Saturday, October 9, 2010

Major Characters in For Whom the Bell Tolls

(1) ROBERT JORDAN
A Complicated Character
Robert Jordan, a tall and thin young man “with sun-streaked fair hair, and a wind-and-sun burned face” is the most complicated hero in Hemingway’s fiction, with perhaps the exception of Colonel Cantwell in Across the River and into the Trees.
He is an American volunteer fighting for the cause of the Republic in Spain, a fact which he terms as the cause of humanity. His commitment to his duty has a religious quality about it which is terrifying in its implications, for if not used with discretion it can easily turn into fanaticism. Left to his own resources and judgement he is not sure that his choice to fight under communist discipline against the Fascists is a very correct one. He loved Spain much before the out-break of the Spanish Civil War and he was in Spain when the war broke out and in order to contribute his little bit to the welfare of the country that he loved he joined the war. But he knows that whatever be the outcome of the war in Spain he would like to preserve what he has loved in Spain. He is reluctant to give himself a political label except that of an anti-Fascist because his convictions are so different from those of the Russians who are conducting the war for the Republicans.
His Love For Spain
He is an instructor in Spanish at a small college in America and that is how he has come to Spain. He has spent most of his vacations in Spain with a view to learning the language well. He is sorry that he was not born in Spain, though he would have loved to be born there. His love is not born of any false sentiment for he knows the Spanish character well enough to be a “patriot”. He never felt like a foreigner in Spain and they did not really treat him like a foreigner most of the time. His loyalty to the Republic, is absolute but only during the course of the war, for nobody  owned his mind, nor his faculties for seeing and hearing, and if he were going to form judgements he would form them afterwards. However, his soliloquy is not to be taken seriously because in the same breath he judges the Spanish character :
                They [Spaniards] turned on you often but they always turned on everyone. They turned on themselves, too, if you had three together, two would unite against you, and then the two would start to betray each other. Not always, but often enough for you to take enough cases and start to draw it as a conclusion.
Accepts A Tough Assignment
Karkov, the Russian journalist, thinks that his political education is meagre but the Russian General, Golz,, thinks very highly of him as a partizan dynamiter and, therefore, gives him the most difficult assignment of this Republican offensive. “Merely to blow the bridge is a failure……To blow the bridge at a stated time based on the time set for the attack is how it should be done.” He is expected to work with strangers and rely on them for the success of his assignment. Neither is the time of the attack certain. But there is no certainty in this war for the General clearly argues “What is to guarantee that my orders are not. changed ? What is to guarantee that the attack is not annulled ? What is to guarantee that the attack is not postponed ? What is to guarantee that it starts within six hours of when it should start ? Hans any attack ever been as it should be ?” Even when he cannot guarantee anything himself Golz expects of Jordan : “I must know that nothing will come up, that road.” It is the only road on which the Fascists can get up tanks, or artillery, or even move a truck toward the pass which Golz is, going to attack. Jordan is given the option to back out of this but he assures the General that it will be done with certainty. Difficult as the task is, Jordan’s job becomes all the more risky due to some woman and some environmental factors but Jordan carries out the task and thus justifies the faith placed in him. It is this responsibility and its consciousness that drive Jordan like some mad fury. Perhaps,” the roots of this commitment lie elsewhere.
Preference For Grandfather
Jordan has not been able to forget the cowardice of his father, who had committed suicide. Psychologically, he is ashamed of his father not only for the act of cowardice but also for his having let Jordan’s mother bully him. He was sentimental to a degree that as a child Jordan had felt superior to him. He remembers clearly the tear-stained face of his father when he had said good-bye to Jordan on his first journey to school. This psychological vacuum in Jordan’s life had compelled him to invent a father figure whom he could admire unreservedly, and in his memory of his grandfather, Jordan had found his idol. “Grandfather was a hell of a good soldier……They said if he had been with Custer that day he never would have let him be sucked in that way         ……” His grandfather’s participation in the American Civil War provides him with an apt parallel with his own situation in Spain :
                I wish Grandfather were here instead of me. Well, maybe we will be altogether by tomorrow. If there should be any such damn fool business as hereafter……I would certainly like to talk to him……Because there are a lot of things I would like to know. I have a right to ask him now because I have had to do the same sort of things myself. I don’t think he’d mind my asking now. I had no right to ask before. I understand him not telling me because he didn’t know me. But now I think that we would get along all right. I’d like to be able to talk to him now and get his advice. Hell, if I didn’t get advice I’d like to talk to him. It’s a shame there is such a jump in time between ones like us.
