Instructors’ Teaching Experience

I attempted to teach this text for the elective course Literature and Sexualities. I say “attempted” because it did not go well – at all. Although I personally like Hemingway’s works quite a bit, I’m reluctant to ever try them in the classroom ever again. Perhaps my specialization (early British literature) held me back, but I just couldn’t come up with much of anything to talk about in class regarding this novel. Students are bored by the war, the couldn’t care less about Catherine or anyone else, and on the whole it was just kind of a flop. Looking back I think part of the problem is that my courses are fairly heavy on close reading. Students really rely on picking apart descriptions and details to make their interpretation; thus, I suspect the large amount of dialog in A Farewell to Arms threw them off a bit. They just really weren’t sure where to go, and maybe it was my own fault for not directing them better. Ultimately, although I am never touching Hemingway in the classroom again, I wouldn’t entirely dismiss it as a viable option for other teachers. I’d imagine Hemingway scholars, for example, might have a much better chance at success. [Katie Gubbels]