Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
At first, the only important thing is the bridge. Robert Jordan is a young American teacher who is in Spain fighting with the Loyalist guerrillas. His present and most important mission is to blow up a bridge that will be of great strategic importance during an offensive three days hence. Jordan is behind the Fascist lines, with orders to make contact with Pablo, the leader of a guerrilla band, and with his wife, Pilar, who is the strongest figure among the partisans. Pablo is a weak and drunken braggart, but Pilar is strong and trustworthy. A swarthy, raw-boned woman, vulgar and outspoken, she is so fiercely devoted to the Loyalist cause that Jordan knows she will carry out her part of the mission regardless of danger to herself.
The plan is that Jordan will study the bridge from all angles and then finalize the plans for its destruction at the proper moment. Jordan has blown up many bridges and three trains, but this is the first time everything has to be done on a split-second schedule. Pablo and Pilar are to assist Jordan in any way they can, even in rounding up other bands of guerrillas if Jordan needs them to accomplish his mission.
At the cave hideout of Pablo and Pilar, Jordan meets a beautiful young girl named Maria, who escaped from the Fascists. Maria was subjected to every possible indignity, being starved, tortured, and raped, and she feels unclean. At the camp, Jordan also meets Anselmo, a loyal old man who will follow orders...
(The entire section is 1067 words.)
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Summary (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
In this novel, Hemingway clearly demonstrates what the title, taken from a John Donne poem, promises. The essence of the poem from which the title is drawn is that when anyone dies, all humankind is involved—everyone dies a little. Hemingway, himself a correspondent in Spain during its civil war, uses his novel to show that a small skirmish confined to a single nation affects the entire world and cannot be dismissed as something local.
Robert Jordan, the protagonist, is an American teacher who is in Spain to fight alongside the Loyalists. The book chronicles three crucial days in his life and in the lives of the Loyalists he is there to help. Jordan’s mission is to destroy a bridge that is a vital link for the Fascists. He has had considerable demolition experience in the past, but this is the most intricate job he has undertaken. It must be timed precisely, and to orchestrate the demolition, he must enlist the aid of a band of Loyalist guerrillas, working through their leader, Pablo.
Pablo is not dependable, although his wife, Pilar, is. Pablo drinks too much and is weak. Pilar is outspoken, vulgar, direct, and dependable. Jordan knows he can depend upon her, but he is less sure of her husband. Jordan needs to concentrate on how the bridge is constructed so that he can plan his demolition as effectively as possible. He is holed up in a cave with Pablo and Pilar, along with members of their band. Among those in the cave is Maria, a young...
(The entire section is 937 words.)
For Whom the Bell Tolls is Hemingway’s third great novel. First published in 1940, the novel’s action takes place between Saturday afternoon and Tuesday noon during the last week of May, 1937. The main narrative follows three days in the life of its main character, Robert Jordan, an American fighting with Spanish Loyalists against Franco’s fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War. There are, however, flashback sequences in the text, two of which do not include Jordan. Given the epic character of the work and the relative complexity of its plot, the synopsis that follows is confined to the outlines of the central story.
For Whom the Bell Tolls begins with Jordan lying on the ground deep behind the enemy lines. He is scouting a bridge that he has agreed to blow up as part of the Loyalist plan to launch an offensive against the Fascists. Timing is absolutely critical to the mission’s success; the bridge must be destroyed right at the beginning of the Loyalist push. Although Jordan has ample experience with munitions, having destroyed bridges and enemy trains many times before, this assignment presents a particularly difficult challenge. He is to receive the support that he will need to carry it out from a band of partisan guerillas headed by Pablo and his wife, Pilar.
When Jordan reaches the cave in which the partisan camp is hidden, he finds that although Pablo was once renowned for his bravery, the band’s leader has lost...
(The entire section is 1102 words.)
Chapter 1 Summary
In 1930s Spain, Robert Jordan is an American serving in the guerrilla troops supporting the Republican army during the Spanish Civil War. He is now behind enemy lines to fulfill his mission. Along with Anselmo, a sixty-eight-year-old Spaniard, Jordan is scouting the bridge that he has been assigned to blow up. He was given the assignment two days previously by the Soviet commander General Golz, who instructs him not to set off the explosions after the Fascist aerial attack has begun. This is not the first bridge Jordan has dynamited during this war, and he is an expert at explosions. The destruction of the bridge will aid in the Republican attempt to take the town of Segovia. Both Jordan and Golz are not happy with this plan, seeing it as extremely difficult and liable to fail.
Anselmo leads Jordan up the mountainside to a place where they can hide the dynamite until the proper time. Anselmo tells Jordan to wait beside a small stream while he alerts the guerrilla fighters that they are approaching. Jordan grabs some watercress to ease his hunger. When Anselmo returns, they continue their climb up the mountain. They encounter Pablo, an illiterate peasant who questions Jordan’s credentials. He is reluctant to follow the plans that Jordan has been given. He does not like the idea of exploding a bridge so close to his place of shelter. Pablo says that he and the others with him have travelled throughout the countryside, having been driven from their homes. Now the very army that is supposed to aid the country people is, in fact, making life even more difficult for them. However, he agrees to help and leads them further up the mountain after Anselmo chastises him.
They come upon a corral of horses that Pablo has stolen. He is very proud of those horses, but Jordan sees that he is more concerned with the horses than with the struggle against the Fascists. Pablo has become a capitalist, Jordan believes. He also sees a sadness in Pablo’s face that indicates to him that Pablo is about to leave the fight or to betray them all. Jordan decides that Pablo is not a man to be trusted. He knows that when Pablo’s negative attitude changes for the better, the peasant will have made his move to either leave or to betray them. Jordan decides not to worry about it for now and looks forward to dinner, hoping that Pablo has sufficient food for a large meal.
(The entire section is 420 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
Robert Jordan and Anselmo, guided by Pablo, approach a cave up in the timber on the mountainside. This cave serves as the camp for the guerrilla insurgents. Outside the cave entrance sits a gypsy man whittling. Pablo introduces him to Jordan as Rafael. The gypsy warns them against putting the two backpacks containing the dynamite inside the cave where there is a fire. Robert Jordan asks the gypsy what he is whittling and is told that it is a trap for foxes (though it is really for rabbits).
The gypsy gives the men some wine, and Robert Jordan can smell food cooking. The gypsy asks what became of the other dynamite expert (Kashkin) from previous expeditions. Robert Jordan tells him that Kashkin was captured following the attack on a train and committed suicide rather than submit to torture.
A young woman named Maria brings food out of the cave. She has extremely short blond hair that she explains was cut off when she was imprisoned three months ago. The gypsy explains that they found her hiding in the rocks following the train explosion during which Kashkin had been captured. She was wild but they could not leave her. Robert Jordan feels a strong attraction to Maria, so much so that he has difficulty speaking. He asks her if she “belongs” to anyone. She says that she does not, nor will she belong to him. Robert Jordan says that he has no time for women. The gypsy teasingly asks him if he cannot spare even fifteen minutes. Maria blushes every time Robert Jordan looks at her, and she asks him to stop.
Robert Jordan asks how many fighters are in the camp. He is told that there are seven men and two women. The other woman “belongs” to Pablo. The gypsy tells Robert Jordan that she is much braver than Pablo is. He also explains that they have a machine gun. The gypsy tells Robert Jordan of the last mission in which Kashkin was killed and Maria rescued. A gypsy woman about fifty years old exits the cave. She is Pilar, Pablo’s woman. She expresses contempt for Pablo. She asks Robert Jordan to take Maria out of the camp when he leaves, to take her to the coast where she can be treated well after her imprisonment.