If Jordan and his grandfather could make such swell companions, they would be acutely embarrassed by the presence of his father. He wants to learn from his grandfather for his father could not teach him what he wanted to learn.
Has to Wash off His Father’s Shame
In this psychological dilemma of Jordan lies the key to an understanding of his character. He is impelled to act to justify his link with his grandfather and not his father for he has little faith in himself unless he has justified his boast : “Don’t get to referring to food juice and other things until you are through tomorrow. Don’t be snotty too soon…………We’ll see what sort of juice you have to-morrow.” Since he cannot deny his father he would like to prove that his juice has come from his grandfather and he has, consequently, to act like his grandfather who was a warrior.
Wants to Fight His Own Battle
This interpretation is valid, for he has been obsessed with war since his childhood. He wants to fight for himself rather than somebody else because he has been critical of the way wars have been conducted “from Agincourt down”. He knows it is going to be a small battle but he wants it to be a good one. “I will have to make this a good one. It is going to be small but very select. If I have to do what I think I will have to do it will be very select indeed.”
Need to Justify Himself
Knowing that he will have to do something very special he has pondered on the possibility of his death in the execution of his task. All he expects of these three days in the Guadarrama mountains is a justification of his belief that his juice has come down from his grandfather and that he is not a coward. If he has to lay down his life in the process he will not mind it at all, but that does not mean that he is seeking death. He loves life and the good things of life like Maria, liquor, open air life, bull-fights, etc., etc. When Pilar asks him whether he likes “the things of life”, he replies, “Yes. Very much. But not to interfere with my work.” It is here that one suspects that there is a hidden motive in his commitment to work. Life is dear but dearer than life is the need for the justification of his courage which his father lacked.
Maria’s Love is Dream-like
Into the life of this committed man comes the complication of love, which coming as it does in this strange place pleasantly surprises him and makes him think of his earlier resolution a little more critically. Maria’s love had happened to him and most unexpectedly. Maybe, it is a dream, he wonders :
                Such things don’t happen. Maybe it never did happen, he thought. Maybe you dreamed it or made it up and it never did happen. Maybe it is like the dreams you have when someone you have seen in the cinema comes to your bed at night and is so kind and lovely. He’d slept with them all that way when he was asleep in bed. He could remember Garbo still, and Harlow. Yes, Harlow many times. Maybe it was like those dreams.
Through Maria Life Reasserts
The unreality of the dream vanishes when he can touch Maria beside him but more than the good luck that Maria has been she has shaken his camplacency regarding his devotion to his work. She has revived his love of life which his obsession with cowardice and his. pathetic attempt to refute it had obscured for some time. In his values his work still stands on top but life asserts itself. He would like the Republic to win but he would like to live wit” Maria. “So far she had not affected his resolution but he would much prefer not to die. He would abandon a hero’s end gladly. He did not want to make a Thermopylae, nor be Horatius at any bridge. Nor be the Dutch boy with his finger in that dyke. He would like to spend some time with Maria ... He would like to spend a long, long time with her.”
Love and Duty Become Synthesized
Since Maria has been raped by the Falangists who are fighting as Fascists in this Civil War, his love of war and the need to prove his mettle receive an additional fillip. He feels duty-bound to be revenged and let loose violence. He does not mind killing if it has to be done but now there is some need for it. His love for Maria and his task of blowing up the bridge become one, in fact. He has to blow up the bridge for the Russian General as well as for the Republic which has been raped, like Maria, by the Fascists. Fighting for the Republic becomes more concrete because in his mind the Republic and Spain and Maria become one. It is this impulse that makes him lie on the pine-needle-covered floor at the end of the novel waiting for the Fascist lieutenant and thus helping Pablo and his band to retreat into the Gredos hills. His loyalty becomes personal loyalty and he is just a husband covering the retreat of his wife whom he loves. Now his search for a genuine cause which had eluded him so far becomes concrete ; slogans give way to his love for Maria and he can lay down his life for her and her people i.e., Pablo and his band. “You can do nothing for yourself but perhaps you can do something for another.” It is for a person that he has felt that strongly ; the Republic was too vague for him, perhaps :
                I have fought for what I believed in. for a year now. I we win here we will win everywhere. The world is a fin place and worth the fighting for and I hate to leave it.
