Saturday, October 9, 2010

How does Jordan justify the termination of the “separate peace” which Frederic Henry had signed in A Farewell to, Arms ?

Why Separate Peace
Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms is a completely disillusioned individual for as a result of the treatment meted out by the battle police to him he felt that he had no more obligation toward the army of which he was an officer.
“If they shot floorwalkers after a fire in the department store because they spoke with an accent they had always had, then certainly the floorwalkers would not be expected to return when the store opened again for business.” Hemingway’s Henry did not return to business throughout the Thirties. And this judgement is confirmed by what Hemingway wrote in Green Hills of Africa: “If you serve time for society, democracy, and the other things quite young, and declining any further enlistment make yourself responsible only to yourself, you exchange the pleasant, comforting stench of comrades for something you can never feel in any other way than by, yourself.” He had retreated into his shell and refused to be enlisted in “causes”. Politicians ensnare naive men with words like “glory, honour, courage, or hallow” which were obscene to Henry in A Farewell to Arms. He had signed a “separate peace”, as Nick Adams had done earlier in In Our Time.
Cooperation for a Just Cause
Jordan’s idealism consists in his belief that human freedom is indivisible and if it is curtailed anywhere in the world it becomes diminished all over the world. This explains his enlistment in the cause because he believes that Fascism constitutes a danger to human freedom. He calls himself an anti-Fascist. He has for this very reason accepted Communist discipline for the duration of the war. Their programme alone is worthy of Jordan’s respect and they alone offer any chance of winning the war. He has chosen to suspend his judgement until the war is over because he has not given his allegiance to the cause uncritically. He knows the Russian strategy too well to deceive himself. Jordan has deliberately kept vital decisions in abeyance because the war must be won and his criticism will hamper him in the performance of his duties. In a war an individual is helpless if he does not co-operate with others for achieving common objectives. This necessitates that Jordan should co-operate with others. This is the explanation why Jordan terminated’ the separate peace which Henry had signed in the First World War.
Limited Time Makes the Action Intense
Hemingway has skilfully limited the time of action in For Whom the Bell Tolls to about seventy hours, which Jordan regards as a substitute for a life of three score and ten years, if life upto the moment when the seventy hours begin has been full, enough and the individual has attained certain maturity. In one sense it heightens the dramatic effect of the novel and in another it has a definite function to perform : there is no time for the hero to change his mind. If Jordan had been given more time to spend with Maria, there is a distinct possibility, that he might have decided to o away with Maria and given up his mission. His r e remembered, is highly irregular and he is under no obligation to serve the Republic. All the real dangers is come in the last––twenty four hours––El Sardo’s destruction, Pablo’s desertion and the disappearance of his vital equipment for destroying the bridge, Andre Marty’s painfully slow journey to Golz’s headquarters.
Evasion of Critical Issues
The hero in this novel is really “an innocent abroad”. He is not ignorant of the contradiction involved in his situation : his fighting with the communists and his allegiance to Equality, Liberty, Fraternity, and Pursuit of Happiness. It is a conflict between individualism and collectivism, in fact ; and he seeks a way out of his dilemma by suspending his judgement. He does not realize that sooner or later this knotty problem has to be solved, and by the time he has recovered from the effect of this “opium” it might be too late. Whenever the problem clamours for solution and he is on the verge of taking a decision he either goes into the arms of Maria, or he starts working out the details of the destruction of the ridge.
Maria’s Cause Becomes Jordan’s
Maria is a victim of the Fascist atrocities and she gives him a unique experience of love. It is crudely described by Pilar as “the earth shook”. In Jordan’s words :
                I love thee as I love all that we have fought for. I love thee as I love liberty and dignity and the rights of all men to work and not be hungry. I love thee as I love Madrid that we have defended and as I love all my comrades that have died. Many. Many... But I love thee as I love what I love most in the world and I love thee more.
She wants to be avenged for the insults and humiliations she has suffered at the hands of the Fascists. She wants to make love’ while the machine-gun is dealing with the Fascists. In this project she seeks Jordan’s help. Maria’s unique love, perhaps, makes Jordan bigoted and sure of his belief. It becomes fairly convincing that he is fighting for establishing an order in Spain when no one will suffer as Maria did.
Need to Show His Heroism