The gypsy woman takes Robert Jordan’s hand and reads his palm. She looks at him and claims that she saw nothing. Robert Jordan does not believe her and repeatedly asks her what she saw, that he is strong enough to take bad news. She insists that she saw nothing. At last Robert Jordan...
(The entire section is 447 words.)
Chapter 3 Summary
Robert Jordan and Anselmo climb down the mountain to within fifty yards of the bridge they are to dynamite. It is a wide, metal bridge crossing a deep gorge. Robert Jordan sees that it will not be difficult to demolish the bridge and quickly makes sketches of the situation. While Robert Jordan is sketching, Anselmo is observing the sentries. He points out the single sentry to Robert Jordan. The sentry box on the opposite end of the bridge is too far for them to see. There is another post five hundred meters below the turn of the stream. Anselmo says there are seven men and a corporal, according to the gypsy.
They see airplanes flying overhead as they prepare to go. They cannot determine on whose side the airplanes are on. Both Robert Jordan and Anselmo say they think they are on the side of the Republicans. However, looking more closely, Robert Jordan sees that they are the wrong shape and that they belong to the Fascists. But he does not say this to Anselmo. It is better for them to act like the planes belong to them.
Going back to the camp, the two men begin to talk about hunting. Anselmo invites Robert Jordan back after the war to hunt with him. Robert Jordan says that he does not like to hunt animals, but he is comfortable killing men if they are enemies during wartime. Anselmo says that he feels the opposite, that the killing of men, even in a time of war, is a sin. However, he believes that the sins he commits in this war will be forgiven. When Robert Jordan asks by whom they will be forgiven, Anselmo says that he does not know. He no longer believes in God, since no God would allow the atrocities he has seen. He misses believing in God, but he only believes in man. Robert Jordan suggests that he may then forgive himself for the sin of killing human beings.
As they approach the camp, they are stopped by a guard named Agustin. Although Agustin knows Anselmo, still he must do his job. He asks the two men if it is true that they are going to blow up a bridge. Every other word he speaks is an obscenity or an “unprintable” word. As Robert Jordan and Anselmo leave the guard to go up the mountain, Anselmo assures the American that Agustin is a good man despite his vulgar language. He has confidence in him, though he does not trust Pablo, whom he calls bad. The Republican leader El Sordo, Anselmo says, is as good as Pablo is bad. Robert Jordan agrees that Pablo is bad and asks if it is advisable to go to...
(The entire section is 483 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
As Robert Jordan approaches the cave with Anselmo, he checks the packs of dynamite. Verifying that all is well, he takes them with him into the cave. He sees that Pablo and the gypsy have been joined by three other men. Pilar (Pablo’s wife) is standing over the fire, and Maria is beside her. Pablo objects to having the dynamite in the cave.
Robert Jordan informs Pablo that Agustin is dying of boredom as he waits above. Pablo is unconcerned. When Robert Jordan asks for wine, Pablo tells him that there is little left. Robert Jordan then asks for water, which Maria brings to him. He brings out a hip flask, which contains absinthe. He explains to Maria that it is too strong for her. He carefully prepares the mixture, dropping the absinthe slowly into the water, which changes to a milky yellow. Robert Jordan explains that it is the last of the bottle he bought in Madrid. He gives Rafael the gypsy a sip. Rafael grimaces at the bitterness, which Robert Jordan explains comes from wormwood. It was supposed to rot the brain, he says, but he does not believe it. It only changes the ideas.
Robert Jordan looks at the other three men. They are belligerent, but he offers them a cigarette. They remark that it is the same brand that Kashkin had. All of those present, with the exception of Anselmo, were present when Kashkin was captured blowing up the train. Pablo states that they should blow up another train. Robert Jordan says they can do that after they blow up the bridge. Pablo sullenly states that he does not support the blowing up of the bridge, nor do any of the other men. Robert Jordan calmly ignores him and tells Anselmo that the two of them must blow it up themselves. Anselmo refers to Pablo as a coward.
Robert Jordan looks at Pilar and Maria. He realizes that it might come to a showdown between him and Pablo. He repeats that he will blow up the bridge without Pablo’s help. Pablo says that there will be no blowing up of the bridge at all. Robert Jordan turns to Pilar and asks her what she thinks. Pilar says that she is in favor of blowing up the bridge. She loves the Republic and the Republic needs the bridge blown up. Pablo confronts her, but she tells him that she is for the bridge and against him. The other men also say that they are for Pilar, which means that they are for the bridge. Pablo threatens Pilar, but she is unconcerned. Pablo is all for safety, but there is no safety. She compares Pablo to a brave...
(The entire section is 520 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
Robert Jordan steps outside after the evening meal and notes the freshness of the air compared to the stenches in the cave from men, horses, and food. He hears Rafael the gypsy strumming on his guitar, singing a sad song. He hears someone ask Rafael to sing the song about the Catalan. Unwillingly, Rafael complies, singing that it is better to be a “Negro” than a Catalan. Pablo’s voice calls out that there is too much noise. Rafael starts in on another song but Pilar tells him to save it and he stops.
Robert Jordan sees Rafael walk over to a tree, and he approaches Rafael. He knows that Rafael has been affected by the wine and absinthe. Rafael asks Robert Jordan why he did not kill Pablo when he had the chance. Robert Jordan asks why he should kill him, and Rafael points out to him that he will have to kill Pablo eventually. When Robert Jordan asks him if he is being serious, Rafael says that all the others were waiting for him to shoot. Robert Jordan tells him that if this is the case, then they should be the ones to kill him. Rafael says that this is Robert Jordan’s business, and Pablo has no friends. Robert Jordan tells Rafael that he did not kill Pablo because he feared that it would bother the other men and the women. Rafael again urges him to kill Pablo, but Robert Jordan says that this would be an assassination and the idea is repugnant to him. Rafael suggests that he then provoke Pablo into an argument and then kill him. He repeatedly tells Robert Jordan to kill Pablo and not wait until it becomes too difficult. Either provoke Pablo into an argument or take advantage now of the quiet. They overhear a man’s heavy voice. It is Pablo. He approaches Robert Jordan and tells him not to pay attention to Pilar. She has a great love for the Republic and is a good woman. However, they should not have any difficulties but work together. He then goes off to check on the horses.
Rafael points out to Robert Jordan that he again missed an opportunity to shoot Pablo. The gypsy then says he will go down to prevent Pablo from taking a horse and leaving. Robert Jordan suggests he go talk to Agustin, as Pablo will most likely go by him if he leaves. Alone, Robert Jordan reflects on his duties. He is tired, but he must blow up the bridge. He believes it would still be wrong for him to kill Pablo because he has come there to help with the insurrection. He sees that without Pilar there would be no organization in the camp. He...
(The entire section is 510 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
Robert Jordan goes back into the cave, sits, and listens to Pilar. She is washing dishes while Maria dries them and puts them away in a shelf dug into the cave wall. Pilar says it is strange that El Sordo has not come, as he comes every evening. Robert Jordan says that perhaps he is doing some work. Pilar agrees that this is a possibility, but if he does not come the next day they must go to see him. She says that it will not be a long trip, but it will be good for exercise. Maria asks if she may go as well, and Pilar gives permission.
