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1.Violence and Redemption

In his novels, Ernest Hemingway used violence extensively, but yet subtly. Never is there a description of death for its own sake, it always contributes to a larger theme, in "A Farewell to Arms" it is mainly human commitment, and in "For whom the Bell Tolls" mainly comradeship. It contributes in an unusual way: Death and violence always act as the opposite, as the imminent threat and as the jet black background that makes the theme stand out sharply, and that's why it is difficult to analyze it. No matter what exactly happens in those two books, violence and death are always involved, but just act as a sort of sublime intensification of the protagonist's feelings and experiences.

Death appears to be the inevitable end, but this does not make the characters sad or melancholic. Just like a man who is told by a doctor that he has some lethal illness and only four days left until his death, Robert Jordan is willing "to live as full a life in seventy hours as in seventy years"(For Whom (5.), p. 179). In "For Whom the Bell Tolls" everything is compressed and more intense because the prospect of death enables him to relish his life until the very last breath.

Thus redemption from death does not mean eternal live, but it means to live in the moment, to assume that each day could be the last. That is what the stream-of-consciousness passage during Robert's and Maria's second sexual intercourse(For Whom (5.), p. 406) is all about, the counterpart to the first one which dealt with the nada.

This, that they were not to have, they were having. They were having now and before and always and now and now and now. Oh, now, now, now, the only now, and above all now, and there is no other now but thou now and now is thy prophet. Now and forever now. Come now, now, for there is no now but now. Yes, now. Now, please now, only now [...]

His love, to Maria as well as to the comrades, forms "an alliance against death"(For Whom (5.), p. 282). Catherine's commitment to Frederic, the priests commitment to god, Robert's gaiety in the first chapter, they all can outface death. Hemingway's characters can be destroyed by violence and death, but never defeated

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