Thoughts: For Whom The Bells Tolls

25 Apr

For Whom the Bell TollsFor Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For both sides of the Spanish Civil War, between Republicans and Fascists, idealism and beliefs are not enough to negate the remaining hollowness after barbarous acts of war. But the killing commences regardless. Political beliefs are firm, fought for and defended, shaped into glories and justified as honor when death seeps through a band of guerrillas or a military post. Ideals are borders with sentries posted for security. Men and women valuing those ideals more than life become islands separated by seas of discord and perspective.

Simply put, fences are built within one land, a land that was there long before ideals and beliefs split its belly from its groin, seared limbs from heart. And it is to maintain these divisions that we fight. The common ground of humanity, a soldier’s distaste for barbarism, sorrow in death, has never been defended or fought for. The enlightened soldier would have no one to fight.

During heavy rains of embellishments and interpretations, Hemingway is the wiper clearing the reader’s view of a story, of life. Like drinking a glass of water from the faucet you grew up drinking from, tasteless, clean, natural, familiar. The narration is flawless, thorough journalism going to work on places and events while reporting thought processes read in characters’ minds. And these things create the story, reveal truths and pains. Not the writer. Not the writer.

But the split. The divide.

Then the realization that men are not, and cannot be, islands amongst each other. Though we may try, and destroy much in our endeavors to be so, it will not happen. A soldier may live beyond their expiration date to realize the ultimate insignificance of progressing ideas by means of death, of fighting against the natural binding of men. That doing so will eventually engulf oneself in an abyss of baseness that ideals and beliefs won’t be able to dissolve. May we all die before such a disillusionment.

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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Ernest Hemingway


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