Honors American Literature
7 March 2015
Hemingway Essay Outline
Thesis: Through their decisions, loyalty, and love life, Hemingway reveals the negative effects of war.
I) Decisions—Robert Jordan
A) In For Whom the Bell Tolls, Robert Jordan’s decisions depict the war’s effects on his personality.
1) Robert Jordan’s change of mind to kill Pablo
(a) When Robert Jordan arrives at the guerrilla camp, another member, Pablo, causes discord by refusing to follow the order to blow up a Fascist bridge. Later, when the camp’s gypsy tempts Robert Jordan to kill him, he refuses. However, Pablo gets into another fight with Robert Jordan, and this time, the latter provokes his nemesis for an opportunity to kill him.
(b) After his comrades decide that Pablo existence threatens their success, Robert Jordan replies, “I am ready to do it. Since you are all decided that it should be done it is a services that I can do” (220).
(c) Robert Jordan’s decision reflects how his new guerrilla lifestyle affects him. During his first skirmish with Pablo, Robert Jordan understands the importance of human life. However, after his second fight with Pablo, Robert Jordan’s perspective changes to the belief that Pablo is a threat and volunteers to get rid of him.
B) Although Robert Jordan’s view on the value of humanity changes, his perspective on suicide does not.
1) Robert Jordan decision to not commit suicide after a fatal injury.
(a) To avoid torture, Robert Jordan’s father commits suicide, a sign of cowardice. For Robert Jordan, his inner strength helps him to resist any negative temptations. However, after the bombing of the bridge, a Fascist bullet injures him, and he tells his comrades to leave him behind. Left alone, he contemplates suicide, but stays strong to slow down the Fascists.
(b) He wonders if the “ones with religion or just taking it straight” has it easier, but realizes that “there is no thing to fear” (468).
(c) Robert Jordan negatively views suicide especially because of his father’s actions, so for him to consider committing suicide reflects how the war weakens his perseverance.
(d) Hays views Robert Jordan dying as nature’s own cycle; “the emphasis is not on death, but the necessity of living life to the fullest before death takes us” (19). Robert Jordan may have considered suicide, but his perseverance pulls him out of a weak moment. He keeps on living so he can slow down the Fascists and earn some time for his comrades to escape. His decision demonstrates his ‘living life to the fullest’. Although Robert Jordan is on the brink of death, he still tries to accomplish his wishes.
II) Decisions—Jake Barnes
A) Jake Barnes’s decisions in The Sun Also Rises show how the war affects his life.
1) Jake avoids going to bed by drinking alcohol.
(a) When Jake and his friends visit Spain, they watch a bullfight. After the show, Jake feels sleepy. Instead of going to bed, he decides to go drink absinthe at a cafe with his friend, Bill.
(b) Jake declares that “the absinthe made everything seem better” (226).
(c) He turns to alcohol during times when drinking is not necessary. The way alcohol makes Jake feel allows him to rely on drinking to avoid his problems. His problem blocks him from getting through simple tasks.
B) Jake’s actions with his supposed friend, Robert Cohn, additionally demonstrates his aimlessness.
1) Jake acts rudely toward his friend, Cohn, even though the latter dedicates himself to their relationship.
(a) When Jake and Cohn discuss Brett, he gets upset with Cohn when he defends her against Jake’s insults.
(b) He angrily replies, “Don't ask me a lot of fool questions if you don't like the answers…Sit down. Don't be a fool” (47).
(c) Even though Jake does not have a chance with Lady Brett Ashley, he treats Cohn harshly for siding with her. Instead of trying to make friends with Cohn, Jake pushes him away by insulting Cohn’s comments.
III) Loyalty—Robert Jordan
A) In For Whom the Bell