One of Ours is Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. Here's my take:
1. Hemingway's use of the love story makes the two characters more relatable. The war is a personal quest for Claude, and while his friendship with David Gerhardt develops his character, he still isn't as full as Hemingway's hero.
2. The battle scenes are pretty vivid in both cases. Cather doesn't reach the epic vision of the retreat from Caporetto in AFTA--no one could--but her battle scenes are well written and vivid in their own right, even though the scope is limited to Claude's experience.
3. Both books are anti-war, but Cather is more sympathetic than Hemingway.


Mackay I don't think Cather is more sympathetic to the war; I think she is sympathetic to Claude's perception of the war. That is one thing I found remarkable in this book - that it isn't a justification of the war, nor a condemnation; it is the portrait of a bright, naïve, seeking sort of young American. As such, she lets him stand for a feeling that was common at the start of the war, that it was a great and necessary thing. The trenches taught Europe a severe lesson in "great and necessary," but Cather's Nebraskan innocent didn't live through that part of the war...


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