Pilar asks Robert Jordan if he thinks that Maria is pretty or if she is too thin. Robert Jordan replies that she is “very well.” Maria gives him a cup of wine, telling him to drink and she will become even better. Robert Jordan says he had better stop drinking then, because she already seems beautiful and more. Pilar is pleased with this remark and tells Robert Jordan that he is one of the “good ones.” She asks him to speak further of Maria’s qualities. Stumblingly he says she is intelligent. Maria giggles and Pilar is disappointed. He started out well but ended lamely. She refers to him as “Don Roberto,” but he asks her to not do this. When she says she was only joking, he says he does not believe it is a matter to joke about. The only title he will accept is “camarada,” or “comrade.” He does not joke about politics. Maria speculates that Robert Jordan is a Communist, but he says he is simply an anti-Fascist and has been for ten years. Pilar says she has been one for twenty years. Maria tells him that her father was shot for being a Republican. Robert Jordan says that his father was a Republican as well, even serving on the Republican National Committee. Maria says that America is a country of Republicans so there is no danger. When Pilar asks him if his father is still active in the “Republic,” Robert Jordan tells her that he is dead, having shot himself. She asks if was to avoid being tortured. Robert Jordan says it was, but it is not the type of torture the Spanish woman means. He changes the topic.
Pilar says that Robert Jordan and Maria are like brother and sister, but it is probably good that they are not. Robert Jordan brushes Maria’s hair back, which she enjoys. Pilar remarks that they are getting her aroused, to the point that she would even be glad when Pablo returns. When Maria leaves, Robert Jordan tells Pilar that Rafael says he should have shot...
(The entire section is 479 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
Robert Jordan awakens outside in his sleeping robe (sleeping bag). He rolls on his pistol, which he adjusts out of his way to the front. He is confused as to where he is, then he feels a hand on his shoulder. He turns with the pistol in his hand under the robe. He relaxes when he sees it is Maria, and he pulls her down.
He tells her to get in because it is cold, but she says that she must not. He tells her again to get in and they will talk about it later. Robert Jordan holds Maria tightly with his arm and tries to kiss her, but she turns away. He tells her again to get in to the sleeping bag, but she says that she is afraid. He offers to help her, but she refuses his help and climbs into the bag. He tries to kiss her, but she shivers against him. He laughs and tells her that what she feels is just his pistol. He moves it behind him.
Maria tells him that she is ashamed and frightened. She says she must not have sex with him unless he loves her. He assures her that he does. She says she loves him and asks him to but his hand on her head as he did previously. He does so, and suddenly she presses her face against him and begins to cry. She tells him that she does not know how to kiss. Robert Jordan says that she does not need to kiss if she does not want to, but she says she must do everything. They undress and she asks if she may go with him as Pilar said. She wants to go to his home, but he tells her that he has no home. She wants to go with him and be his woman.
Robert Jordan asks Maria if she has loved others, to which she replies that she never has. However, she was raped many times during her captivity. She turns away, saying that now he will not love her. He assures her that he does, but both know that something has changed between them. She says that even if he does not love her, she wants him to take her to his home. Maria tells him that Pilar has said that if she makes love to a man whom she loves it will wipe out all the memory and the shame of the rapes. She says she has never kissed a man, and Robert Jordan shows her how. She is now ready, and they make love.
(The entire section is 434 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
During the night Robert Jordan wakes up to feel Maria beside him. However, when he awakens in the morning she is gone. He sees Pablo come out of the woods, probably checking on the horses. He sleeps some more until he hears airplanes flying overhead. He sees many planes flying in groups of three. Pablo and Rafael stand at the entrance to the cave, watching the planes pass. Robert Jordan knows that the pilots can probably see the horses if they look.
Robert Jordan gets dressed then slips along the tall rocks to reach the cave entrance. He asks Pablo if planes have flown over this location before; Pablo says there have never been this many. Robert Jordan knows this means the situation is bad. He times them to see in what direction they are going to drop bombs, but he hears nothing. He decides that there is no way that the Fascists flying the planes could know of the coming Republican attack.
Robert Jordan summons Anselmo to him. He tells Anselmo to go to a spot to watch the road and keep track of whatever passes along it. Anselmo tells him that he cannot write, so Robert Jordan shows him a way to keep tallies of the passing vehicles. He tells him to take Rafael with him. He has Anselmo send Rafael to him. The gypsy grins at him and asks if he “diverted” himself the night before. Robert Jordan tells him that he slept, but Rafael knows better. Robert Jordan gives him directions, telling him to watch the sentries at the bridge to determine the length of their guarding intervals and when they change guards. He gives Rafael his watch, and the gypsy begins to joke around, which annoys Robert Jordan. He tells him to be serious, but Rafael objects that he should be serious after what Robert Jordan and Maria did the night before. He tells the American that he was supposed to kill a man (meaning Pablo), not make one with Maria. He tells him that he is too serious already. Robert Jordan laughs and tells him not to be so serious then. When Rafael asks him what he is going to do, Robert Jordan says that he is going to see El Sordo. As for the planes, he is sure they are going to bomb an airfield.
Another man, Fernando, arrives. He went into La Granja the night before, where some insurgents are working. He tells Robert Jordan that he heard nothing except rumors that the Republic is preparing an offensive, but he does not know where. It is also rumored that the Republicans will try to blow up bridges if there is an...
(The entire section is 504 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
Standing at the entrance to the cave, Robert Jordan and the others watch the Fascist airplanes fly overhead. The planes are flying so low they can see the pilots’ faces and scarves. Pablo fears that they can see his horses, but Pilar says that they can probably see his cigarette butts, so they should come back inside and cover the entrance with the blanket. When they hear no more planes, they leave the cave open.
As they make plans to leave, Pilar asks Robert Jordan if they should ride or walk. He says it is her choice, so she chooses walking because it is good for the liver. Pablo asks Robert Jordan if he wants a horse for himself, but he declines. He asks Maria if she wants a horse, but Pilar says it is better for her to walk because riding will cause her to get stiff “in too many places and serve for nothing.” Robert Jordan blushes at her insinuation. Pilar asks him if he slept well and repeats her earlier pronouncement that Maria has no diseases, though it is a miracle that she escaped catching something from her captors. She asks him if they made love, but he does not reply, so she knows they did. Robert Jordan is concerned that Maria might become pregnant, but Pilar thinks that is the least of their worries. Maria will go with Robert Jordan, though he says that he cannot take a woman where he is going. Pilar reminds him that they are all in this together.
Pilar tells Robert Jordan that she slept with Pablo last night and asked him why he didn’t kill the American. Pablo believes that Robert Jordan is a “good boy.” Later, she heard him crying because all his men left him. Pilar assures him that they are following her and that she is his woman.
Robert Jordan and Pilar talk about faith, women, and the Republic. As Agustin approaches, Robert Jordan goes to Maria. Fernando is sitting at the table. He says he does not like the relationship between Maria and the American, but Pilar assures him that they are now engaged. Fernando and Agustin argue, with the latter’s conversation filled with vulgarity, to which Pilar objects. Pilar tells Agustin that Robert Jordan is very smart. Agustin says he has no confidence in Pablo, but Pilar says she has faith in him for this one mission, even with all his fear.
(The entire section is 409 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
Robert Jordan, Pilar, and Maria stop to rest and to see El Sordo. Robert Jordan asks Pilar if she ever goes to Segovia; Pilar replies that she is too ugly to go there. The others protest, but she insists and asks them to think what it is like to be an ugly woman who feels beautiful inside. She has had many men, she says, but eventually they all see her ugliness.
The conversation changes and they talk of the revolution. Robert Jordan asks Pilar where she was at the start of the movement. Pilar tells him that she was in her town. Robert Jordan asks if that was Avila, since that is where Pablo had said he was from. Pilar says that Pablo lies, that he is from a small town. Pilar is hesitant to talk about what happened there because of its brutality, but Robert Jordan and Maria insist.