What further makes Jordan-Hemingway’s conversion convincing is the importance given to internal monologues. Jordan is fighting not only with the Loyalist but also his personal psychological battles. He is ashamed of his father’s suicide ; he cannot admit that he is his father’s son. In order to escape this self-condemnation he invents the yarn of his grandfather’s participation in the American Civil War in which his grandfather gave a good account of himself. Jordan wishes to establish that his juice came from the old man rather than his father. The only way he can establish his identity with his grandfather is to prove through his actions in which he must show that he is not a coward. Action being so important for this youngman’s identity he has no choice other than participating in some violent action which demands a show of courage. This being so Jordan puts aside his doubts about the sympathy for the Loyalists, accepts it as an established fact, and acts on it. Since his grandfather was a Republican he is compelled to be a Republican ; and there is some inner compulsion in this allegiance. If he faces the realities of the situation squarely he should cancel his mission, and go away with Maria to Madrid and then to the States, but in that case he would not have been able to respect himself. Such a situation will not be easy to come by, and another opportunity to prove his manhood through action may not come his way. It is better to die a glorious death than be a coward in his own eyes. He wants to die like a martyr ; martyrdom is preferable to Maria. As the difficulties increase so does his resolution to sacrifice his life for the cause he has believed in for over a year now.
Pablo’s Return Boosts His Morale
There are some contributory factors that make his sacrifice still more convincing. Pablo is an individualist. He is opposed to letting Jordan blow up the bridge in the vicinity of his hide-out. He is not disloyal to the Republic ; he cannot let his personal interests take precedence over the cause. He deserts to make Jordan realize that he cannot do what he likes. But having gone away he has realized that there is a loneliness that he cannot tolerate ; so he comes back. His return boosts Jordan’s morale. He is convinced that if a Judas can feel regret and is prepared to make amends for his earlier lapse, then the cause is worth fighting for and worth dying for.
His Role as a Leader
Similarly, Anselmo’s willingness to kill the sentry on the bridge for the sake’ of the cause; even though he is against killing men, lends support to Jordan’s conviction that it is a real cause and in it are involved the interests of all mankind. His respect for Anselmo’s sentiments and humanistic beliefs makes it obligatory for him to set an example of his loyalty to the Republic. It is a question of establishing his bona fides, especially because he is a foreigner and he believes in the solidarity of man. Having taken the role of a leader he is duty-bound to set an example, whatever be the cost. Kashkin had not died nobly, and he had told the guerrillas how he died ; now he is compelled to show, if need be, how he is superior to the other dynamiter.
Two Contradictory Views
                Commenting on Jordan’s death, Hagopian asks : In retrospective consideration, free from the strong political currents of the year before American entered the war, one is hard put to identify clearly what it is that Jordan dies for at the end of that novel For Whom the Bell Tolls : a political cause ? love of a woman? confusion, fatigue, or a sense that he is doomed to die in any case ? Despite the fact that he is the only academically trained intellectual of all Hemingway’s heroes, he is astonishingly inarticulate, and Hemingway’s aesthetic, his tight-lipped stoicism„ doesn’t. help matters without philosophizing about it. Anguish results from the attempt to fulfil the ritual without moral probing.
Hagopian seems to regard Jordan’s death as a ritual whereas. Moynihan justifies Jordan’s action unequivocally :
                Robert Jordan’s involvement in mankind transcends the logic of co-operative leagues, political or social. It is the furthest possible extension of Hemingway’s mystique of action and honor, and in some respects even contradicts Hemingway’s basic sensualistic norms.
Social Dimension in the Novel
In the earlier novels Hemingway has depicted the actions of the heroes as individuals. “The early heroes”, according to Benson, “are moral microcosms, literally the ‘islands’ referred to in the Donne quotation prefixed to For Whom the Bell Tolls, with only auxiliary lines of communication to the outside.” In contrast with Robert Jordan, the victories of Jake and Frederic are almost completely self-contained : Jake merely conquers self-pity, and Frederic merely learns to give love.” In the case of Jordan there is a social dimension in which he operates and that raises the novel to the level of a first-rate tragedy. An individual is important but when his actions have social importance and significance, he rises to the level of a tragic hero. Jordan becomes a martyr, even though his sacrifice might be in vain. Motives, it is felt, are as important as actions ; and Jordan’s sacrifice is a great tribute to the social compulsiveness of the Loyalist struggle.

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