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Joe Biden quotes Ernest Hemingway during Covid-19 vaccine speech, here's the full 'Farewell to Arms' passage

Biden's reference to one of litertature's greats sparked a heavy trend on Twitter with some supporting the president and others mocking him
UPDATED MAR 12, 2021
US President Joe Biden and novelist Ernest Hemingway (Getty Images)
US President Joe Biden and novelist Ernest Hemingway (Getty Images)

President Joe Biden took to prime time TV to address the nation in a 24-minute speech from the East Room on March 11. During his speech, Biden paraphrased a quote from Ernest Miller Hemingway, the legendary American novelist, short-story writer and journalist, sparking a trend on Twitter. "While it was different for everyone, we all lost something. A collective suffering, a collective sacrifice, a year filled with the loss of life, and the loss of living, for all of us," he said as per New York Times.

The speech urged people to call upon the collective strength of the nation during a pandemic and Biden's speech has been mostly well-received. Last week, the president's administration had presented assuring news saying that they have enough doses to vaccinate every adult by the end of May. “July 4th with your loved ones is the goal,” he said. Biden said the Covid-19 vaccines are so safe that he and Vice President Kamala Harris got vaccinated in public. He also urged Americans to listen to Dr Anthony Fauci on the vaccines. "My message to you is this: Listen to Dr. Fauci,” Biden said, adding that he’s one of the “most distinguished and trusted voices in the world.” “He’s assured us that vaccines are safe,” the president said. “I know they’re safe."

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'Being strong in all the broken places'

1948: Author and journalist Ernest Miller Hemingway (1899 - 1961) (with his wife, Mary) on holiday in Stresa, Italy. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

During his speech, the president also quoted Hemingway speaking of how many have seen frontline workers risking and losing their lives to help others during the pandemic. "Researchers and scientists racing for a vaccine and so many of you, as Hemingway wrote, being strong in all the broken places." This reference to one of literature's greats sparked a heavy trend on Twitter, with some supporting the president and others mocking him.

You can watch the clip below.


Users that appreciated Biden's "warm" speech took to Twitter to make sure #Hemingway was trending as one user wrote, "“...and so many of you, as Hemingway wrote, being strong at all the broken places...” - I love, love, LOVE, when @POTUSBiden quotes and invokes the works of literary giants in his speeches. As a lover of literature, and a human being, it warms my heart every time. #Bidenspeech. Another added, "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” - Hemingway .. loved hearing this from Biden! Love having a President again! He stresses unity, shows empathy, speaks about Americans instead of himself! Cheers to a real leader !!! " Yet another added, "I love that he is literate and he doesn’t just go with the obvious. I don’t even like Hemingway but I like that Biden understands him."




Some users took to the social media channel for an opportunity to troll ex-president Donald Trump as one user wrote, "Biden quoted Hemingway tonight— pretty sure Trump never had such a literary reference. (refraining from commenting on hemingway himself)" Another added, "President Biden quoted Hemingway tonight! Who thinks Donald Trump even knows who that is?"



Some even took a shot at the president's memory with one user writing, "Trust me Biden has no idea who he is much less Hemingway. Just reading what was written for him. He managed to get the line read properly so we can give him that." Others insulted his reading habits, "Let's not kid ourselves; Biden's speech writer quoted Hemingway. Biden plagiarized exams in college and plagiarized speeches in the 80s... I doubt he is a big reader." Some were simply harsh, "Joe’s Biden’s completely improper usage of my favorite Hemingway quote just leveled up my disgust for him."




The 'Farewell to Arms' passage

American novelist Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961) on holiday in Stresa.

The quote the president paraphrased is part of this passage in 'Farewell to Arms' by Hemingway: “That night at the hotel, in our room with the long empty hall outside and our shoes outside the door, a thick carpet on the floor of the room, outside the windows the rain falling and in the room light and pleasant and cheerful, then the light out and it exciting with smooth sheets and the bed comfortable, feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others ... But we were never lonely and never afraid when we were together. I know that the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started. But with Catherine there was almost no difference in the night except that it was an even better time. If people bring so much courage to the world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”