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For Whom the Bell Tolls Summary Sample

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For Whom the Bell Tolls Summary Sample

What is the meaning of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpiece For Whom the Bell Tolls title? 


Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom The Bell Tolls is a story that describes Spanish Civil War. The book’s title is taken from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions written by John Donne. Novel’s epigraph refers to the funeral tolling. “No man is an island” and “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee” are the most powerful lines in Donne’s prose. Actually, these very lines that determine the topic of the novel (PDBooks.ca. (n.d.).

Society and Its Role in the Story

The main part of this story is dedicated not to the main characters, but to the destiny of the nation and revolution. Everything that happens in this novel confirms the important idea that is metaphorically expressed in poetic lines of J. Donne’s Meditaton XVII. Mainly, that the person is inseparable from society: the one is responsible for all and all are responsible for the tragedy experiensed by everyone (A. Sergeev, 1988).

Of course one of the most terrifying and cruel tragedies that people have faced and was made by people is war. It influences all the nations that are involved in it, from both sides of the barricade. People are dying. Wives, mothers, children don’t even know if their husbands, sons, fathers will ever come back home. In such times people compassion each other because this grief does not belong to one person, it touches everyone. People grieve over everybody who has died, even if they were not familiar. Because we all face the death of close people and we remember this pain of loss. Everyone knows that death has no mercy; sooner or later everyone will face it (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).


So, title of the novel of Ernest Hemingway reveals the topic familiar to the reader – the end of life. It is described during war, that is common for such times, but death is a death, no matter during what times it happens. Those who live will remember, those who has passed away – would not hear the bell that “tolls for thee.”

Works Cited

PDBooks.ca. (n.d.). Retrieved July 04, 2016, from http://pdbooks.ca/books/english/authors/hemingway-ernest/for-whom-the-bell-tolls/1.html

Shmoop Editorial Team. (2008, November 11). For Whom the Bell Tolls Theme of Mortality. Retrieved July 5, 2016, from http://www.shmoop.com/for-whom-the-bell-tolls/mortality-theme.html

А. Sergeev. Foreword to the publication of the novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” Hemingway [“Truth”, 1988]. Retrieved July 04, 2016, from http://noblit.ru/node/1135

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