For Whom the Bell Tolls
How we cite our quotes:
Lying there, by Agustín, watching the planes going over, listening for firing behind him, watching the road below where he knew he would see something but not what it would be, he still felt nub with the surprise that he had not been killed at the bridge. He had accepted being killed so completely that all of this now seemed unreal. Shake out of that, he said to himself. Get rid of that. There is much, much, much to be done today. But it would not leave him and he felt, consciously, all of this becoming like a dream. (43.192)
In the face of expected death, Robert Jordan had begun to let go of life already as a reaction. Perhaps it is a way of making leaving it all psychologically easier? Since Robert Jordan didn't die, the world around him now feels unreal. It's interesting to note that Robert Jordan experiences the same sense of unreality, or of being lost in a dream, as a reaction to his love with Maria.
He looked down the hill slope again and he thought, I hate to leave it, is all. I hate to leave it very much and I hope I have done some good in it. I have tried to with what talent I had. (43.373)
The only thing that really bothers Robert Jordan about dying is leaving everything he cares about behind. And Robert Jordan now cares about a lot. Kind of a big change from the beginning of the book. That caring makes dying more painful. But it also gives a new resolve to his sacrifice. He is giving himself up for something (fill in the blank: his friends, the Republic, humanity, the world?) he appreciates much more than he did before.
Who do you suppose has it easier? The ones with religion or just taking it straight? It comforts them very much but we know there is no thing to fear. It's only the missing that's bad. Dying is only bad when it takes a long time and hurts so much that it humiliates you. That is where you have all the luck, see? You don't have any of that. (43.383)
Death doesn't pose that much of a problem for Robert Jordan, who "takes it straight" (very Hemingway male). The comforts of belief in an afterlife don't really matter to him, and add an unnecessary kind of uncertainty. Death is only particularly troublesome if it's painful and humiliating (he hasn't started feeling pain yet). Does one get the sense that he's trying to convince himself he believes this?