He is becoming unduly pompous trying to. justify his death for mankind. He is committed to life but not the life of all mankind his commitment is to Maria, now that he has -justified that his juice came from the old man rather than his father. “They’re away. Now if the attack were only a success.” It is, significant that he selects the past tense for the future indicating thereby that he is not at all hopeful and it would be enough to save a few near and dear ones as Pablo had done.
Suspends Thinking
Since life is so uncertain Jordan hangs on to a few certainties like his love for Maria, which for him becomes the symbol for Spain. All through the book he has tried to banish uncertainties. Is it justified to kill ? he asks himself and then having justified his killings he is lost in doubt. Is it right to love Maria ? he asks himself. Yes, he argues but then he did not care. Why is he in Spain and why is he fighting ? he reflects ; and he does not really know. He tries to get out of his dilemma by saying : “My mind is in suspension until we win the war.” He is scared to judge. “The first thing was to win the war. If we did not win the war everything was lost.” He is working with the communists but he is not a communist. “You believe in Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. You believe in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Don’t ever kid, yourself with too much dialectics. They are for some but not for you. You have to know them in order not to be a sucker. You have put many things in abeyance to win a war. If the war is lost all of those things are lost.” Why is he postponing the vital answer to these questions ? The truth is that he does not know and if he knows it is too near the bone : he is fighting his personal psychological battles here in Spain. He has seen too much violence and he cannot digest it. He is wounded in the process. And for this reason he cannot let himself reflect on this sordid aspect of his life. Therefore, he must cut off the stream of thought for it is unpleasant. Let us not forget that he is an intellectual basically and he cannot escape from thought.
Autobiographical Touches
Is it that modern existence has become so painful that one is compelled to refrain from thought, like Jordan ? “You better not think at all, lie told himself. Soon you will be with Maria and won’t have to think. That’s the best way now ... When you have been concentrating so hard on something you can’t stop and your brain gets to racing like a fly-wheel with the weight gone. You’d better just not think.” In this aspect of Jordan’s character, it is feared, Hemingway has invested some of his own psychology and fears that overwhelmed the author finally.
(2) PABLO
A Reluctant Ally
Pablo, an enigmatic figure, is the guerrilla leader of a small band in the Guadarrama mountains, who are operating behind the Fascist lines. It is to him that Anselmo takes Robert Jordan and it is with his help that lie has to blow up the bridge that is so vital for the success of the attack to be launched by the Republican forces. In their very first meeting Jordan notes that he is hostile to the idea of blowing up the bridge and that he will be a difficult ally, to say the least. Pablo states himself : “Here no one commands but me”, and then to elaborate his point he adds : “You cannot blow bridges close to where you live. You must live in one place and operate in another.” Not that he is not loyal to the Republic, he is interested in defending his hide-out. Anselmo accuses him of putting his “fox-hole before the interests of humanity.” He obeys Anselmo and yet he is not to be relied upon for in him Jordan observes “a sort of sadness that comes before the sell-out”, a feeling that comes “before they quit or before they betray.”
Loves Horses
Though totally illiterate he asks for Jordan’s papers in a language that he knows best : his knowledge of horses and his love for them. He veers round to Jordan’s support, apparently at least, when the latter displays a good knowledge of horses. Throughout the book he is called and occasionally taunted as the lover of horses. He kills people indiscriminately if doing so will make him the owner of their horses. He kills the five guerrillas, who helped him in over-running the road-menders’ hut, at the end of the novel because their elimination gives him additional horses for his journey to the Gredos. When in trouble he considers a horse a better confidante than man :
                Thou lovely white-faced big beauty ... Thou art no woman nor a fool ... Thou art no woman like a rock that is burning. Thou art no colt of a girl with cropped head and the movement of a foal still wet from its mother. Thou dost not insult nor lie nor not understand. Thou, oh, thee, oh my good big little pony.
