For Whom the Bell Tolls is a novel by Ernest Hemingway published in 1940. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. As a dynamiter, he is assigned to blow up a bridge during an attack on the city of Segovia.He falls in love with Maria , a young Spanish girl.
The book’s title is taken from the metaphysical poet John Donne’s series of meditations and prayers on health, pain, and sickness.
“No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thineowne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
Fahrenheit 451 is a book about Guy Montag, a fireman in the sense that he starts fires.In this dystopian society books aren’t allowed.He is a married men with no children.One afternoon, he meets his new neighbor, a teenage girl named Clarisse McClellan whose free-spirited and curious mind sparks an interest that is no longer allowed:to read books.
After he ransacks an elderly lady’s house for books and she refuses to get rid of them, she lights herself on fire and this affects Montag. How are books so important that you would give up your life protecting them?
He keeps a book hidden and when Mildred, his apathetic wife finds out, she freaks out thinking they will be found out soon,and she is right. His captain Beatty visits his home and is extremely suspicious.
This book is a good read for anyone who is horrified at the thought of such a dystopian society.Getting rid of books is getting rid of free thought, of freedom of expression, of knowledge.
Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms is based on World War I.The main character,Fredric Henry is an American fighting with the Italian Army in the ambulance corps.The book is divided into 5 sections.
Fredric falls in love with an English nurse named Catherine Barkley.At first he did not want a serious relationship with the conservative lady, but his feelings start to develop.As much as he tries to stay in the hospital where she works, he is forced to the front lines.
They fall in love, she becomes pregnant, he escapes the army and go live in Switzerland.There , she gives birth to a stillborn and suffer complications and dies leaving Fredric all alone.
This book is based on his own experiences serving in the Italian campaigns during world war I.
In College, I came across a book I had to buy. It is called Constructing a Life Philosophy by Opposing Viewpoints. It is divided in sections and those sections are: “The Importance of Choosing a Life Philosophy”, “What Reveals Life’s Ultimate Meaning?” ,”How do Religions Give Life Meaning? ”, What Motivates Moral Behavior? And “What Principles Should Guide Our Lives?”
My favorite section is “What Principal Should Guide Our Lives?”. In this section there are articles for instance from Thomas Jefferson and his “Develop an Honest Heart” or Nicolo Machiavelli’s “Develop a Devious Mind” and a few more. What caught my eye the most was Machiavelli’s “Develop a Devious Mind” because I have heard of his work The Prince from which this perspective is excerpted from.
In Constructing a Life Philosophy, to summarize what The Prince conveys, it says that “A powerful leader should seem good and honorable if it serves his purposes; he should also appear cruel and be willing to commit evil acts when the need arises”(203). The book also has some questions to reflect : do you think it is more important to be feared or loved as a leader? While the book says one should attempt at both, it is “safer” to be feared.Why ? “For love is held by a chain of obligation which ,men being selfish,is broken whenever it serves their purpose; but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails”(204).
Highly recommend this book for philosophical discussions as the book does not have its own point of view, but shares many types of points of view.
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Some people might feel that American novels are censored;they usually have a happy ending, problems are resolved and it is hardly provocative with the exception of a few. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov is anything but. It entices the reader from the beginning and it keeps you until the end.
Lolita is about a middle aged man that has fantasies about a 12 year old girl.He calls her a nymph ( she is innocent and yet playful). He becomes sexually involved with her after he becomes her stepfather. Lolita is the nickname for her name Dolores.He writes on a journal about how he comes to know her and how his obsession with her drives him to insanity.
Vladmir Nabokov does a good job of staying neutral to the subject. He does not side with the narrator nor disagrees with him.The author’s views are not aligned with his writing which allows him to cross any lines without many concerns. It is an extremely controversial book and it takes an unbiased reader to get through it.
Why am i suggesting it? Well, because it is no doubt one of the best books i have ever read or anyone has ever read.It is ranked among the best books ever written along with 1984 and The Alchemist.