The insurrectionists had surrounded the barracks where several Fascists were hiding. Pablo placed dynamite against one wall and gave the Fascists an ultimatum. They refused, and he blew up the building. Two were killed and others wounded or surrendered. Pablo took the four surrendered Fascist guards and had them line up against another wall. He shot them in the back of the head one by one.
When the Republicans won the town, the remaining Fascists were placed in a church along with a priest to give them their last rites. One at a time, the Fascists were brought out and made to run a gauntlet. At first the Republicans were reluctant to beat the Fascists, but by the third one they had become brutal. Using bats and sticks, they beat the men as they ran and eventually threw them off the edge of a cliff. After a while, the Republicans stormed the building, killing the Fascists with bats, sickles, and pitchforks. They hauled the dead and mutilated bodies out into the plaza to throw over the cliff. By this time, many of the Republicans were drunk. Pilar says that she became sickened by the actions of the drunken men. The next time a village is taken, she says, the drunk should be rounded up and disposed of first.
Maria is sickened by this tale and does not want to hear any more. Pilar says she will not tell her about the retaking of the town by the Fascists a few days later because it was even more brutal. Robert Jordan wants to hear but can get Pilar to promise only that she will tell him about it later when Maria cannot hear. Maria laments that there do not seem to be any pleasant things to speak of.
(The entire section is 447 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
Robert Jordan, Maria, and Pilar have reached the camp and are met by Joaquin, a young, friendly guard who knows the women. He determines that Robert Jordan is the dynamiter about whom they have heard so much. He flirts with Maria, recalling the time when he carried her away from the train attack when she was rescued. She does not remember him. Pilar says that Joaquin had wanted to be a bullfighter but failed.
Joaquin explains that he has been part of the Republic since he was sixteen, when he was a shoeshine boy. The Fascists have killed his parents, his sister, and her husband. When Robert Jordan responds, “What barbarians,” he marvels at the number of times he has said this on hearing similar stories. Remembering Pilar’s story of Pablo’s killing of the four guards, he wishes she could write so she could record her memories. He thinks that perhaps he will eventually write it all down. After the war, he believes he will have more perspective. He remembers a Belgian boy who had survived an attack. Afterward, all he did was cry. Pilar, however, was a psychiatrist. He looks at Maria and remembers a fantasy in which he was adored by the actresses Jean Harlow and Greta Garbo.
Joaquin begins to cry as he relates the story of his family’s death. Pilar comforts him, telling him that they are his family now. Robert Jordan agrees, but Joaquin is not comforted. They are joined by an older man. It is El Sordo, the leader of this band of guerillas. He gives them a drink, which El Sordo explains has come from the La Granja. He is very happy that Robert Jordan has come to dynamite the bridge. They discuss the troop movements and the planes. Robert Jordan suggests that they blow up the bridge that night. Although El Sordo agrees this is a good plan, it is not the plan given by the orders of his superiors. They are to wait for the attack to begin and then bomb the bridge. El Sordo asks Pilar how Pablo is. She tells him that Pablo is growing worse every day.
The group discusses where they will go after this mission. Pilar will leave Maria and Robert Jordan to go on alone. She verbally attacks Maria, referring to her as a whore, but she does not mean it. She is jealous that Maria has a man like Robert Jordan, that she is getting old, and that she cannot serve the Republic as she wishes. They all settle down to eat in preparation for what is to come.
(The entire section is 438 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
As Robert Jordan, Maria, and Pilar leave El Sordo, they can tell that the leader is anxious to get rid of them. He answers questions politely but obviously is ready for them to go. Pilar asks Santiago about it, but he assures her that it is all right, though it causes him to think too.
They do not speak as they continue walking down the steep trail to their camp. Robert Jordan notices that Pilar is looking pale. He tells her to rest for a minute, but she refuses. Maria also wants her to stop, and eventually she agrees. She apologizes to Maria for the way she spoke to her previously. Maria says that she does not mind what the older woman says when she is angry, and that she is angry often. Pilar, however, says that it is worse than anger. Maria goes to her and puts her head on her lap. Pilar tells Robert Jordan that he can have Maria in a little while, but Maria asks her not to talk like that. Pilar explains that she has never wanted Robert Jordan, but she is still jealous. She truly wants Maria’s happiness, but she is still jealous. She may be an older woman, and an ugly one in her opinion, but she still desires men.
Pilar tells Maria that she (Maria) is meant for Robert Jordan. She says that few women would come out and admit their jealousy, but Maria begs her not to speak of it. Pilar says she will continue to say it until she no longer wishes to say it. Now she no longer wishes to say it, so she stops. She calls Maria a “little rabbit” because she overheard Robert Jordan call her that. Robert Jordan blushes at being caught in this endearment. Pilar asks him why he says nothing, inquiring if the cat or some other animal has got his tongue. Robert Jordan insists not, that he alone has his tongue. Pilar asks him if he likes the taste of it, and Robert Jordan says not much. He tells Pilar that she is a hard woman. She asks him in return if he is complicated. He says that he is not, nor is he simple. Pilar is pleased with him even though she could not take Maria from him.
Pilar says that she is not like herself that day. The bridge has given her a headache. She says that she will go on and leave Maria and Robert Jordan alone. Robert Jordan is worried because she looked so ill previously, but Maria tells him to let her go ahead.
(The entire section is 437 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
After Pilar leaves, Robert Jordan and Maria make love. Robert Jordan feels the earth move beneath him. Afterward, he asks Maria if the earth moved for her as well, and she admits that it did. Maria regrets that her hair is so short, but Robert Jordan insists that he finds her beautiful.
They continue walking down the mountain. Robert Jordan reflects on his future. He ponders the possibility of marrying Maria. He does not know where they will live, however. He has difficulty seeing her as a professor’s wife in an American college town. He wants to return to teaching Spanish in a university but wonders if he will be able to get a position now that he has fought with the Communists in the Spanish Civil War. He fears he may be blacklisted. He thinks about his political views and realizes that he no longer has any. He is fighting for the Communists because he likes their discipline. But when the war is over, he will not consider himself a Communist.
Robert Jordan thinks about the women in his past, of which there have been several. He has not loved any one as he loves Maria. But he realizes that the intensity of his passion may be short-lived. He thinks it might simply be because Pilar pushed Maria into his arms, though he realizes that he was attracted to her from his first sight of her. Maria brings his attention back to the present, stating that she wants to learn the little things required if she wants to be his woman. He insists that she does not need to learn all that, but she says she must.
As they continue down the mountain, they see Pilar sitting against a tree with her head on her arms. They rush down, but she insists that she was only sleeping. Pilar begins to press Maria for information about her love-making experience with Robert Jordan, who becomes angry with her and wants to slap her. Maria repeatedly refuses to answer her questions but at last tells her that she felt the earth move. Pilar also drags this information out of Robert Jordan. She tells him that such experiences occur only three times in one’s life. Robert Jordan realizes that Pilar is trying to keep her hold on life through Maria. He contemplates pursuing a formal study of women, starting with Pilar. He tells her that he is tired of all her mysteries. He also tells her to leave Maria alone. Looking up at the sky, Pilar predicts snow even though it is late in May.
