The two works chosen in order to examine the Spanish civil war are by Ernest Hemingway who wrote the novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and the work by Pablo Neluda's poetry on "Spain in our hearts". (Hemingway, E., 1926) (Neruda, P., 2005)
In the novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls", a story is told of Robert Jordan who during the Spanish civil war was attached in the unit of the guerilla of the republican. Robert was given the task to blast a bridge in Segovia during an attack since he had expertise in explosives.
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In his work, Ernest featured different themes that were evident in the Spanish civil war. The most discussed was the theme of death. Death was evident when Robert was assigned the duty to blow the bridge and even Robert himself saw death coming his way. Those who led the Republican guerrilla bands, El Sordo and Pablo also saw the probability of them dying in the same blow they asked for. In his book, almost everybody who acted as a main character, contemplated on their coming deaths. It was a war where death was so inevitable that anybody could die anytime because of the severity of the events that were taken by the two sides each wanting to be the winner.
In Pablo Neluda's poetry on "Spain in our hearts", he wrote different poetries that explain the killing that was found in the Spanish civil war. He filled the book with passionate feelings and imagery which were so strong.
He wrote on how he saw his dear country tear apart, how families were destroyed and the eradication of men. In his poetry he is against fascism through out his work. He himself was so horrified by this Spanish civil war when his friend got murdered.
The two have shown how death was during the war. It was a war that resulted in many deaths as it is seen from these two works. Many people got killed through this war that their number can only be estimated. People died in the battle, executions, assassinations and bombardments. Other causes of death were starvation, malnutrition and diseases engineered by war.
In the book "For Whom the Bell Tolls" the author discusses how death was so serious until everyone was tired of the fight and wished to surrender if only this was going to bring any good. In his work, Ernest shows companionship in the face of death in the entire work; where there was a call to surrender so as the common good could be done again. The leaders are ready to do what a good man ought to do and this is making the decision to sacrifice. In the book one of the characters Joaquin's families dies thus stressing on this theme. When Joaquin's friends learn of his family's deaths, they show him some love by comforting his thus showing the love of the soil of the Spain. There is love of life, of senses and of space where in the beginning and the end of the novel is represented by the forest floor of the pine needle.
This love for the country is seen when in the poem the writer laments that his country has been torn apart as there are many widows as their husbands had been killed in the war. The all city was filled with mourning as people were killed, others wounded, others bedridden as the city was filled with blood, lack of order because even the houses were destroyed and they did not even differentiate between day and night.
Ernest Hemingway says that as an alternative to the suffering caused by the war, some even opt to commit suicide. The torture that one got when captured was feared by many including Robert himself and they would rather die than get captured. Due to this, many were prepared to die by killing themselves or by getting killed by others and would even kill in avoidance of this suffering. Towards the end of the book, when Robert gets wounded and he is left by his friends, he is seen waiting for the end of his dear life. In his mind he thinks that committing suicide is the only solution to the problems that he might be made to face when he is finally captured. Death and the need to commit suicide by the people during this war are seen as Robert remembers his father who had earlier on committed suicide. Robert links his fathers act with cowardice and he partly pulls away from the thought of wanting to commit suicide. This fear is also seen in poem as Pablo expresses how the war was on day and night as the people got killed by other people and the whole city was full of blood, heart breaks, oppression and fear.
The two authors have a common view of the war but Neluda speaks more of the people's emotions during the war. He speaks of death as inevitable occurrence that smelled everywhere with a lot of appetite. He talks of how the war was so severe that people had to go with sleepless night's everyday through out the war. This to the people was torture that they hoped it would one day have to end. He speaks of the war as a very big fire that surrounded the people and they were dying of its intense burning through out this entire time that the war was on. The war did not allow for any peace as people spend their nights guarded by solders that also feared to be killed and even though they were guarded they did not afford to catch sleep because of the intense fear.
In the novel by Ernest Hemingway, one sees how the ideology and the narrow mindedness of the political set up in Spain are explored. The government thinks that it is right absolutely and it has contentment with this righteousness and surety. This is actually being foolish as the result of continence is what the war results to. Some of the conservative elements in the government supported this war. The rebels were the nationalist who sought aid from the Nazi Germany and the fascist Italy. This war was due to the development of the division in the life of the Spanish and their politics over the past decades.
The poet also talks of the political system as the major source of the war as they did not device a way to do away with the cause of this war. The Spanish war was caused by the military that were against the Spain republic government between the years 1936 to 1939 and during all this time there had been no solution to it. People in Spain had been oppressed by the kind of leadership that was put in place and Ernest through Robert in his book tells how fascism threatened his country. He talks of the inheritance tax and the income tax and how they worked. There were also taxes on the land which to him appeared to be revolutionary. When threatened they turn against the government thus causing a war like the Spanish civil war.
In the book, Ernest uses images so as death and violence are well presented in the kind of atmosphere this produces. The machine image is mostly used as it produces fear like it is seen when fascism planes appear and the hope in people is lost. It becomes meaning less for the partisans to put more efforts thus making them not to commit themselves. It turned out that the one with the biggest and more modern machine was the winner as those who used small weapons were now prepared to loose the battle. Because the two groups wanted to succeed and beat the other, they all sought help and many troops and planes were sent by the Germany to the nationalists as the republicans got help from the Mexico and France governments.
The effect of the war to emotions and politics shock many even those from other countries. In the poem also, the author filled the book with passionate feelings and imagery which were so strong. This is seen through out his work as he curses the rich for making Spain to be poor.
How the author or artist portray the Spanish Civil War
The perspectives about these wars that are portrayed by the two authors are similar to those of any other war. First for there to be a war there must be desire by people for something that they do not have and wishes to get just as it is seen in this kind of war. The politicians and the world leaders believe in the military and decide to play this 'game' where one group wants to win. The results of any war are massive deaths as is seen here through many causes that may range from battle, executions, assassinations and bombardments. Other causes of death were starvation, malnutrition and diseases engineered by war. All through the were people experience different emotions as some are left by their loved ones, others are in real fear of what will happen and that which could be happening then and generally people are oppressed and tortured by those in authority. Many evils are committed during the war that negatively affects the people and the world in general
Conclusion about the portrayal of war in general
The two works portrays war as being something that destroys humanity and the relationships in human beings. There is nothing positive that comes as a result of any war. However many wars come with an aim of changing an evil already in the society to good. Many lives are destroyed as many end up dying and even those who survive are affected greatly. There are so many deaths, torture and people end up being oppressed. When a world is ripped apart by a war, the survivors must learn to adjust themselves both psychologically and emotionally so as to live from day to day.
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