Hemingway for Kids August 8, 2011Posted by Matt in books, family.
Tags: A Farewell to Arms, children, Ernest Hemingway
I can’t recall exactly how it came up today, but at some point on our ride home from supper with our friends, my oldest daughter and I touched on the subject of one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway. I mentioned how much I loved his novels and she, being the inquisitive sort, asked, “What did he write?”
“Well,” I answered, “he wrote a lot of books. My favorite is The Sun Also Rises, and some of his others are The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and A Farewell to Arms.
“What are they about?”
The first plot I could remember off the top of my head was A Farewell to Arms, so I launched into a quick summary that would make sense to a fourth grader.
“It’s about a man who gets injured in a war, then sent to the hospital to get better. After a while, he and his nurse fall in love.”
I glance in the rearview mirror and see her nodding along, so I continue.
“He finally gets better and is sent back to the war, but people want to kill him, so he runs away. He meets back with the nurse and they run away together. But she’s pregnant, and when it comes time to have the baby, there are problems and she and the baby die. Then the man walks home in the rain.”
There’s a moment of silence in the car as the description sinks in.
“That’s it?” she asks, incredulous that it could end in that manner. “Are you kidding me? That sounds like the middle of the book, not the end!”
I chuckle a bit, “Yeah, it doesn’t have a happy ending.”
Her mouth is open, aghast that any book could end in such a bleak and, in her view, unsatisfying way. “You got that right!”
Maybe we’ll tackle Faulkner next…