Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Mortality

Death and war go hand in hand, and For Whom the Bell Tolls is about war. So almost every major character in the book is forced to come to terms with their own death, and the deaths of their loved o...

Warfare

For Whom the Bell Tolls is the novel about the Spanish Civil War, and it describes the uniquely cruel reality of war violence in all its grisly details. In this novel, war seems to escalate beyond...

Love

Though it is a story of war, For Whom the Bell Tolls is also the tale of the sudden but passionate love between an American volunteer and a Spanish girl brought together for three (and a half) days...

Foreignness and 'The Other'

For Whom the Bell Tolls is the story of an American volunteer, Robert Jordan, fighting with Spanish Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, kind of like Hemingway himself did. Robert Jordan is there...

Duty

Fighting in a war, as do the characters in For Whom the Bell Tolls, inevitably means having duties. There are the obvious duties to one's cause, or to one's commander. But there are also duties to...

Men and Masculinity

This is the theme one would expect to find in every Hemingway book, and For Whom the Bell Tolls doesn't disappoint. "Being a man" is an ideal of many of the characters, one men hold up for themselv...

Politics

For Whom the Bell Tolls is about the Spanish Civil War, and the Spanish Civil War is all about politics: it's a conflict between the leftist "Republic" and the fascist Nationalists. All of the char...

Friendship

For Whom the Bell Tolls revolves around the idea of communion between human beings expressed in its epigraph. Connecting to others is the only way to overcome the emptiness and loneliness at the he...

Morality and Ethics

Many of the characters in For Whom the Bell Tolls find their moral beliefs troubled by the war in which they're fighting. Winning a war requires the use of violence to defeat or eliminate one's ene...

The Supernatural

There's a thread about the supernatural which runs throughout For Whom the Bell Tolls. Near the book's beginning, another character, Pilar, appears to see the protagonist's "fate" in his palm. The...
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