Robert Jordan, an American expatriate schoolteacher who has joined the Loyalist forces in Spain. Disillusioned with the world and dissatisfied with his own country, Jordan has come to Spain to fight and die, if necessary, for a cause he knows is vital and worthwhile: that of the native peasant free souls against the totalitarian cruelty of Francisco Franco and his Fascists. He is, however, aware of the contrast between his ideals and the realities he has found among narrow, self-important, selfish, bloodthirsty men capable of betrayal and cruelty as well as courage. He also finds love, devotion, generosity, and selflessness in the persons of Anselmo, Pilar, and especially Maria. The latter he loves with the first true selflessness of his life, and he wishes to avenge her cruel suffering and someday make her his wife in a land free of oppression and cruelty. With bravery, almost bravado, he carries out his mission of blowing up a bridge and remains behind to die with the sure knowledge that in Maria and Pilar his person and ideals will survive. Successful for the first time in his life, in love and war, he awaits death as an old friend.
Maria, a young and innocent Spanish girl cruelly ravaged by war and men’s brutality. Befriended by Pilar, a revolutionary, Maria finds a kind of security in the guerrilla band and love in her brief affair with Robert Jordan. As his common-law wife, almost all memory of her rape and indignities disappear, and at a moment of triumph for their forces it looks as if they will live to see their dreams of the future fulfilled. Elemental in her passions and completely devoted to her lover, she refuses to leave him and must be forced to go on living. The embodiment of Jordan’s ideals, she must live.
Pilar (pee-LAHR), the strong, almost...
(The entire section is 775 words.)