(The entire section is 434 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
By the time Robert Jordan, Maria, and Pilar return to the camp, it has begun to snow. Pablo predicts a significant snowstorm. Robert Jordan asks him if Rafael has yet returned, but he has not. He asks Pablo to go with him to the upper post, but Pablo says he will have no part of this bombing mission. He warns the American that he might miss the post, but Robert Jordan says that Anselmo is waiting for him. Pablo says that the snowstorm may delay the offensive. They go into the cave where Maria is cooking on the fire. Pablo and Robert Jordan drink a toast to the snow. Pablo tells Robert Jordan that it will be cold sleeping outside in the snow, but Robert Jordan knows that his sleeping robe is filled with eiderdown and has kept him warm on many snowy nights.
Pablo bosses Maria around, telling her to wipe of the table, but she ignores him. Robert Jordan begins to be filled with rage at Pablo but manages to keep it subdued. Pablo predicts that the snow will last for several days. He begins a story about his first meeting with Pilar. He was taking care of the horses of a matador, and Pilar was the matador’s woman. The matador, Finito, was small, which to Pablo made it seem unlikely that he would have any success in the ring. Inwardly, Pilar despises Pablo for his prejudice against Finito. She had stayed with him even when he became drunk and objectionable at a dinner given in his honor. She took care of him, nursing his wounds from the bull fights. She stayed with him until he died. After the funeral, Pilar took up with Pablo.
Rafael returns to the cave, covered with snow. He tells Robert Jordan that the watches at the bridge are in six-hour increments, with two men at a time on the bridge. There are eight men and a corporal at the road mender’s hut. From what he could tell, these are the only Fascists guarding the bridge. Anselmo is at the sawmill, keeping watch on it as well as the road. Nothing much has changed. Robert Jordan gets his coat, ready to go for Anselmo. Rafael says he plans on staying by the fire. He tells one of the other men in the cave where Anselmo is located so that he can guide Robert Jordan there.
(The entire section is 404 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
Anselmo stands on the downwind side of a tree, trying to stay warm during the snowstorm. He has seen nothing unusual and considers returning to the cave. It is getting colder, and he must leave soon or he will freeze. As he waits, he hears the sound of a motorcar. It is camouflaged and carries a member of the general staff of the Fascist party, but he does not know this. He simply marks down the car as Robert Jordan instructed him. He has not differentiated between the military cars and the civilian, which Robert Jordan probably would have appreciated. All Anselmo has is the number of cars that have passed on the road.
It is now so cold that Anselmo considers that he must go back to the cave before nightfall. He has no fear of getting lost, but he is concerned that Robert Jordan will do so if he comes to get him. He abides by his orders until further notice. He watches the sawmill and contemplates the warmth that is enjoyed by the men inside. He remembers the first time that he killed a man, in Otero. Pablo threw bombs inside the room where the men were sitting. This was in Pablo’s heyday, which has now ended.
Inside the sawmill, the soldiers discuss the May snowstorm. They talk of their part in the war, especially their current guard duty. They would not mind staying in this spot, but they would like shorter rotations. They are confident that their side will win.
Back at the tree, Anselmo hopes that he does not have to kill anyone. He regrets not being able to say prayers now that he has lost his faith. He thinks there must be some type of confession after the war so he can achieve some type of civic cleansing. He is glad that his wife died before the war began, and he regrets not having had children. He experiences intense loneliness, especially in the nighttime.
Robert Jordan and Fernando (the man who comes with him in place of Rafael) come to get Anselmo. They take him back to the cave, to warmth and food. Anselmo tells Robert Jordan that there has not been much action. Anselmo is glad he stayed at his post. Fernando is very quiet. Robert Jordan asks him what he is thinking about. Fernando replies that he is thinking of supper, eager even for Pilar’s “average” cooking. Robert Jordan considers him a second Calvin Coolidge because of his lack of communication.
(The entire section is 421 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
As Robert Jordan, Anselmo, and Fernando come into the cave out of the storm, Pilar tells Robert Jordan that El Sordo had been there, bringing him a bottle of whiskey. Robert Jordan ponders the difference between two kinds of Europeans: the French would have stayed to share a first drink, leaving what was left to him; the Spaniards leave the whole bottle when they cannot stay. With much bickering between Maria and Pilar, the women provide warm food and clothes for the three men. Pablo is being insulting. Robert Jordan wants Maria to eat with the men, but she says that she and Pilar will eat afterward.
Pablo asks Robert Jordan about Montana, whether that is the place where men wear skirts. Robert Jordan corrects him, telling him that is Scotland, but Pablo continues to badger him. Primitivo, one of the other men, politely asks him about mountains and farms. Robert Jordan explains the homesteading act, that a farmer can earn free land by living on and improving it. The men want to know if there are large landowners and what danger they pose. Robert Jordan explains that inheritance tax and income tax laws are meant to level the differences in income. Primitivo asks if there will be fighting in Montana between the government and the large landowners, and Robert Jordan says there might be.
Pablo, now significantly drunk, says that he regrets killing the Fascists in his village. If he could, he would go back and raise them from the dead. The talk turns to Robert Jordan’s original purpose in coming to Spain, to learn the language and the country because he is a Spanish instructor in a university. Pablo says he must be a fake professor since he has no beard. He continues badgering Robert Jordan until the American decides he must provoke Pablo into an argument so he can kill him. However, Pablo is not provoked. Agustin tries to provoke him, but Pablo still resists. Agustin slaps then hits him in the mouth. Still he remains calm. He decides to go to check on his horses. Agustin calls him a horse lover and suggests that he go have sex with his horses. Pablo says that his horses have more sense than the men there. They are led by a woman with her brain between her legs, and now a foreigner (Robert Jordan) has come to destroy them. Pilar shouts at him, telling him to get out. He leaves but promises to return shortly.
(The entire section is 417 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
After Pablo leaves, the others talk about what to do with him. Pilar tells Robert Jordan that now he has seen how Pablo truly is. Robert Jordan asks what he will do, and Pilar tells him that Pablo is capable of doing anything. Robert Jordan asks where the automatic rifle is; it is wrapped in a blanket in the corner. Pilar says that Pablo would not touch the rifle—bombs are more his style.
Rafael says that it was idiocy and weakness in Robert Jordan to not kill him the previous night. Pilar states that she is now in favor of Pablo being killed, as is Agustin. Each person is given a chance to give his opinion. Only Fernando asks if it is possible to hold him as a prisoner. This is impractical because it would take two men to stand guard over him, and they do not have the extra men. Rafael suggests selling him to the Fascists, but this idea is distasteful to everyone. Pilar warns them that if they keep on talking they will give Pablo the opportunity to destroy them all. Rafael then suggests turning Pablo over to El Sordo and having him sell Pablo to the Fascists. Pilar tells him to shut up, that she is feeling against him now too. Primitivo says that the Fascists will pay nothing and will shoot whomever hands Pablo over to them as well. In the end, everyone agrees that Pablo presents a significant danger to the Republic and must be killed. Robert Jordan volunteers to do it. Maria agrees, but Pilar tells her that she has no voice in this matter. Robert Jordan says he will kill Pablo that night.
The blanket covering the entrance is lifted and Pablo enters. Everyone stops talking. He grins and asks if they were talking about him. No one answers. He tells Maria to get him some wine. Robert Jordan pulls Agustin to one side and warns him to be careful about provoking Pablo. They return to the group, where Pablo is saying that the snow is decreasing. He then tells the group that he is now in favor of dynamiting the bridge. Pilar guesses that he had overheard their plotting to kill him. He says that previously he had been drunk but now has changed his mind. Agustin goes outside, despite the storm, because he says he cannot stay in this insane asylum.
