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Ernest Hemingway's Code Hero In For Who The Bell Tolls And A Farewell To Arms

4496 words - 18 pages

Ernest Hemingway's Code Hero in For Who The Bell Tolls and A Farewell To Arms

They were American innocents negotiating the river of life wherever it took them: to Italy, to Spain, to Africa, to the Caribbean, wounded men laughing through the pain, sometimes risking their skins but never sacrificing their honor. It was a river into which countless writers would thrust their paddles.(Papa)

Ernest Hemingway is arguably one of the most important writers in American history. Though this is disputed, Hemingway has undoubtedly had a major influence on contemporary American literature. One aspect of Hemingway's famous writing that shines in almost all of his works is the hero. Hemingway created the famous Hemingway code by which all of his heroes, often called code heroes, lived. One critic asserted that, 'Hemingway invented more than a style he invented the Hemingway hero.' (Papa) Hemingway attempted to live by this code but did not enjoy the success of his fictional characters. In fact, critic Joseph DeFalco states, 'The type of hero that can accomplish such a feat [living up to the Hemingway code] is rare in any area of life.' (195) The code hero was not rare, however, in Hemingway writing. Robert Jordan in For Whom The Bell Tolls and Frederic Henry in A Farewell To Arms are perfect examples of the Hemingway code hero.

The Hemingway code is, ?a grace under pressure. It is made of the controls of honor and courage which in a life of tension and pain make a man a man and distinguish him from the people who follow random impulses.? (Young 63) Additionally, this ?grace under pressure? can be expressed as, ?an ability to be in difficult situations without succumbing to either panic, enthusiasm, or indifference, is the hallmark of the hero.? (Molesworth 96) In Hemingway?s novels contain many examples of this code hero. Robert Jordan, the code hero in Hemingway?s For Whom The Bell Tolls, is a vivid example of a character who exhibits this grace under pressure.

The novel is set in the mountains of Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Robert Jordan is an American volunteering for the Spanish Loyalist forces. He is a dynamiter and has been assigned to blow up a bridge that is nestled away in the mountains of Spain. The bridge must be blown during a massive attack, at just the right time. This ultimately doomed Jordan?s chances of escape along with fascist knowledge of the attack. In order to blow up the bridge, Jordan would need help. Three days before the attack, an old man, Anselmo, led Jordan to a band of guerillas in the mountains. They were headed by Pablo. Trouble arose between Pablo and Robert throughout his stay at the guerilla camp. At Pablo?s camp Jordan met Pilar, a forceful woman, Maria, the woman whom he would love, and others. Jordan also encountered El Sordo, who ran a similar camp and was also going to help with the attack. El Sordo was eliminated by the fascists before the attack. The blowing up of the bridge was carried...

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