For Whom the Bell Tolls: Metaphor Analysis

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Metaphor Analysis

The Snowstorm
The late, entirely unexpected May snowstorm that cripples the guerillas in their preparation efforts to blow up the bridge represents the confusion and pandemonium associated with war. As Jordan watches the snow flying haphazardly in all directions he thinks that "it was like the excitement of battle except that it was clean (186)." But unlike in battle where he would have orders to carry out or the ability to negotiate changes, Jordan realizes that he has no direct control over the snowstorm. And all the high-tech war strategies that involve automatic weapons, aircraft and tanks utilized by man remain useless once Nature decides to interfere.
The snowstorm precipitates the horrid deaths of El Sordo and his band because the fascist cavalry are able to track them in the snow and to brutally kill them. This in turn eliminates any back-up for Jordan and thus reduces his chances of a successful mission. The haphazard events at the novel's end with everyone running hither and yon mimic the chaos caused by the snowstorm.
The Bullfight
The novel's allusions to bullfighting represent the inherent violence that, according to Hemingway, pervades Spanish culture and society. The bullfight posits the courage and valor of man against the brute force of the bull. Death is as nothing in the face of honor. The young guerilla named Joaquin, on of El Sordo's men, suffers great guilt and perpetual condemnatory comments from the other soldiers because he wanted to be a bullfighter but found he was afraid and couldn't function.
It is not so much that the man in question feels fear, but that he doesn't overcome his fear. Indeed, Pilar's story of her lover, Finito the not-so-good matador who was deathly afraid of bulls, illustrates the idea that in spite of his fear, man must put himself in the position where he faces death and looks at it squarely in the face. Finito was terrified all the time, and could not even look at a bull outside the ring, but in the bullring "he was like a lion" (185). The cowardly Pablo pales in comparison with such undaunting courage. And this courageous impulse carries over to fighting so blindly in war, not because one wants to fight in many cases, but because one is socially and culturally compelled to do so.

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