(The entire section is 402 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
With Pablo’s change of mind concerning the mission to blow up the bridge, Robert Jordan feels as if he is on a merry-go-round, and not a pleasant one. There are no prizes, and no one would choose to go on this ride. When it is over, you are right back where you started.
As the storm dies down, Robert Jordan works on his plans to blow up the bridge. When he finishes, he regrets ever having wasted time on Pablo. His meeting Maria has changed everything. He contemplates going to Madrid after the war for a few days’ vacation. He thinks of staying at the Florida Hotel and dining at Gaylord’s, where many Russian expatriates hang out. When he first joined the guerrilla forces, it was at Gaylord’s that he gained insider information that led to his becoming a demolitions expert. Many of the Spanish leaders of the Republic were trained in the Soviet Union. He learned that many of them were not peasants as they pretended to be. He reflects that, if the Republican troops were indeed led by peasants, they would all be like Pablo and good for nothing. Still, the leaders’ attempts to deceive their followers as to their true origin bothered Robert Jordan.
Robert Jordan thinks about taking Maria to Gaylord’s and realizes that this would be impossible. He would get a separate room for her at the Florida. He would go to Gaylord’s on his own and then come back to her. He thinks of Karkov, the Soviet journalist he met at Gaylord’s. Karkov had a wife, perhaps another one, and a mistress. All were agreeable women, which showed Karkov’s excellent taste in ladies. Karkov had been responsible for some of the Russians in Madrid. If the city fell to the Fascists, Karkov was to kill them. He would make sure that the bodies could not be identified as Russians. This reminds Robert Jordan of an attack on Madrid. He was pulling a body out of a car. When the man’s comrade told him to go help a third man, a British economist interrupted him. Robert Jordan was not impressed by the man’s airs. Karkov had told him about the economist previously. Karkov had also suggested that Robert Jordan should write more. He read the one book he had published and liked its style. Robert Jordan planned to write another book when the war was over.
(The entire section is 410 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
Maria sees Robert Jordan sitting quietly and asks him what he is doing. He says that he has been thinking, not of the bridge but of her and a hotel in Madrid. She asks him if there are many Russians in Madrid, and he says there are very few. Maria objects, saying that the fascist periodicals say there are hundreds of thousands there, but Robert Jordan says these are lies.
Maria says she liked Kashkin, the Russian she had most recently known, though she does not remember him well. All she remembers is that he was beautiful and brave. Pilar says he was not beautiful at all, while Robert Jordan says that he was a great friend. Pilar points out that Robert Jordan shot Kashkin. All the others stop what they are doing and stare at Robert Jordan, who now wishes that he had not told this to Pilar while they were at El Sordo’s. He says that he shot Kashkin at his own request because he was badly wounded. Rafael, on hearing of the manner of Kashkin’s death, said that the Russian had mentioned this possibility several times when he was in the camp. Rafael had promised to shoot him if came to that point. Andres, one of the other men, asks Robert Jordan if he believes it is possible to know of his impending death. The American does not believe this or any other superstition.
The talk turns to Pilar’s ability to read people’s fortunes in their palms. Robert Jordan is deaf to all this possibility, she says, and she is convinced she saw death in Kashkin’s face. What is more, she smelt the smell of death. She tells about a matador that she knew on whom a certain Blanquet smelled death. No one believed him but the matador died in the bull ring. Robert Jordan asks Pablo what he thinks about this. Pablo is uncertain, though he does know that Pilar can tell certain forthcoming events.
Fernando asks Pilar what death smells like. She says that first he must imagine the smell of the hold of a ship locked up for a storm. Then imagine the breath and taste of the mouths of old women who drink the blood of the animal sacrifices. Next he should think of the smell of a bucket full of dead flowers. Next go to the place where homeless prostitutes sell themselves, lying on dead flower beds, and smell the scent of the wet earth, the dead flowers, and the sex. All this is the smell of death. Pilar says Kashkin smelled like this when she saw him. Robert Jordan says that it is then a good thing that he shot him. He goes to the cave...
(The entire section is 470 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
Ready to bed down for the night, Robert Jordan prepares his sleeping spot by cutting down some pine boughs, spreading them on the snow, and securing them with a log and a plank he takes from inside the cave. Pilar objects that he has destroyed her new-made shelves. Robert Jordan apologizes, but Pilar says there are more planks at the sawmill. When she asks him what type of bed he has made, Robert Jordan replies that it is made in the style of his country. He asks her if there will not be sentries now that the storm is over. Pilar tells him that Fernando will stand sentry, so Robert Jordan bids them all good-night. Pilar asks him if he would like to take a sheep hide for his bed, but he declines.
Fernando goes out into the night with Robert Jordan, telling him that he has strange ideas to sleep outside on such a night. Robert Jordan answers that he is accustomed to it. He asks Fernando when he is relieved from guard duty. Fernando tells him at four o’clock. When Robert Jordan states that it will be very cold between then and four, Fernando teasingly says he is accustomed to it.
Robert Jordan places his sleeping robe on the pine boughs, undresses, and waits for Maria. He thinks about Pilar and her scent of death. To eradicate that from his mind, he concentrates on the scents of the pine trees. He remembers the smells of his youth in Montana, with the cattle, wood smoke, and the burning autumn leaves. It is the odor of nostalgia, he believes.
He sees someone come out of the cave, look around, then go back in. He prays that Maria will come out soon rather than wait until the rest are asleep. Not long after, he sees her come running barefoot through the snow, wearing only a chemise that she calls her wedding shirt. He recognizes it from the night before. She begs him to tell her again how much he loves her. She states that she loves him too and that she is his wife. They undress and hold each other close in the cold. Soon they make love, and afterward Maria cuddles against him. She apologizes for saying that making love to him was like moving into death, but he knows what she meant. They soon go to sleep. When Robert Jordan awakens in the night, he holds her tightly, but she does not wake up. He kisses her neck, pulls his pistol up closer to his side, and thinks throughout the night.
(The entire section is 433 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
Robert Jordan awakens to feel a warm wind blowing. The snow is melting quickly and will most likely be gone by noon. He hears the sound of a horse approaching. He tells Maria to hide under the robe. Robert Jordan sees the horseman coming through the trees and aims his pistol at him. It is not a man he recognizes. He is wearing a khaki beret, a blanket cape, black boots, and a medal on his chest. Robert Jordan aims at the medal and fires. The horse rears, throwing off its rider and dragging him through the snow, leaving a bloody streak behind.
Robert Jordan tells Maria to get dressed quickly as the others come out of the cave. He tells Primitivo to catch the horse and asks who was supposed to be on guard. Pilar tells him it was supposed to be Agustin. Robert Jordan tells Anselmo to take two other men and ride up to where Agustin was told to stand guard. Primitivo brings the horse and the body back to camp.
Robert Jordan feels Maria against his knees, dressing under the robe. He realizes she has no place in his life now.
He knows that the Fascist patrol will miss the dead man and come looking for him, following the tracks to the camp. Hopefully the snow will melt first, or else something will happen to the patrol. He tells Pablo to get down below, then he gets the submachine gun. He tells Pablo he will take it up to Agustin. Pablo is to ride the horse away from the camp to confuse the patrol, should it come. Pablo says it is better not to make more tracks in the snow in case the planes come. Robert Jordan tells Fernando to take care of the bags with the explosives.
