Military Humour in Hemingway’s War Novels

Author                                                                     Co-Author

Mahavir Singh                                                           Swati Punia

Assistant Professor of English                                       Research Scholar (M.Phil Roll No-15)

Dyal Singh College, Karnal (Haryana), India              Kurukshetra University, Kutukshetra

Abstract

Hemingway’s War Novels are basically tragic in structure but decorated with the streak linings of occasional military humours. The sprinklings of light-hearted fun tend to turn these tragedies into tragic-comedies. The manner in which the writer integrates a wide range of comic strain during stressful atmoshphere of war reveals Hemingway’s ingenuity as a humorist. He has employed the strategy of providing comic interludes through the naughty jokes of the soldiers on the hazardous situation. The casualty of men, the gloomy atmosphere of the war theatre, mental torture and occasional panic are factors responsible for the by-product of humour. Thus, humour in these war tragedies provides the readers a key to understand occasions of humour in the surroundings of war and psychology of the soldiers. A variety of comic strain is also found in love theme that runs parallel to the theme of war throughout the novels. Even the conversation of lovers evokes amusing laughter. The eccentricities and whimsicalities inherent in different lop-sided responses to love have been treated quite comically in these novels. Their fascination with obscenity is so strong that the soldiers term even the physical features of land in the bodily geography of a woman. The lewd jokes reduce the anxiety of the soldiers and their unsatiated gratification of carnal desires. One of the finest instances we find is in A Farewell To Arms when the bulging out bellies of cartridges carrying soldiers are compared with the pregnant women. The amalgamation of the tragic temper with the comic revelry is an old technique in literature, but the way it has been consummated by Hemingway is definitely unrivalled in the modern war novel.

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