It is not surprising that he is teased for this un-natural tenderness for horses.
Role in the Movement
Pablo is no more than the ruins of what he used to be in the beginning of the revolution, and it would be false to judge him on his present condition. He is tired of being hunted for his politics or his guerrilla activities and naturally he is resentful of what Jordan has come to do :
                I am tired of being hunted. Here we are all right. Now if you blow a bridge here, we will be hunted. If they know we are here and hunt us with planes, they will find us. If they send Moors to hunt us out, they will find us and we must go. I am tired of all this. You hear ?... What right have you, a foreigner, to come to tell me what I must do ?
If he is to be judged he must be judged on what he has done for the movement, and even on his present performance he does credit to himself and his convictions, whatsoever they be. Pilar describes for the benefit of Robert Jordan what Pablo achieved in the small town that he took over. He is a master strategist : he captured the barracks of the guardia civil before daylight, cut off telephone wires, got all the Fascists in the town captured simultaneously, made people blood-thirsty for their blood, executed them in the most ruthless fashion and believed that all Fascists should have been destroyed in all the towns in a similar fashion. No Fascist post is safe from him in the dark. He sees from the very start what Jordan’s mission implies and he is not convinced that the time has come for him to make a move from his fox-hole.
An Intelligent Leader
He knows that with the present strength of men it will be a very difficult task to achieve, and it might make the place hot for them. He tries a number of tricks in an attempt to persuade Jordan not to be fool-hardy and persist in his stupidity. And when he is convinced that come what may Jordan will blow up the bridge he comes back to help him and lead his band out of danger to safety. His followers might desert him for a time but they cannot deny his genius. He makes a strategic retreat in letting Pilar command because otherwise he knows that he would be destroyed. A shut up. It is thou who commands now and you should continue to look at the pretty pictures. But remember that I am not stupid.” He having destroyed Jordan’s exploder, fuse and the detonators comes back with a solution how to overcome the handicap caused by the loss. It is on him that Jordan depends for their escape to the Gredos. That he has survived and kept the morale of his band intact is ample testimony to his genius. Even Pilar has a soft corner for him, though he had betrayed Jordan, after he had come back.
Regards Jordan’s Project as Foolishness
He has become a victim of the prevailing despair and has consequently taken to drinking heavily. He is not afraid to die but he is not going to make a sacrifice of himself. The gypsy remarks philosophically that Pablo has been ruined by the killings for which he is responsible. Now his inactivity has further aggravated his malady ; he wants to live in comfort. He has become a bourgeois, according to Anselmo. Pilar thinks that he wants to sleep with Maria and since Pilar has guarded her well so far it has undermined his determination to go on fighting for the Republic. In spite of his differences with the band, he takes on the responsibility to destroy the Fascist post at the road-menders’ hut. And he has planned to lead the band to safety, and Jordan knows that if Pablo has agreed to lead there is a definite chance of its success.
Reasons For His Desertion
It has been frequently asked why he deserted. The simple answer that he was a coward is not convincing for if he were a coward he would not come back, and having come back would not give his loyalty to the band so completely. Throughout the book there is a trend in his thinking that is worth exploring. He hates Jordan for having come to destroy his hide-out, he knows that the project is risky and having disturbed this area they will have to move and there are very few places where they can go. He plans to assess his following in the band, and having discovered that they would destroy him if he opposed, he marks time. After Sardo along with his band has been destroyed by the Fascist planes he thinks that Jordan might give up his stupid idea, for he does not have a sufficient number of men to carry out his orders. At night he steals the vital equipment because without the equipment the task is well-nigh impossible.
Reasons For His Return
Having deserted he finds that he is lonely and without supporting the group decision there would be no possibility of his rejoining the band of which he is virtually the leader. Maybe in a fit of temper he destroyed the stolen goods but once he has made up his mind to return he ensures that the project succeeds and with this view in mind he rides all night to collect as many men as he can to take over the work that Sardo had to do. He completes the job undertaken by him as successfully as could be expected though Agustin is critical of his having murdered those guerrillas who assisted him in over-running the road-menders’ hut. His loyalty is to his own people, as he puts it : others do not matter. After Jordan has been wounded he asks him as a man whether he would be able to travel and when Jordan gives him an unequivocal answer, he does rot indulge in any sentimental leave taking. He must go and sensing the danger he dispenses with the necessity of saying a sentimental goodbye. He was once a man and that manhood shines in its fall glory when old age or discretion permits it to shine forth.