Turning, Robert Jordan sees Maria standing with Pilar. She comes running up the trail. She asks Robert Jordan if she can go with him, but he tells her she cannot. She offers to hold the legs of the submachine gun, but again Robert Jordan tells her she cannot go with him. He tells her to stay and take good care of her wedding shirt. She begs him to kiss her, but he refuses. She asks him if he noticed that the medal the Fascist rider wore was a Sacred Heart, which he did. She asks him to tell her that he loves her. He tells her that he will not. He tells her to go back, but she again begs him to let her go with him. She badgers him, but he refuses to give in. Robert Jordan leaves along with Primitivo, who says that if her hair were not so short she would be a pretty girl. Robert Jordan is thinking of something else, however. Primitivo asks how...
(The entire section is 498 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
Robert Jordan arrives at the gun position and is not pleased with what he sees. He tells Primitivo to cut him some branches to create a blind. Agustin is told to move the gun to a different place farther out. Anselmo is sent down to the cave to retrieve an axe.
Robert Jordan asks Agustin if they never had a proper placement for the gun; Agustin replies that no one ever showed them how to place it. It was simply brought up by porters and left. Robert Jordan is disgusted with the way this insurgency is being run. Agustin says that they have experimented with the gun and even took it apart, but they had difficulty putting it back together for two days. Now they leave it alone. Robert Jordan points out to them how the gun is useless in its present position. Agustin understands but reminds the American that the insurgents have never fought in defense except in their own town. Robert Jordan understands and tells him that they will learn together.
Robert Jordan sees Pablo riding down the slope and disappearing into the trees. Robert Jordan hopes he doesn’t run right into the cavalry. Primitivo brings branches, which they use to hide the gun. Robert Jordan warns them to lie down flat if they hear a plane approaching.
Robert Jordan makes a count of the people in the camp; there are ten. He fears that the horse tracks in the snow will reveal El Sordo’s location to the Fascist planes overhead. Hopefully the snow will melt fast, though he is sure the tracks were spotted the day before. He prays that there will be no fighting this day. They may be able to hold out if the attacks wait until tomorrow, but they are unprepared at the moment. He muses that the bridge will be easy to destroy, although he had worried about this previously. He has little concern for the well-being of Pablo, who should be able to take care of himself.
Rafael finally arrives at the gun position, carrying two hares he caught as they were mating. Robert Jordan tries to make him see how irresponsible he was to leave his post and let the cavalry ride through without warning, but the gypsy is more interested in his catch. Robert Jordan watches two crows overhead in case a signal from them will indicate the approach of someone. He feels Rafael is worthless as a soldier but is needed for the next day. He tells the men signals to use in case of an approach. He reminds them of the importance of the destruction of the bridge: with the bridge...
(The entire section is 483 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
As Robert Jordan sees the crow fly into the tree, he tells Agustin to get down. He also signals to Anselmo, who is bringing more trees to camouflage the gun. He hears nothing and sees nothing, but Primitivo signals with his gun four times. He places his hand on Agustin’s shoulder to hold him back as four horsemen ride into view. The lead rider circles around the tracks in the snow made by Pablo’s horse. Then he points to the opening in the rocks where the gun is hidden.
Robert Jordan is tempted to shoot the four horsemen, but he knows there are probably others close behind these. He feels Agustin start to cough but suppress it. The four men ride off into the timber. Robert Jordan looks behind him to where Anselmo has dropped the tree and lain hidden. He sees Rafael striding toward them and waves him down.
Agustin laments the fact that they did not shoot the four riders, but then Primitivo signals many times with his rifle. As the rest of the cavalry rides up, Robert Jordan considers that Pablo had only forty-five minutes’ head start. The cavalry rides off, as did the other four horsemen.
Robert Jordan calms Agustin, telling him that if he had fired on the four men, they would have had to deal with the entire cavalry. As Anselmo comes up to them, Robert Jordan tells him that they do not need any more trees. The cavalry might ride back to this site and notice any differences, which would give away the gun’s location. Agustin still regrets not being able to kill the Fascists.
Robert Jordan tells Anselmo to go back to the post from the day before, or another equally likely spot, and report on any movements. After dark, he is to come back into camp and another guard will be sent in his place. Agustin wants to go, but Robert Jordan tells him that he is needed at the gun because he understands it better than anyone else. Anselmo promises to go as soon as the snow melts in the warm sun.
Robert Jordan asks Agustin what he thinks Pablo’s chances are of getting caught. Agustin says that though Pablo is not what he once was, he is still smart. Robert Jordan tells Anselmo that the next day he is to go into La Granja but to remember to eat the papers he carries if he is stopped. They all carry both Republican and Fascist papers, so Anselmo should take care to eat the right ones.
Agustin says that the government is daily moving toward the Right (the Fascist side). They may win the...
(The entire section is 518 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
Robert Jordan and the other men eat breakfast as the warm wind continues to melt the snow. The Spanish are amazed that the American eats onions for breakfast. When Agustin asks if this is a common practice in America, Robert Jordan states that it is looked down upon there. Agustin objects to the smell, but Robert Jordan is in a good mood and is indifferent to his opinion. Agustin says there is a big difference between Robert Jordan and Kashkin, and Robert Jordan agrees: he is alive and Kashkin is dead. As soon as he says this, he regrets it. He does not know why he said something so hateful. Aloud, he says that Kashkin suffered much, whereas he is among those who suffer little.
Agustin says that now Robert Jordan has Maria. He tells the American that Pilar has kept the girl away from the other men but has given her to Robert Jordan almost like a gift. Robert Jordan says that she was given into his care. Agustin asks what his plans are for her after the bridge. Robert Jordan says that she will go with him. Agustin confesses that he loves Maria too, though he has never touched her. He begs Robert Jordan not to treat her badly. Seeing that Agustin is serious, Robert Jordan says that he will marry her. Agustin rejects this, that marriage is not possible during this war. But the intention is what is important. Agustin also tells Robert Jordan that it is no light thing that Maria has slept with him. She is not a whore, despite this.
Robert Jordan has Agustin promise that he will give him his confidence and obey him even though his future orders may appear wrong. Agustin promises his obedience because Robert Jordan was correct about the four horsemen. Agustin says that Pilar and the other men are of great value, that they are dependable. He asks Robert Jordan if their mission to blow up the bridge will be bad, to which the American replies that it might be. All of a sudden, he hears something. He hushes Agustin and they hear the sound of automatic rifle fire. Robert Jordan looks up at Primitivo above them. He also has heard it. Robert Jordan tells Agustin that there is fighting at El Sordo’s camp. When Agustin suggests that they go up to help him, Robert Jordan says they will stay where they are.
(The entire section is 406 words.)
Chapter 25 Summary
As they listen to the attack on El Sordo’s camp, Primitivo does not understand why Robert Jordan has commanded them to remain where they are. The American tells him to stay with the gun and not to fire unless the troops come straight toward them. Primitivo tries to argue in favor of aiding El Sordo. Robert Jordan brushes him off and says he will explain his decision later. He tells Anselmo to stay with Agustin and the gun, holding its legs should Agustin need to fire. Anselmo agrees and asks about his mission to La Granja. Robert Jordan tells him it will wait until later.
Primitivo cries out again against the attack on El Sordo. Robert Jordan insists that they will do nothing. He has expected this attack since the morning. El Sordo’s men went to steal horses, and the Fascists followed their tracks in the snow. When Primitivo pleads to go to their aid, Robert Jordan says they are lost and it would be a mistake to divide the force they have remaining. Primitivo asks if he can go up with someone else and the small machine gun. Robert Jordan says it will be useless. The sound of firing doubles in intensity, and Primitivo is beside himself with frustration.
