For Whom the Bell Tolls

Robert Jordan in For Whom the Bell Tolls

Throughout Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, Robert Jordan struggles to assign some value to human life - specifically, to his own life. This struggle reveals a weakness in Jordan's cold, calculated nature, a weakness that Hemingway poignantly depicts through Jordan's conflicted attitudes towards his father and grandfather. While Jordan clearly admires and aspires to be like his grandfather, a brave soldier in the Civil War and the Indian wars, he endeavors to rid himself of the image of his father's cowardly suicide, for which he shows great disdain. This conflict is intensified by Jordan's almost imminent death. The conclusion, at which point his conflict is resolved as he realizes the value of all life, provides insight into the changes that he endures to reach this stage. Through Jordan's noble death, a clear repudiation of his father's suicide, Hemingway is making a statement on the immense difference between willingness to die and desire to die. Jordan's conflicted feelings towards his father and grandfather expose a discontinuity in his usually steadfast emotions, and eventually aid him in resolving his inner struggle concerning death and the value of life.

Often throughout the...

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