There ideas that are not only harmonious
There are moments in life that bring about a coalescence of emotions and ideas that are not only harmonious in nature, theyre great in significance as well.
Time seems to stand still for these moments of harmony. And even if these moments are short-lived, their significance can last forever. Hemingways paragraph on page 379 is a paradigm of one of these moments. The first facet to Hemingways masterfully orchestrated sequence of events is the Epigram that he chooses to start the novel with. The key idea in that Epigram is that there is interdependence among mankind and that the existence of one person isnt possible without the existence of another, if one part of the organism is destroyed then the whole organism is destroyed. This concept is seen in the novel through the depiction of Pablos band and the way they depend upon each other and how their dependence on Jordan grows throughout the novel.
When Robert Jordan first starts out with Pablos band, he is just another foreigner caught in a war. To them, at that point, he holds no real significance because they dont see the bridge as a high priority. For all their purposes, theyd rather loot another train. But as the novel progresses Pablos band comes to recognize the fact that they need Jordan. They need Jordan to blow up the bridge, to accomplish something for the cause and he needs them to survive in the country.
The paragraph on page 379 also reflects this form of thought. Robert Jordan wouldnt be able to carry out his purpose in the novel if he didnt have Maria. She allows him to live in the moment and suspend time while Jordan helps nurture the fragile state shes in.
Without the paragraph on page 379, the reader wouldnt know that Jordan and Maria have that mutual relationship of necessity. Its mutual in necessity because Jordan wants to put off death as much as he can and Maria needs Jordans care and attention. Obviously she is coming from a very tumultuous past that had very negative effects on her, both physical and psychological. Physical because of what was done to her and psychological because she had to deal with the public humiliation of having her hair cut.
But if Jordan had not fallen in love with Maria, then he would not have been able to slow time down and she wouldnt have had that emotional refuge he provided her with by loving her. The suspension of time and space is probably most indicative of how all the elements fit together. Jordans necessity for Maria is based upon the concept that she can help him live in the here and now.
And its not just a theory or some ideal situation that Hemingway has proposed, it actually occurred for Jordan that way. The phrases this was now and always and now and forever now epitomize the aforementioned relationship, the mutual necessity of both characters, which wouldnt have happened or wouldnt be able to happen if the suspension of time and space wasnt related to them. On page 379, the suspension of time and space plays its biggest role in terms of having Robert Jordan and Maria live in the moment. The preceding paragraph has about three references to time and the main paragraph most exemplifies the manner in which time has come to a standstill for Jordan and Maria. The constant now and only now serves as a basis for this conclusion. Hemingway places that particular theme in that paragraph to stress irony. Because its the night before Jordan is to fulfill his duty and its the night before Jordan encounters the inevitable, before he encounters death.
Which would seem kind of ironic because a code hero knows that death is inevitable yet he is trying to delay it. Living in the here and now allows Jordan to not have to deal with the tomorrow. Living for only this instance in time allows him to make all instances obsolete, for a moment. There is no now but now.
In that paragraph, nothing else really matters to Jordan because in that instant in time, hes with Maria, with a girl he is in love with, and because of that he is able to prolong his life in a sense. Shes helping him to hold off on death a little while longer because when Jordan is with her, time takes a backseat to Maria and the moment; this is why the references to the watch, to time, stop when Jordan and Maria begin to make love. In the preceding paragraph, Jordan is looking at his watch, thinking about time, but as soon as hes with Maria, his thoughts, feelings and emotions seem to transcend time.
All other things, if only for a moment, are put on hold because Jordan and Maria are actually doing what people only speak of; they are actually living in the moment. As hackneyed as it may seem, the fact that for the time they were together, they were able to, at least once, transcend time and the inevitable, even if it was only for a moment, allows Jordan and Maria to triumph over the inevitable. Death is going to come for Jordan; that much is known. But to a code hero, because there is no afterlife, you try to enjoy the present life as much as you can and get as much out of it as you can. Having your love transcend time would seem like one of the greater accomplishments in a life, almost to say that you had lived your life to the fullest which is what a code hero is all about. Putting off death is, of course, a characteristic of a code hero.
A code hero has the mindset you have what you enjoy. A code hero receives his joy from earthly pleasures. This is why Pablo is always drinking wine and this is why Pilar spoke of what she did in Valencia, how she had the best time. She lay on the beach all day, made love to Finito, had the most splendid meals and enjoyed the most exquisite libations.
