Donne Vs. Hemingway

Donne Vs. Hemingway

Section: English Essays

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, because I’m 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 heroes 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 everyday 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’m 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 quatrains 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’m 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 diminishes me because I’m 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 each other. 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. Indications 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.