For Whom the Bell Tolls
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway is full of extraordinary and multidimensional characters through whom the author expresses his ideas and vision of the world. The abstract on p. 159 focuses on the personalities of Robert Jordan and Maria who add their share to the overall picture of the work. Their emotions, feelings, and actions help Hemingway depict and develop the themes such as unity, fear, and time. Unity has a lot of representations in the work. First, it is the unity of a man and nature, them the unity of a couple, as well as the unity of place and emotion. The same themes are illustrated in passages on p. 349 and p. 72. Still, they do not mirror the ideas from the initial extract, but take a different perspective.
First, it is necessary to explain in detail the wording and meanings implied by it in the passage on p. 159. The most vivid theme presented on this page is the unity of a man and nature. The author illustrates the intercourse among the bushes of heather in the forest. The bodies of the characters and nature seem to feel and express the same emotion. To begin with, many sentences are short, while the long ones consist of abrupt clauses. Utilizing these structures, the text is rather chaotic and follows a lot of things at the same time. Such a technique is useful in rendering the natural flow of the characters’ thoughts. In addition, Hemingway underlines that senses of Jordan become far sharper towards natural phenomena. Apparently, he is excited because of the woman beside him, but the effect of “the curve of her throat” is strengthened by the smell of heather and “the sun on the closed eyes.” It looks as if both of the characters forgot about daily routine once they appeared to be alone with nature; nature offered them an invaluable opportunity to be themselves, feel the scratchy grass on bare shoulders and enjoy the emotions that overwhelm them with eyes closed. The lashes of hers “flutter,” rendering the natural sounds and images of leaves on the wind or bird flying. At the end of the page, the reader sees “they were walking along the stream together” which seems rather symbolic. The life of a person flows like a river; in some places it is fast while in others it enjoys a slow gait, some passages are full of magnificent scenery while others bring you to underwater rocks. In the case of Jordan and Maria, they appear to be in the same boat and living through the same background.
Thus, the theme of unity with nature is skillfully switched to the theme of relationship in which two different persons are united, “they were both there, time having stopped and he felt the earth move out and away from under them.” Hemingway tries to show the reader that lovers reflect each other in actions and feelings, “her head pushed back into the heather” and “his head deep into the heather.” Both of them are perceptive and expressive of the environment they experience. On the other hand, each of them is an individual and sees the world from a different angle; to her the world is red and warm while his picture is dark and uneasy; she lives smoothly, with her eyes shut tight, in blindness of the sun’s shining, with lips moving “smally,” and talking “from no distance”; he reaches her “from a great but friendly distance,” “suddenly, scaldingly, holdingly.”
Despite such a striking difference, they can freeze “time absolutely still.” In this place, Hemingway underlines the importance of the current moment. No matter what is going on around, it is worth noting the things that can make a person happy; these are colors around and people on the side, the sounds and smells, the words and touches. The importance of time appreciation is as never vivid in this abstract.
Still, the reader can feel the fear in the passage. The characters are enjoying the company of each other but cannot hide their anxiety facing the unknown tomorrow. The fear is brilliantly rendered by the author by repeating the word “nowhere” for numerous times in different variations, contexts, and shades. The immense length of the sentence with “nowhere” repetition as well as the division of it into abrupt parts reproduce the feeling of unexpectedness and ignorance.
The second passage on p. 349 continues and develops the themes mentioned in the initial one. Through a fairly simplistic conversation, Hemingway is eager to picture the unity of a man and a woman. The most apparent part is, “We will have our necessities together. I have no necessities apart from thee.” In some places, Jordan is good at helping Maria to express herself, saying that it was potato that was problem-causing for women. Moreover, it is visible that Maria, in addition to excluding potatoes, is ready to put in a lot of effort for Jordan to be happy and satisfied; the passage discusses the body fitness, but it comes quite clear that Maria is ready to sacrifice some parts of herself in the name of love. Moreover, the same issue of figure hides her fears of the future. Explicitly she does not want to gain weight, but implicitly she cannot imagine Jordan leaving her at some point, “I feared that thou might think we did not have the joy in common.” Also, that is the fear of time and its crashing nature. The time is unpredictable, but Jordan says, “I love thee thus lying beside thee and touching thee knowing thou art truly there,” underlining once more the preciousness of each moment. The passage uses the same language patterns as the initial page, reflecting the natural language of the characters and the way in which they feel the world.
Page 72 opens the description of Jordan’s content while being accompanied by Maria; the word “happy” is described with numerous adverbial modifiers reproducing the emotion that overflows the man. Also, the way he addresses Maria shows his excitement and delight. It is a kind of chaos and amusement simultaneously. In fact, that amusement is experienced because of the woman beside him and the exact moment they live through. The moment here is fascinating, but the notion of time is dreadful; it takes some time for Jordan to know the time since it is behind the back of Maria, and in the darkness of her robe. Providing these details, Hemingway is trying to show that the perception of time depends to a great extend on the context in which the person is. At some point of conversation, Jordan is unwilling to have a look at the watch, he does not want to return to reality. Together with the preciousness of the moment, the text highlights the value of simple natural moments, “he felt her heart beating against his with the side of his foot he stroked very lightly against the side of hers.” She, on her side, is fascinated with his beard; it is traditionally believed that women do not like men’s beard, but Maria adores this attribute of masculinity. The fear in this passage is absolutely different, it has been fought by desire of Maria to be together with Jordan; she is ready to sacrifice her bare feet for the future. The presentation in the form of a dialogue brings the scene maximally close to the reader.
In conclusion, Hemingway appears to be the master of the text. Through the language of his characters and his own narration he is able to render the necessary emotion and feelings. The author is rather choosy in terms of vocabulary, structures, and patterns, but they allow him to illustrate the themes of time, unity, and fear the most accurately.