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For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls

by Ernest Hemingway

Politics Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Then he stood there against the tree stamping his feet softly and he did not think any more about the bridge. The coming of the dark always made him feel lonely and tonight he felt so lonely that there was a hollowness in him as of hunger. In the old days he could help this loneliness by the saying of prayers and often coming home from hunting he would repeat a great number of the same prayer and it made him feel better. But he had not prayed once since the movement. He missed the prayers but he thought it would be unfair and hypocritical to say them and he did not wish to ask any favors or for any different treatment than all the men were receiving.

No, he thought, I am lonely. But so are all the soldiers and the wives of all the soldiers and all those who have lost families or parents. I have no wife, but I am glad that she died before the movement. She would not have understood it. I have no children and I never will have any children. I am lonely in the day when I am not working but when the dark comes it is a time of great loneliness. But one thing I have that no man nor any God can take from me and that is that I have worked well for the Republic. I have worked hard for the good that we will all share later. (15.53-54)

Anselmo isn't so different from Pilar in some respects: like her, his patriotism for the Republic serves as a substitute for religious faith, and is the source of his motivating energy. But unlike Pilar, Anselmo had religious faith, and has sacrificed his religious practices for political reasons (the Church sided with the fascists). Another thing: without his prayers, without God, Anselmo is lonely. Does he perhaps look to the solidarity and community of those fighting with him as a substitute?

Quote #5

"But are there not many fascists in your country?"

"There are many who do not know when they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes."

"But you cannot destroy them until they rebel?"

"No," Robert Jordan said. "We cannot destroy them. But we can educate the people so that they will fear fascism and recognize it as it appears and combat it." (16.116-119)

An interesting and revealing remark about American politics which seems to pop right out of the plot and address itself directly to the American reader. Jordan, and through him Hemingway, is pointing out to his contemporaries that in the United States there are many fascists by their beliefs, even if there is no party. And they must be "taught." Is the book itself perhaps an attempt at teaching? (Some of Hemingway's own friends were fascists by allegiance, such as Gertrude Stein, and his wife, who sided with the Church – and so the fascists – in the Spanish Civil War.)

Quote #6

He had not liked Gaylord's, the hotel in Madrid the Russians had taken over, when he first went there because it seemed too luxurious and the food was too good for a besieged city and the talk too cynical for a war. But I corrupted very easily, he thought. Why should you not have as good food as could be organized when you came back from something like this? And the talk that he had thought of as cynicism when he had first heard it had turned out to be much too true. This will be something to tell at Gaylord's, he thought, when this is over. Yes, when this is over. (18. 31)

Gaylord's is very important to Robert Jordan's own narrative: the place itself is associated with the great change in perspective which took place in him as he began to frequent it. Gaylord's is where Robert Jordan's earlier political fanaticism began to crumble as he came face to face with reality. It's also where his purity, and his "continence," began to be compromised – the good food and the luxury are breaks with that continence. The conclusion of the paragraph reveals that Jordan sees his experience with the guerillas as a continuation of that process.

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