Hemingway's Disillusionment with War in For Whom the Bell Tolls

Topics: KILL, Ernest Hemingway, Spanish Civil War Pages: 2 (844 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Disillusionment of Hemingway with War

Hemingway uses certain repetitive themes and ideas in his book, For Whom the Bell Tolls, which relate to the grander dogma that he is trying to teach. By using these reoccurring ideas, he is able to make clear his views on certain issues and make the reader understand his thoughts. The most notable of this reoccurring theme is that of war. Hemingway uses the war concept as paradoxical irony in this book, to tell the reader what the thinks about war. It is even more interesting to note that rather than this theme being derived from this war theme, the book is derived from this main theme. Hemingway emphasized the fallacy of war by discussing how there are no real winners in war, that war is equal. What goes around comes around. That whereas one man may kill another, another man will come to kill the first man and so on, in a never-ending cycle of stupidity and futility. The setting of this book can be analyzed here; the Spanish Civil War in the 1920-30 time period is the setting for the book, on the battlefields in the Spanish countryside. The whole fascist/communist aspect is brought up since both sides are against one another. Here again, Hemingway doesn't idealize either side, not referring to their political beliefs but to the fact that each side is very much the same. Both sides consist of sad, depressed fools who have been shipped off to war, content to live in peace and harmony with each other. It is here that Hemingway's first satirical punch at war comes in, when he makes it clear that both sides are human, with no clear line separating the saints from the sinners. Another thing that is connected to the war concept is that both sides are hopelessly disillusioned. A victory for any army is not truly a victory if it involves the loss of human life, and Hemingway seems to imply this as he pokes fun at the ongoings of the war. Atrocities are committed by otherwise compassionate, peaceful people since...
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