Love in The Novel For Whom The Bell Tolls

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Love is one of the most important forces in human nature. It encompasses various mental and emotional states, with strong and positive experiences coming from an individual’s deep interpersonal affections channeled towards simple pleasures. As humans, we are abounded by love and all those that are around us thus making us feel strongly attracted and emotionally held by these individuals. Love reveals different attributions demonstrated by individuals and how they will relate to those they feel physically and emotionally attracted to (Zuo, 2015). The desires to be in love bring joy with warmth and happiness while taking away the negative aspects that may be lying forth. Essentially, love may also lead to negative implications where one desires to have more than those rivalling them. With love comes affection, compassion, and kindness that lead to unselfish loyalty and genuine concern for the benefit of others. In the novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, various characters can be attributed responding to love which goes on to reveal a great deal about them.

            Although various characters in the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls abide by a cynical perception of human nature and fell exhausted by the war that had taken place, there is a bright light held up for the hope of finding romantic love. Characters in the novel are portrayed with the desire to find love and embrace those they dearly care for despite the state of the matter surrounding them. Pilar, who is deemed as the worldly-wise, reveals romantic traces while remembering Finito, which depicts an idealistic outlook of the world they live in (Hemingway, 1995). She takes note of how she loved him with no concern of the war at hand and desired to be with him again. The memory brings out the romantic character of Pilar while still with Finito. It also reveals her desire to relive the moment with him in a world where there was no existence of war threats thus they could live better lives with their love still in position.

Maria and Robert Jordan’s Love

Maria and Robert Jordan fall in love, at first sight, revealing an idealistic and grand love (Hemingway, 1995). This love is depicted as pure and real as they find happiness without struggling and enjoy the feeling of being together. Robert desires to be with Maria until the end of times with nothing to separate them apart. The feeling of being loved marvels Maria as she cannot comprehend how it is she came to fall in love with Robert. The love Robert Jordan has for Maria bestows upon his life a new meaning while giving him the motivation of fighting in the rise of the disillusionment dwelling in him against the Republican cause. He is motivated to actively engage in the fight to build a better future with the love of his life. Maria is determined to be with Robert and wishes he returns safely since it would really depress her when he fails to return safely back to her. Their love grows and is felt as one of a kind. Robert Jordan firmly believes in love and how this positively impacts one despite his existence being rejected by other people, such as Karkov, who goes on to subscribe to the “purely materialistic” philosophy which is fashionable with the Hotel Gaylord (Hemingway, 1995). However, this does not diminish Robert Jordan’s perspectives on love and its positive effect on those entangled by it. Robert Jordan’s acceptance of love allows him to put away any theories favoring intuition and actions throughout the novel. He is determined to prove that love stands tall over other aspects of life (Cohen, 2017).

            Robert Jordan is introduced as an American volunteer to the military operation where he meets Maria, a Spanish girl and falls in love with her. Depicting their love as pure lust since they were brought together for only three and a half days wouldn’t be appropriate. They both felt connected with each other and desired to be together. However, both were overwhelmed and unprepared for the great experience of romance and love among two individuals as both of them had never experienced it before (Hemingway, 1999). Their love greatly contributes to the theme of the novel both have a new reason for living to stay close to one another. Essentially, this depicts the loneliness we experience while alone lest we fall in love with someone else. Robert Jordan and Maria’s love moves the audience to understand how love influences the outcomes of the novel. With the desire of living another day to be together always, the two cherish their lives and hope to make it through successfully. Despite their gust and positive aspects, it is clear that their love would soon die with no future to uphold.

            In the novel, Robert Jordan is fighting with Spanish Republicans in the Spanish Civil War (Hemingway, 1999). He is portrayed to have a special kind of love for the Spanish people which cannot be compiled as entirely true since it could also be escalated to a love-hate relationship. From his attributions, he gives out a wide range of reasons for the Spanish people to be revolted rather than admired. His role as an outsider reveals quite several responsibilities as it also allows him to lead a close-knit group. From the moment he sets eyes on Maria, he feels connected with her and desires to be with her (Hart, 2017). It is not certain whether the three-day affair was out of love or lust as such kind of love is difficult to be built in such a short period of time. Through the novel, it could have been taken as though Robert Jordan’s love for Maria symbolized his gratification for the Spanish people since he found a Spanish he had fallen in love with.

Love at First Sight

            At the beginning of the novel, before Robert finds any love, we are introduced to him as he surveys a mountain terrain area behind the lines of the fascists (Hemingway, 1999). As a young American, he has volunteered to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil war. He has chosen his path well as he is involved with the good guys who are fighting for the common people, democracy and freedom for all. His main duty is to blow up the bridge in three days as a surprise attack on the fascists thus preventing them from getting reinforcements over the bridge. He must recruit some people who will help him take out the bridge as there are two manned posts at the bridge. Anselmo is his guide and introduces him to Pablo who is accounted as the boss in these parts and is a grizzled guerilla leader (Hemingway, 1995). However, Pablo doesn’t seem trustworthy enough and is reluctant in helping Robert to blow up the bridge although he later agrees and leads him back to the cave hideout he had been using. This is where Robert and Maria meet as she is part of Pablo’s band. The two immediately fall in love with each other. Pilar is also present and is introduced as the imposing wife to Pablo.

