Essay, Research Paper: John Donne And Hemingway

Literature: Shakespeare

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I. Introduction Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls was said to be one
of the most famous books that came out of the Spanish Civil War. This book as
been said to have served as a prelude to the devastation of World War II because
it freed the world united against Fascism. The novel shows humanity’s great
capacity for hope or despair, which is portrayed through two contrasting
characters, Anselmo who is devoted,and Pablo, who is brutish. This literary work
is realistic and the title was quoted from John Donne’s Meditation 17, ...
“Any man’s death diminishes me, beacause I am involved in Mankind; And
therefore never send know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” The
main character in the novel is Robert Jordan who is an American fighting with
Spanish Loyalists. Robert’s character feels like an alien in his setting and
disoriented. He symbolizes the best of the American dream by giving up his
reputation, the good life, and security. Robert is a talkative, moody, and
lifeless. In the novel, Jordan falls in love with Maria. She does not live a
very interesting life and described as a very gentle person. Her main concern in
life is to please Robert as if he is almost a master. The “bad guy” of the
story is Pablo. He is viewed in the rumors during the time of war. Robert
depends on Pablo for attack plans and escape routes,which shows a reverse trait
on both men. The story begins with Robert and a guide hiking through the
mountains. Jordan planned to make contact with a guerilla band led by Pablo, and
Pilar, his wife. Jordan destroyed bridges to secure attack. Jordan and Maria
fall in love during a mission. El Sordo agreed to help with a mission to blow up
the bridge and secure horses to help the escape. El Sordo and his men were later
killed by the Fascist bombers. As Jordan slept, Pablo, stole and destroyed all
of Robert’s weapons. Jordan and his guide, Anselmo, killed the guards of the
bridge and then destroyed it with dynamite. Jordan found Pablo and forced him to
admitting that he himself had killed the other guerrillas for their horses.
Robert then crossed the bridge last as the Fascist troops had their tanks and
bullets came after him. He told Maria of his love for her and layed next to her
with his crushed leg and later died. Rather than dying in vain, he had his
submachine gun at his side. He took aim at the leading Fascist officer who was
near, and shot him. Hemingway developed the theme of John Donne by portraying
that the destiny of all human beings was bound up in the Spanish Civil War.
Ernest and John both believed that each man exists bound intimately to the fate
of his or her neighbor. They also thought that every human is a neighbor who
can’t be ignored if he or she suffers or dies. II. Body Nunc lento sonitu
dicunt, Morieris, (Now this bell tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou
must die.) from John Donne’s Meditation 17. In his long serious essay, he
states that “All mankind is of one author and is one volume; when one man
dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better
language, and every chapter must be so translated.” These ideas found in the
essay surface in Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. Both writers
believed that a man’s fate is shared by his neighbor and that he can’t be
ignored if he or she is suffering or dying. Hemingway’s novel included the
sacrifice of one’s reputation for his neighbors, the love of another neighbor,
and the end of his “translation”. Ernest Hemingway’s style of writing was
forged but became to be original. His prose was made of a collection of short,
strong, sonorous sentences. His writing always contained heros that were men
broken by the world. The women were strong yet weak and always described as
beautiful. Hemingway was best known for describing courage. Ernest found writing
tips from the King James Bible, the deceased Mark Twain, and Stephan Crane.
After finding his own original style, he developed a power in simplicity and
poetry in the everday speech. Hemingway finally made sense of the usual
adjective filled works of mainstream writing. John Donne’s keen mind led to
powerful sermons, both in the church and in his literary works. One of his
religious prose, Meditation 17, is one of the most quoted works of all time.
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main...; any man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in
mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for
thee.” Donne’s sonnet structure has been associated with William
Shakespeare. They contain three quatrians and a concluding rhymed couplet. They
are not sonnet like in which they don’t have narrative or a defined theme. In
the beginning of Hemingway’s novel, John Donne is quoted, “No man is an
Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the
maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a
Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were;
any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore
never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” Hemingway
advanced the theme of this poet by showing that the destiny of all human beings
were constrained in the Spanish Civil War. For Whom the Bell Tolls , is a very
slow moving story that acquires many actions to happen in the three days the
story takes place. Along with Hemingway’s heavy description and redundancy, it
gives the story a hard understanding of Donne’s ideas. The explanation of the
characters give the feeling of the two authors similar beliefs. When Ernest
describes the main character, Robert Jordan, as very involved with mankind by
sacrificing his life for his fellow human being. In John Donne’s Meditation
17, ... “Any man’s death diminshes me because I am involved in mankind; and
therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee...” In
both literary works, death is an important theme. All of mankind has a time for
which the “bell tolls” for them. At the end Hemingway’s novel, the main
character refused to die in vain. He died with his riffle in his hand and
prohibits dying without winning. He voices his feelings to his love and then
kills the leader of the enemy. Hemingway is known for his description of
courage. Most of his works have him as the main character and the adventures are
of his own. His life time opportunities and experiences are told throughout all
of his literary works. An idea in Donne’s essay is about how God picks a few
people as translators for several reasons such as age, sickness, justice, and
sometimes war, but he calls upon everyone to come. The idea of Hemingway’s
character dying without triumph is reviewing Donne’s inspiration on a man’s
fate having an impact on all neighbors. When Robert Jordan died in war, he not
only killed others, his death had an impression on others in his life. When
people are brought to war in a country, they work together for security of
others. No one is fending for themselves, they are fighting for eachother. In
Meditation 17 , “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece
of the continent, a part of the main.” This idea surfaces in For Whom the Bell
Tolls , time after time when the characters work together to find escape routes
and tactics to win the battle in the Spanish Civil War. The power of God is a
strong theme in John Donne’s essay. He gives examples of God’s power over
mankind such as the setting of the sun, and the time in which we are called upon
to exit life. The essay also states that humans take advantage of all the gifts
we are given such as living itself. The idea that man is as selfish as to
consider his or her own power, and not consider God’s power over the entire
world and he himself can call upon the occasion of the “ringing of the
bell”. This idea of human power verses His power, is evident in Hemingway’s
novel with the actions of war. One country fighting another because of power of
man. III. Conclusion Ernest Hemingway and John Donne had many similar ideas and
beliefs. After reading Donne’s long serious essay, Meditation 17 , many of
their shared points were evident throughout Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell
Tolls. They both thought that someone’s fate is shared by his or her neighbor.
Another idea that the two writers shared was the notion that a neighbor cannot
be ignored if she or he suffers or dies. An indication that the opinions were
mutual were through articles found in the novel that could be related to
Donne’s essay. Hemingway was trying to remind his reader of the poet’s
illustrating works with his own similar ideas that mankind’s destiny and
related it to the controlled environment of the Spanish Civil War.
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