A Great Individualist
In this respect Pablo is a great individualist for he refuses to become an instrument for some larger purpose. He is the only one to clash with Jordan for he cannot let himself be mainpulated. He does not swallow his flattery nor does he fall to his crusading zeal. He is certainly not a villain who is a kill-joy. He is a wise man disillusioned with high-sounding slogans and his way of life has made him ruthless. He is a man of the earth as Pilar is a woman of this earth, and they are well-matched.
(3) PILAR
A Dominating Person
Pilar, “the mujer of Pablo”, is a forty-eight year old gypsy woman who dominates the book like a mysterious being. The gypsy calls her “barbarous” and “ugly” but this description is highly inept so far her role in the novel is concerned. She has lived a full life and for her zest for life she has been called “the soul of the Spanish people”. According to Stanley Cooperman : “Pilar is a woman of vast strength and personal power. She resembles those huge, virago-like women with the bodies of athletes that one so often finds in monumental or heroic sculptures.”
Jordan’s Strongest Ally
Since the moment Jordan sets foot in the hills she has supported him. It is inconceivable what Jordan could do without her help. Her loyalty to the Republic is so great that she is prepared to sacrifice her man for it. When Pablo backs out of the project she takes upon herself to lead the band. The guerrillas respect her so much that they are prepared to liquidate Pablo if Pilar decides thus. When Pablo & camps with the exploding device she offers a genuine regret for her lapse and is prepared to perform the duty that Pablo should have done. She in this manly gesture makes handsome amends for her failure to guard his equipment properly. It is she who negotiates the meeting between Jordan and El Sardo and brings round the other guerrilla leader to helping Jordan, in spite of El Sardo’s having seen the obstacles as clearly as Pablo. In this deal her role cannot be underestimated.
Her Lave For. Maria
Her love for Maria is genuine. She had found the girl during .a raid on a train and she was in a bad shape as a result of the atrocities committed by the Fascists on her. Maria was not in a fit condition to walk but Pilar made her walk as far as she could and then she made others carry her under a hail of bullets. She coaxed them, lashed them with the whip of her tongue and finally brought the girl to safety. Since then she has been guarding the girl as if she were her own daughter. Now that the girl has recovered and that she senses that she has been attracted by the American she instructs her to go to the American in his sleeping bag for she has read in his hand that there is not much time to be lost. The girl’s psychic wounds can be healed by love, she knows, and it is for the good of the girl that she receives love. She almost thrusts her into the bag. She provides as much time to the lovers to be together as the conditions permit.
A Born Psychologist
Only once do we get a peep into the mind of this mysterious woman ; when they are returning from El Sardo’s camp she lets her love for Maria whatever be its nature come to the surface. Addressing Jordan she says : “You can have her in a little while, Ingles”, and then she makes Maria lie in her lap. She says then .that she is jealous of the young girl. There is nothing perverse in her love for Maria, as some critics have suggested for she is not jealous of the girl but is full of regret for the youth that she has lost and the girl possesses yet. She knows that it is normal and it is as it should be. “I have never wanted thee”, says Pilar to Maria, and one has no reason to doubt her integrity. She is a woman made for men and she has no perversion like lesbianism. In her hands Maria is quite safe when she leaves Jordan on the pine-needle-covered floor of the forest at the end of the novel. On Maria she has performed the therapy of love and thus earned for herself the title of an untutored psychiatrist.
A Mother For Jordan
Much is made of her power to read people’s future in their palms. She is half-witch, half-woman in this regard. Having read in Jordan’s hand that he is to die she buttons up her mouth and does not mention to him what she has seen in his hand. She even calls her knowledge gypsy-nonsense, so that Jordan is not obsessed with the knowledge of his death and thus becomes impotent and cannot complete the task that is very vital for the victory of the Republic in this offensive. In her, Jordan finds the image of a good mother whose love he missed in his childhood. His own mother was a bully and Jordan does not seem to have a pleasant memory of her ; so in this Spanish woman he found his mother’s love. She feeds him, supports him when he needs help against Pablo, obtains friends for him, gives him the girl, Maria, to love, and then helps him to blow up the bridge by over-running the saw-dust-mill Fascist post. It is she, again who educates Jordan on what the movement was like in a small town which Pablo took over.
