For Whom the Bell Tolls
For Whom the Bell Tolls Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
The young man, whose name was Robert Jordan, was extremely hungry and he was worried. He was often hungry but he was not usually worried because he did not give any importance to what happened to himself and he knew from experience how simple it was to move behind the enemy lines in this country. It was as simple to move behind them as it was to cross through them, if you had a good guide. It was only giving importance to what happened to you if you were caught that made it difficult; that and deciding who to trust. (1.53)
Robert Jordan is an excellent soldier because he doesn't fear death. In part that's because he's pretty experienced and pretty sure of himself, but deep down it's because he doesn't really care what happens to himself. He doesn't have a reason for living besides the cause. It's as if he'd give his life because he's got nothing better to do.
They are awfully good horses, though, he thought, beautiful horses. I wonder what could make me feel the way those horses make Pablo feel. The old man was right. The horses made him rich and as soon as he was rich he wanted to enjoy life. Pretty soon he'll feel bad because he can't join the Jockey Club, I guess, he thought. (1.217)
In contrast to Robert Jordan, Pablo is desperately attached to his own life, and the horses he's acquired are his prized possession (remember, Pablo used to be a horse trainer). Because of that attachment, he's unwilling to risk his life. This is what lies at the roots of Pablo's "cowardice."
"I am afraid to die, Pilar," he said. Tengo miedo de morir. Dost thou understand?" […] "All my life I have had this sadness at intervals," the woman said. "But it is not like the sadness of Pablo. It does not affect my resolution." (9.63; 67)
Pablo's only direct admission of a fear of death – this is a moment when it's uniquely easy to sympathize with his character. That fear of death is called "sadness," but it's not necessarily easy to see how sadness is connected to fear. There seems to be more to Pablo's "sadness" than just not wanting the party to stop (i.e., it's not just that he wants to keep enjoying life). There's a hopelessness about it, which is why it leads to inaction. Pilar understands it, though unlike Pablo she is capable of resisting it. What has really caused it?