Comparative Analysis Of World War Z By Max Brooks And A Farewell To Arms By Ernest Hemingway

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks and A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway both have the theme of betrayal, suffering, and tragedy which made them have a lot of correlations, but there were a lot of contradictions as well. Both novels were set in the real world, Earth, dealt with world wars and the tragedy of death. The plot and authors; different writing styles are what make them unsimilar. World War Z is a collection of people’s stories and experiences written by an interviewer following the zombie outbreak, called the “Zombie War”. A Farewell to Arms is a love story of Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver during World War I and Catherine Barkley, an English nurse. Though these stories seem very dissimilar, they share a lot in common. One related thing between the two novels is that they both have settings in the real world. From ”The Austrian trenches” to the hospital Barkley gives birth at in Switzerland, A Farewell to Arms takes place in multiple parts of Europe. The imagery is vivid and detailed throughout the entire novel, allowing the reader to understand how the world is being affected by war. World War Z is filled with interviews from citizens all over the world. These people come from places such as China, The United States, Southern Africa, Brazil, Greendland and many more. It is really interesting to observe how the cultures and location can affect how people dealt with the Zombie War. While people in Japan would witness the wreckage “from the safety of their digital mountain tops” (Brooks 206-207), others would see it first hand. Both novels also had to deal with some type of war. Ernest Hemingway was a World War I vetern which highly impacted the main character, Frederic Henry, actions and emotions based off of his own experience.

The books gives the reader a close and personal perspective of the horrors of hearing “machine-guns and rifles firing” (Hemingway 47) and how it changes the lives of the people involved with the first World War. World War Z, as said in the title, was not only a war between the living dead and human kind, but of people and society. Brooks’ novel explores the ways in which people and governments throughout the world are confronted by the un-dead. This war is different from any other in history. It gave a new name to Total War, because unlike the past when it was physically impossible for everyone to be committed to war, every single living dead, ”every second of the day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth.” The final similarity is death. Both novels revolve around death, whether it be from war or the un-dead. Frederic Henry was constantly surrounded by death. From being at or working in a hospital at the front lines of war, close friends and acquaintances, or witnessing the death of his lover Catherine and their son during childbirth. Their son was born still born because his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck which did not allow him to get enough oxygen to survive and Catherine passed due to multiple hemorrhages that “the doctors couldn’t stop” (Hemingway 283). Hemingway uses a lot of symbolism throughout his novel to emphasize the impact death has on people and the inevitability of the end of human life. Since the Zombie War was spread all over the world, hundreds of millions of people died. Most of the interviewed people had witnessed a death of someone close to them, including a multiple soldiers from all different countries who had to put down their fellow officers. All the death involved in these novels shaped the mental and physical strength of its characters to be able to survive these traumatic experiences.

These novels have differences as well, including the plot. A Farewell to Arms is about the unique tragic love story while World War Z is about the survival of the zombie apocalypse. Hemingway writes about the story of Frederic and Catherine love life. They met at a hospital where Fredric was staying by chance and slowly gained feelings for each other. Catherine is hesitant to fall for him due to the recent loss of her fiance, claiming multiple times that she does not have feelings for him. By chance they met again when Frederic gets a leg injury during battle. They spend all of their time together, ending with them getting pregnant with a baby boy. The couple travels to Switzerland to be together. Sadly their story comes to an end when Catherine passes away, leaving Frederic all alone. Max Brooks created a story about a post war society that is trying to recover from the devastating events. The goal of this book is to document the memories and events of the Zombie War. It is “- a book of memories-” (Brooks 3) that holds the details of the social, economic and technological changes in society. The authors polar opposite plots are what set the novels apart from each other. Another difference is the style of writing. Hemingway has a simplistic route when it comes to his writing. His sentences are plain and direct, full of imagery. Almost the entire novel is conversation between Frederic and the people around him. He describes the scenery around him in a straightforward attitude. “I watched the snow falling.” is a good example of this. Since World War Z is a compilation of interviews, the novel is styled to be full of conversations and comes across friendly and familiar. Brooks is very good at making the reader understand the characters on a personal level because “This is the people who were interviewed book” (Brooks 3). As the reader, you feel like you are having a conversation with another person. The novels A Farewell to Arms and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War had unexpected similarities and drastic differences. Both authors used literary methods to give the reader an unforgettable experience that will stay with the reader forever.

14 May 2021
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