Firm and Tender Simultaneously
She is firm where firmness is needed––like showing Pablo that he is isolated and that she commands––and extremely tender like a mother––with Joaquin, for example. She decides at one stage to liquidate Pablo but when he returns after his initial desertion, she does not let Jordan depart without Pablo. She respects Anselmo’s years and his devotion to the cause of the Republic but is rough with Fernando when he starts speaking like a bureaucrat. Her harsh and ugly exterior hides a gentle mother’s heart, even though she does not seem to have borne any children. Jordan reflects “She is like a mountain and the boy and the girl are like young trees. The old trees are all cut down and the young trees are growing clean like that.” Stanley Cooperman commenting on this aspect of her character adds : “A kind of priestess prophet who aids Robert Jordan while remaining essentially alien to him, Pilar is a mother-figure no less mysterious than are the Spanish mountains, among which she dwells.”
Loyal and Compassionate
Her two excursions into narration of Pablo’s exploits and her description of the smell of death-have been considered by some critics as extrapolations. From a purely structural point of view, there is some justification in this assertion but from a human angle it cannot be said with the same certainty. She makes Jordan realize what Pablo really was and how he deserves compassion and not ridicule. She extends the novel beyond the limited period of three days and gives the reader a wider perspective on the Spanish Civil War.
Pilar’s Obscene Language
Pilar’s use of obscene language serves a dual purpose : on the, one hand it gives her an equal status among men, and on the other she commands respect. Her thundering voice, for example, silences the gypsy, Rafael, who had been talking to Robert Jordan : “What are you doing now, you lazy drunken obscene unsayable son of an unnameable unmarried gypsy obscenity.” Obviously, the author has moderated her language ; otherwise one can only guess what a colourful personality she must be. Her past life which she narrates later reinforces this impression. But it does not tarnish her basic tenderness, for she is kind, loving and generous like a mother. It is only for discipline that she uses such a language which others will understand and obey.
(4) MARIA
Maria’s Original : Martha
Maria’s figure and appearance win over Jordan at their very first meeting, notwithstanding her funny hair-cut. In the novel Hemingway gives a picture of this Spanish beauty in these words :
                Her teeth were white in her brown face and her skin and her eyes were the same golden tawny brown. She had high cheek-bones, merry eyes, and a straight mouth with full lips. Her hair was the golden brown of a grain field that has been burned dark in the sun, but it was cut short all over her head so that it was but little longer than the fur on a beaver pelt.
For the original of this picture he did not have to go far because he painted in Maria certain features of Martha Gellhorn to whom the book is dedicated and who had braved the dangers of a civil war with Hemingway in Spain. While Hemingway wrote the book in Cuba she was with him and later they got married.
Her Early Life
She was living with her parents at the start of the Civil War in a small town and her father was the Mayor of the town. The Fascists had killed her father and mother, shaved off her head, and later raped her. She was kept as a prisoner in Valladolid and when she was being moved by train to some other place, Pablo’s hand and El Sardo’s band had dynamited that train and she had escaped from the clutches of the Fascists. Pilar had rescued her and brought her to safety but she was in a bad shape because of the atrocities that she had suffered at the hands of the Falangists. Living under Pilar’s shelter she had recovered her former composture and beauty in these past three months. Jordan had seen her at the end of this difficult period and oblivious of her earlier condition fell in love with her, despite the fact that he ought not to be involved with women in this movement.