            Later that night, Pablo confronts Robert Jordan when he says he won’t allow him to blow up the bridge since they should be playing it safe (Hemingway, 1995). However, Maria is in favor of Robert Jordan’s plan and disagrees with Pablo, which makes everyone fall behind her leaving Pablo with no position as the leader. After this confrontation, Maria goes outside to where Robert Jordan is sleeping and wakes him then they sleep together. This imposes how their love begins to grow as they feel connected to each other. Robert Jordan is pleased with having met Maria as she makes him feel loved and appreciated. They had both never experienced this feeling before and decide to embrace it regardless of the situations surrounding them (Zuo, 2015). In the heat of the erupting war, love seems to be the only solution to calm down their fears and ignite their spirit for hope in living another day and being together. Their love symbolizes the desire for peace and unity from the war where they can live in a peaceful society with no fear. Nevertheless, their love had been sparked the instant they met, and they felt the need to appreciate the fact that there was something keeping them happy and worth living another day for.

            The second day after they left El Sordo’s, Robert Jordan and Maria enjoy the afternoon by having ‘earth-moving’ sex after which they immediately come to a decision that they are in love with each other. They both decide that they have made the right decision to be together. The romantic love displayed by the novel shows that Robert and Maria had really liked each other (Cohen, 2017). The decision made by both of them after having sex implies that they looked forward to having a strong and lasting relationship. Despite the negative implications arising from the war, they found what connected their hearts and decided to abide by it. The question arising is whether their love was genuine or if it was out of lust since they came to the decision of being in love instantly after having sex (Hart, 2017). They slept together on the second night and have sex again. Maria feels the desire to stay close to Robert even though they are at war. Love seems to be keeping the danger away and assuring her of a positive future after the war. They both long for the day when the war would be over so that they can stay together.

Love as a Symbol of Peace

            We are certain that love is a driving force in the characters of Robert Jordan and Maria (Hart, 2017). The love they have for each other symbolizes peace that would be there with no war. Essentially, with love, no hatred would exist thus individuals can dwell peacefully with each other. The war existing was due to hatred between the parties thus this implies that it would end negatively with immense loss of life. War only brings chaos, unlike love which aims at uniting people. With love, individuals can exist well. Robert and Maria embrace the fact that they are in love and happily together. Love has given them both a reason to live for another day and forget all the pain and sorrows the feel (Zuo, 2015). It is imperative to ascertain that both of them had been longing for love and this gave them a ray of hope for a better future. The driving force of love takes away negative aspirations while setting in positive aspects between two individuals. The feeling of being loved and cared for as demonstrated in the novel builds on the unification of individuals. Had Robert and Maria not met, they both wouldn’t have realized how it felt like when one was in love.

Love as a Symbol of Happiness

            Love also symbolizes happiness in the novel. It is an array of hope for new beginnings and food for the soul. Robert and Maria are in love and this makes them happy as they appreciate the gift of life with the desire to live another day (Zuo, 2015). They significantly acquire a reason to live thus look forward to when the war would end. They both enjoy being together and having sex. They even had sex on the third day when Robert’s mission of blowing up the bridge looked doomed after Pablo ran off with the explosives detonators as a way of sabotaging the bridge attack mission. Maria is saddened by Robert’s decision of being left behind when his horse is toppled by a tank blast leaving him with a broken leg (Zuo, 2015). Robert knows that he would slow down his men from escaping thus he orders them to leave him behind as he waits to face death. He is heartbroken to watch Maria being dragged away as they are separated.


Love is a strong force in human nature that holds individuals together. It is a symbol of hope, joy, and happiness al combined in a unique way to provide a positive aspiration. Love is a major driving force that sets things in motion as described in the novel. The love between Robert Jordan and Maria symbolized various factors that lead to significant issues in the novel. Despite being involved in the war, Robert Jordan and Maria managed to find love and embraced it to the end. The feeling of being loved helped them to see the positive in the negative by being together regardless of the war they are facing.

Works Cited

Cohen, Milton A. "Robert Jordan's (and Ernest Hemingway's)"True Book": Myths and Moral

Quandaries in For Whom the Bell Tolls."The Hemingway Review 36.2 (2017): 42-64.

Hart, David M. "Introduction: For Whom the Bell Tolls: The School of Liberty and the Rise of

Interventionism in French Political Economy in the Late Nineteenth Century."Journal of Markets and Morality 20.2 (2017).

Hemingway, Ernest. "For Whom the Bell Tolls. 1940."New York: Scribner's


Hemingway, Ernest. For whom the bell tolls. Random House, 1999.

Zuo, Yue. "Analysis of the Themes and Artistic Features of For Whom the Bell Tolls."Advances

in Literary Study 3.02 (2015): 49.

December 12, 2023

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