All earthly pleasures that can be enjoyed here on this earth. Robert Jordan also starts out the novel as being a code hero, but the reader is shown a trace of irony because although Jordan is a code hero hes fighting for a cause, which is an abstract concept, and as is already known, code heroes dont believe in abstract concepts. But would a true code hero fall in love? Isnt love an abstract concept? Why then, does Robert Jordan fall in love with Maria? Some will say that it is a betrayal of the character for Jordan to fall in love. Others will say that it was essential for the survival of Maria. Or maybe, this too, is connected with the other themes.
Maybe it is irony. The night before the most crucial day that Jordan, Pablo, Pilar, Anselmo etc. will ever live to see and Jordan is having what they were not to have. After this phrase, it should immediately be known that Hemingway has introduced another element to his paragraph, that element being irony. Here you have Jordan, who was once portrayed as being somewhat of a code hero fall absolutely in love with a girl. Having Jordan tell Maria he loves her, just hours before he is to meet the inevitable would seem a bit ironic. Which is where another connection of themes is seen in the paragraph on page 379.
Here there is a change in the way Jordan thinks. It isnt really a betrayal of character; its the inevitable circumstances of life having their effects on the people that are involved and falling in love is one of these circumstances. This is the concept that seems to be most logical when the words this was what had been and now and whatever was to come are said. Its just another way of saying this is the way its always worked and the way it will always work. The people in the novel depend on love, whether they deliberately confess it or not. Robert Jordan and Maria depend on each other and they cant be in a relationship with one another unless there is love because their relationship depends on love as well.
This was what had been and now and whatever was to come. Which, in other words means people have always depended on love, they still do and they always will. For Jordan, the love allows him to distort time and reality and for Maria, the love allows her to overcome the inner demons that she has that are a result of her past experiences.But what if someone doesnt really believe in love? What if all a person believes in is now, right now. Now is all that there is and all that there ever will be. For some, all that there can be is just the here and now.
This mode of thinking is what is called Nihilism. Nihilism is a philosophy about not believing in anything, and as previously explained, if there is nothing to believe in then a human being will most likely revert back to what will produce the most pleasure. A Nihilist will only be concerned with what is happening now. But now has an effect on the future and what happens now will foreshadow the events of the future. This is why, after Maria and Jordans moment of passion, the words to earth conclusively now, and with the morning of the day to come are chosen to end their moment together. Its ended like that because it can only last for a while, then Jordan has to meet the unavoidable. Theyve had their moment together but thats all it was, just a moment.
Although it was great in significance it could only have lasted for a while and that is why Jordan commences to anticipate the morning of the day to come.Circular plot is also another element that is in the paragraph on page 379. The book ends the way it began, which would fit the description of a circular plot. The book starts with Jordan laying on the pine-needled floor of the forest and it ends with his heart beating on the pine needle floor of the forest. On a surface level, a same beginning and ending would suffice to meet the definition of a circular plot. But on an abstract level and because of what is occurring in the paragraph, having the book end the way it starts doesnt seem to be existent in the paragraph.
But there is a circular plot involved in the paragraph that is connected to the rest of the novel. In the beginning of the novel, Robert Jordan is starting off on a mission that is to be carried out; he has been given a specific purpose. At the end of the novel, when Jordan has sacrificed himself for Maria, he has fulfilled his purpose. So evidently, Jordan isnt there by accident.
His presence is needed in the beginning and the end. In the paragraph on page 379, the reader is exposed to this thought process with the words there is no other one but one now. There is no other person but Jordan that can complete a mission (the destruction of the bridge) and fulfill a crucial purpose (die for Maria). Jordans role in the novel was predetermined; he was there to fulfill multiple purposes but also because he felt a connection towards the others.
He felt that he was involved in Mankinde. All of the elements in the paragraph and in the novel seemed to connect and have a specific role to be carried out which is very much similar to the characters dependence of one another. The connection, in the end, resulting in a single entity. Nothing could ever happen to the one that could not happen to the other.
Any mans death diminishes me; because I am involved in Mankinde. Both are different in style, but the substance, the true meaning is the same. Because of this, and the constant references in the paragraph to one is one, the logical conclusion would be that Hemingway was stressing the fact that interdependence among the many individuals was crucial for the survival of the one, single organism called humanity. This mode of thought resonated throughout the essay with the commencement of the Epigram: every man is a peece of the Continent and reverberated even louder when Jordan sacrificed his own life for the preservation of the many.