Lecture 18 - Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, Part III

author: Wai Chee Dimock, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Aug. 19, 2014,   recorded: December 2011,   views: 1531
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

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Professor Wai Chee Dimock focuses on the themes of dying and not dying that reappear throughout For Whom the Bell Tolls. Marshaling Elaine Scarry’s argument on the aesthetics of killing, she reads the execution of the Fascists as a representation of both aesthetic and ethical “ugliness” in death. She then turns to a discussion of the tragic-comic dimensions of not dying as depicted in the bullfighter Finito’s refusal to die and the smell of death emanating from the old women in the Madrid marketplace. She concludes with a reading of the word cobarde--coward--as it is applied to both Robert Jordan’s suicidal father and the indomitable Pablo.

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