Her Love For Jordan
Robert Jordan’s anti-fascism draws Maria to him because in him she sees the messiah who can avenge her parents death and her suffering. Pilar having seen that Maria is attracted to the young American dynamiter literally pushes her into his sleeping bag for two reasons primarily : if Jordan escapes with his life at the end of his mission she would go with him and lead a normal life ; if on the other hand he is killed his love would make up for what she has suffered from. Jordan’s love breaks the shell into which Maria had withdrawn after the death of her parents and her rape. She discloses to him what she has suffered from and being a Roman Catholic her confession wipes away the unpleasant memory of those tragic events in her life, in a manner of speaking. Jordan’s love restores her self-respect and her dignity. In her love for Jordan there is a strong element of worship for the saviour because in giving her love to Jordan she is seeking revenge for what she has suffered. She tells Jordan : “I want to go to hold the legs of the gun and while it speaks love thee all in the same moment.” She being a woman needs a man who can use violence for which she is thirsty. She wants to make her small contribution to the destruction of the Fascists.
A Simple-Minded Creature
She does not consider herself very religious because to sleep with a man before marriage is a sin in the eyes of the Church and she does so. She regards herself married to Jordan, like Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms, even though the union is not blessed by the Church. In a time like this they dispense with that luxury. “If you wish”, she said, “but since we no longer have the Church I do not think it carries importance.” In her innocence and simplicity she is almost a child. Critics have misinterpreted this simplicity and called her a sort of narcotic for the male protagonist. She is an individual in her own right, in her near madness, her passionate love-making, her devotion to Pilar and her rejection of the advances of other guerrillas. She frantically prays for the safety of her lover when he is engaged in blowing up the bridge, in spite of the fact that she had earlier rejected religion :
                The Republic is one thing and we must win is another thing. But, Oh, Sweet Blessed Virgin, bring him back to me from the bridge and I will do anything thou sayest ever. Because I am not here. There isn’t any me. I am only with him. Take care of him for me and that will be me and then I will do the things for thee and he will not mind. Nor will it be against the Republic. Oh, please forgive me for I am very confused. I am too confused now. But if thou takest care of him I will do what ever is right. I will do what he says and what you say. With the two of me I will do it. But this now not knowing I cannot endure.
Maria as a Drug
Again, some critics have accused Hemingway of introducing a girl like Maria in a serious novel of a political nature and in their opinion it is a flaw in the novel. They feel that she is an easy escape for Jordan out of the complicated situation in-which he finds himself and he refuses to face the implications of his actions. He abstains from thought like all Hemingway’s heroes, and Maria is at hand to take his mind away from the inner turmoil. Perhaps Maria’s role is more sophisticated than that. She as a woman is not needed when Jordan is seriously engaged in planning his assault on the bridge on which the future of mankind may eventually depend. He allows himself to become involved with her only as long as there are no more urgent tasks to pursue. She as the victim of the Fascists’ atrocities becomes a symbol of the cause that Jordan has decided to espouse.
A Symbol For Spain
On a personal plane she becomes for him not only his beloved but also his sister and his daughter––both of whom he is not destined to have. On the political plane she becomes a symbol of the war-ravaged Spain which Jordan loves :
                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 l love Madrid that we have defended and as I love all my comraces that have died. Many. Many. Thou canst not think how many. But 1 love thee as I love what I love most in the world and I love thee more.
And when she expresses her fears that he having known that she might not bear him any children may not like to marry her he assures her : “My pride is in thee.” And she carries on this fight against the Fascists beyond their generation
                I would like to bear thy son and thy daughter ... And how can the world be made better if there are no children of us who fight against the Fascists ?
A Concrete Reality
That she becomes a symbol of Spain is supported by the fact that her hair is compared to a field of grain on a hill-slope. She is a daughter of the soil that Jordan is fighting for. If Pilar is the mountain, then she is the young tree that grows on the hillside, which after the storm is over will survive the storm. When Jordan dialectics becomes confused, Maria is there to make his thinking more concrete. In his hour of death he is just a devoted husband covering the retreat of his wife. She brings him back to earth and thus reminds him that behind all the polemics and even beyond them there are men for whose future he is fighting. Maria is a symbol of this vast humanity for which Jordan lays down his life, so that they may have a dignified and good life. It is in this context that Maria’s dream-like appearance gains its proper perspective because Jordan’s dream for the human race is highly elusive. It is she as a symbol who sanctifies the participation of a large number of intellectuals as Lincoln Brigades in the Spanish Civil War.

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

your answers are same like in book

NeoEnglish System said...

It's because I have given most of my assignments to Famous Products and New Kitab Mehal, Urdu Bazaar, Lahore.

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