The Meyers: Character Analysis in A Farewell To Arms

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      The Meyers are an odd couple. Mr. Meyers is a short and old man with a white moustache while his wife Mrs. Meyers is a big-busted woman generally clad in black satin. Henry meets them while he is convalescing in Milan. They are both slightly eccentric in their habits.

Mrs. Meyers and her “Dear Boys”
      Mrs. Meyers is an old lady who has daughters only. She is in the habit of taking care and looking after the boys in the hospital. She brings gifts to the boys and refers to all of them as the “Dear Boys” and tells Henry, “I’m coming up to the hospital to see you. I have some things for my dear boys. You’re all my boys. You certainly are my dear boys. Those dear boys. You too. You’re one of my boys”. Everybody knows how she calls everyone her ‘dear boy’. Catherine appreciates her gifts because she really does bring good and fine tilings for the wounded soldiers in the hospital but she can’t help making fun of the way she calls them ‘her dear boys’.

Mr. Meyers and the Horse Races
     According to Catherine, Mr. Meyers, “is supposed to have been in the penitentiary at home. They let him out to die”. But he is enjoying life in Milan. He is given to placing bets in the horse-races and he generally wins in these races which were usually crooked. He won on nearly every race but he never wanted to give tips to anybody because that brought down the price. Henry never liked to ask him for tips because sometimes he did not answer and one could see that it hurt him to give away such information but somehow he felt obligated to them for some reason and usually gave them tips. There was another wounded soldier, named Crowell in the hospital. Mr. Meyers did not hate giving him tips. It was because Mr. Meyers had trouble with his eyes and Crowell had been hurt in his eyes and he felt some affinity between them. Mr. Meyers did not give tips to his wife either.

Lend Humour to the Story
      The Meyers as such have no great significant role to play in the novel or its plot development. They are completely extraneous and can easily be removed from the text without doing much harm to the plot, character or any other aspect of the novel. They are mere superfluous additions from the point of view of the plot. However, they add variety and depth to the life as depicted in the novel therefore they cannot be completely dismissed as being redundant. The world as we see it is made up of all sorts of people and Hemingway has brought in the Meyers to show the strange specimens of human nature. They are also a source of humour. They bring relief from the grave and gloomy atmosphere of the book. They are realistic and convincing portrayal of an eccentric couple. They add to the realism of the novel.

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