Saturday, March 26, 2011
For Whom the Bell Tolls By Earnest Hemmingway
Robert Jordan is an american professor who enlists in the spanish republican army during the spanish civil war. He is sent by General Golz to meet with a group of guerrilla fighters in the mountains. His task is to wait until the general's attack starts and then blow up a fascist controlled bridge. Jordan meets with the guerrillas and finds that many have become lazy and no longer wish to fight. Many are completely opposed to blowing the bridge because it means that they will be discovered and would force them to move from their hideout. A schism forms within the group with The band's leader, Pablo on one side and Jordan and Pablo's wife on the other. An argument occurs in which Jordan almost shoots Pablo but eventually things get calm and the group goes to bed. The next day, Jordan and Pablo's wife Pilar go to speak to a neighboring group of guerrillas led by a man named El Sordo. They agree to help blow the bridge and suggest that they can get some horses for the attack. As they return to camp, it begins snowing. They return to find Pablo drunk. He begins provoking Jordan and arguing about the bridge. Again Robert is prepared to kill Pablo, this time, however, he learns that he has the entire band on his side and that no one believes Pablo is still a good leader. Pablo leaves before Robert gets the nerve to kill him. Several minutes later he returns saying that he no longer wants to lead and that his wife, Pilar should. The group then turns in for the night again. The next morning Jordan wakes up to a Fascist patrol walking through the camp. He kills the man and realizes that El Sordo had tried to steal horses from the Fascist camp and were followed into the mountain by their tracks in the snow. The group gets ready for a large scale battle but the patrols pass by and attack El Sordo. Jordan realizes that neither group stands a chance so they must hide and watch as all of Sordo's men are killed. When the battle is over Jordan attempts to prepare for the next days battle with even less men than he thought. And to make matters worse, Pablo has left with the dynamite needed to blow the bridge. That night, however, Pablo returns with another neighboring band of guerrillas. The battle begins early in the morning, and Jordan has no problem blowing the bridge. Though he does lose a few men. During their retreat Jordan is on a horse. A bullet hits the ground near him and his horse falls on and breaks his leg. He tells the group to leave him. He sits alone contemplating suicide and waiting for the Fascists to find him. Several feet away he sees a Fascist officer. He takes aim, and the novel ends.
1. Robert Jordan is an american who has never lived in Spain. Would you ever fight for a country other that your own just because you believed in the principles of that country?
2. Robert is told by the general that he is essentially on a suicide mission. Would you ever go on a mission like his knowing that you were most likely going to fail and possibly be killed?