"Edson’s vivid portrayal of the urban area, as well as the working class and underclass, creates a vision of Saint John that highlights the discrepancy between the pre-modern idyllic notion of life in Atlantic Canada and the more complicated reality of the region."

-The New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is Hemingway's Catherine Barkley English or Scottish?

Catherine Barkley, the nurse who sweeps Lieutenant Frederick Henry off his feet in Hemingway's masterpiece, A Farewell to Arms, is clearly described early on in the novel as English. But later, when Barkley is discussing with Henry what would happen if they got married...

"But darling they'd send me away."
"Maybe they wouldn't."
"They would. They'd send me home and then we would be apart until after the war."
"I'd come on leave."
"You couldn't get to Scotland and back on leave..."

So which one is it?


Anonymous said...

why hasn't anyone else noticed this? From such a "great writer"! Where was his editor?

Anonymous said...

See page 110 in the Hemingway Library Edition. Lt. Henry tells Catherine, "I don't want you to get Scotch and crazy tonight." Catherine replies, "No, but I am Scotch and crazy." There are many more references to her being English than there are to her being Scottish.