The Nature Of Crutality In Hemingway's The Fascists?

Good Essays
Hemingway mirrors brutal events in his novel, through the similar traits of brutality found between the Republican massacre in the unnamed town, and the Falangists’ (the Spanish Fascist party) rape of Maria.
Pilar recalls a massacre in an unnamed town, where Pablo has twenty fascists “beaten to death with flails and thrown from the top of the cliff above the river.”1 The Fascists would each be beaten and driven through two lines of flail-armed men, until the crowd threw them off the cliff at the end of the lines. Pilar notes that this brutal, collective killing of the Fascists was intended to motivate the Republicans in taking greater action against the Fascists.
Initially, the massacre is described as akin to passing “a holy image in a procession”2,
…show more content…
This comparison between religion and the massacre introduces the ritualistic nature of brutality, in that the massacre was a necessity performed for the advancement of a cause. The perversion of religion later foreshadows how brutality has a propensity to descend from ritualistic brutality to uncontrollable brutality, when Don Guillermo enters the lines. This is represented by the “drunkenness” entering the lines as Guillermo is readied for his execution. These “drunkards” are not just drunk from alcohol as it is also “other elements than wine”3; they are drunk with their vengeance and power held over the Fascists. The distinction between alcohol-induced drunkenness and revenge-induced drunkenness is made very clear. Drunkenness from alcohol is tantamount to being classified amongst the “worthless” ones and looked down upon. However, drunkenness from vengeance is of “great ugliness”, as though it is vehemently abhorred. Hemingway uses imagery here (the “ugliness”) to juxtapose the physical intoxication of the crowd with their graver, more disgusting emotional intoxication. As Guillermo…show more content…
Initially, the Fascist Guardia Civil (the Fascist Army) arrive at her village to kill all supporters of the Republicans – hence the killing of Maria’s father. Other supporters of Maria’s father are killed, including Maria’s mother, who was not explicitly supportive of the Republicans, but shouted “Long live my husband”14 before she was shot. The presence of the Guardia Civil provides a more official, detached and “orderly” nature to the initial violence. Indeed, Maria describes the Guardia Civil “leaning against their rifles” and “waiting to shoot more”15. The imagery of the Guardia Civil “leaning against their rifles” suggests the normalization of violence in war, and thus by extension the detached and ritualistic nature of the executions. This initial violence clearly mirrors that of the Republican massacre, in that both acts began with a seemingly necessary act carried out in war. The Falangists then take over from the Guardia Civil, proceeding to “herd”16 all the women to a barbershop opposite the city hall. The Falangists, members of the Spanish Fascist political party, were known for their disorderliness, poor discipline and their street violence prior to the Civil War.17 Hence their taking over of the shooting mirrors the drunkards taking over the lines in the Ayuntaimento – in both cases, their taking over represents a descent into
Get Access