Pilar climbs up to the men. Robert Jordan tells her what is happening in El Sordo’s camp. Pilar expresses pity for the men. She says Rafael told her there were massive cavalry troops but she dismissed his tale as an exaggeration. Robert Jordan asks if she has packed; she has. He tells her that Pablo is about forty minutes ahead of the cavalry. Pilar expresses her conviction that he will not be seen. Robert Jordan tells Pilar that Primitivo wanted to go up to help El Sordo. Pilar tells Primitivo that he is crazy, that he would only die quickly with them. She is contemptuous of the men’s exaggeration of the importance of the passing of the cavalry. She says the impression of so little an event is the product of inaction.
Robert Jordan hears an airplane overhead. It is moving in the direction of El Sordo’s camp. They all keep down as they watch the plane circle twice and then fly off toward Segovia. Pilar apologizes to Primitivo for belittling him in his fear. Robert Jordan tells Pilar to keep Maria in the cave. She agrees and says she will send Rafael to find some mushrooms to cook with his hares. They listen as the sound of gunfire decreases. Robert Jordan says that it is not over but El Sordo and his men are surrounded. He asks Pilar if she brought him...
(The entire section is 469 words.)
Chapter 26 Summary
Robert Jordan sits shirtless in the sun, enjoying the warming rays after the snow. It is now three o’clock in the afternoon, and all the snow had melted by noon. No more horses had appeared. There is only sporadic gunfire from El Sordo’s camp. He is reading the letters found in the pockets of the soldier he killed that morning.
Robert Jordan learns that the soldier was from the village of Tafalla in Navarra (a region in northern Spain) and was twenty-one years old. He was unmarried and was the son of a blacksmith. He belonged to a regiment that Robert Jordan had believed still remained in the north. He was a Carlist (a traditionalist, monarchist faction) and had been wounded early in the war.
The first letter that Robert Jordan reads is from the man’s sister. She gives details of local happenings, including that ten men from Tafalla have been killed. She is proud of her brother in his fight against the Marxist forces. She reminds her brother of his protection by the saints.
The second letter is from his fiancée, who is concerned for his safety. After Robert Jordan reads this very personal letter, he reads no more. Cynically, he thinks to himself that he has done his good deed for the day. He asks Primitivo if he wants to read the letters, but the Spaniard says he cannot read. Robert Jordan gives Primitivo a general account of the contents of the letters, but he is waging an internal battle with himself.
Robert Jordan mentally apologizes to the dead youth. He hopes that will do some good, but he knows it does not. He asks himself how many he has killed. He does not know. He asks if he has a right to kill anyone. He decides that he does not. Not all those he has killed have been real Fascists; in fact, he only knows of two who were Fascists. He decides that no man has a right to kill anyone unless it is to prevent something worse happening to others. He refuses to keep count, but he has no right to forget those whom he has killed.
He asks himself if he has a right to love Maria. He decides that he does despite his purpose of establishing a purely materialistic conception of society; love is in no way materialistic. He wonders what it is like at El Sordo’s camp. He considers what it would be like to surrender once you have been surrounded. He then hears the approach of planes.
(The entire section is 430 words.)
Chapter 27 Summary
On the hilltop, El Sordo and his men are surrounded but making a valiant defense. His horse had been hit, so he rode it to a place between two rocks, shot it, and used it as a barrier over which to fire. Of the five men who made it to the hilltop, three are wounded. El Sordo has been shot once in the leg and twice in the arm.
The five men are spread out along the hilltop. The teenager, Joaquin, has used his helmet to dig a small trench for protection. He recites Communist slogans: “Hold out and fortify, and you will win” and “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” One of the other guerrillas tells him that their Soviet leaders have their sons safely hiding in Russia rather than fighting in Spain. Joaquin does not believe it.
El Sordo believes that, as long as he has four men, he can hold out unless the Fascists bring up a trench mortar. He thinks of the young lieutenant he shot who had led the advance up the hill. He admires the men’s bravery; he can tell they will not attack until the planes come. One of the other men curses Pilar for not coming to assist them. El Sordo reflects that he is not afraid to die, as seems likely, but he is angry at being trapped on the hilltop. He hears the men below tell them to surrender before the planes blow them to pieces. This strikes El Sordo as amusing, and he laughs.
Below on the slope, the Fascist Captain Mora sees no movement above. The other officers wonder if the guerrillas are all dead. The planes should have come an hour previously, and it is still an hour before the mortar is expected to arrive. Lieutenant Berrenda looks at the body of Julian on the hillside. Captain Mora tells a young officer to go up to the hilltop, but he refuses unless it is a direct order. Berrenda agrees, thinking the silence might be a trap. Captain Mora stands up, waves his arms, and shouts to the guerrillas to shoot him. Above, El Sordo just laughs. Captain Mora continues to shout profanities, which bothers Berrenda, who is a devout Catholic. He does not want that kind of language on their consciences at this time, when they might die soon. El Sordo shoots the jumping Mora just as the planes arrive. As the artillery rains down on them, Joaquin begins to recite the Hail Mary. All of El Sordo’s men on the hilltop are killed, with the exception of Joaquin. The Fascists climb to the top. Berrenda sees Joaquin moving. He shoots him in the back of the head then...
(The entire section is 467 words.)
Chapter 28 Summary
Robert Jordan and Primitivo hear gunfire after the planes go away the first time. Robert Jordan tells himself that the planes most likely bombed the hilltop but did not kill anyone. He repeats this thought to Primitivo. When the gunfire stops, he feels a hollowness in his chest. When the sound of grenades reaches him, he feels some relief. When the silence returns and continues, however, he knows it is all over for El Sordo and his men.
Maria comes up from the camp bringing stew, bread, and wine. She asks what the planes did, and Robert Jordan tells her that it is over. Primitivo says that he cannot eat, but Robert Jordan tells him to eat anyway. He tells Maria that she may stay with him now, but she says that she must return to Pilar, who is giving her instruction. She asks Primitivo if he needs anything from the camp; he does not. He expresses his frustration at not being allowed to go to El Sordo’s aid, but Robert Jordan tells him there was no choice so there is no reason to speak of it.
Maria climbs down the rocks to the camp below as Robert Jordan watches her. An hour later he sees Lieutenant Berrenda and his men riding their horses down the hillside. He notices a bundle with bulges like peas in a pod. He also sees El Sordo’s gun.
Lieutenant Berrenda regrets having to take the heads of the guerrillas. He feels it is a barbarous act, but it had to be done to prove to his superiors that El Sordo was killed. He thinks of his friend Julian, who now lies dead across the back of one of the horses. He begins to pray.
Anselmo also sees the horsemen ride past his spot. He recognizes El Sordo’s gun but he cannot figure out what is in the oddly shaped bundle. When he rides through the hilltop where El Sordo met his death, he finds the decapitated bodies and realizes what the bundle contained. He begins to pray, something that he has not done since the movement first began. He rides down into the camp and is stopped by Fernando, who confirms the deaths of El Sordo and his men. Fernando calls the Fascists barbarians. Anselmo says that they must defeat the barbarians, take away all the artillery, and teach them dignity. Fernando agrees. Anselmo leaves him and goes down to the cave.
(The entire section is 411 words.)
Chapter 29 Summary
Anselmo enters the cave to find Robert Jordan and Pablo sitting at the table and drinking wine. Pilar is keeping Maria at the back of the cave so she will not overhear what the men are saying. Anselmo relates what he saw up on the hilltop: six people dead and decapitated. Robert Jordan just nods; Pablo says nothing. Robert Jordan invites Anselmo to sit with them. He gives him a cup of wine, which burns as it goes down. The second cup goes down more smoothly. Although he wants a third cup, Robert Jordan tells him the remaining wine is for the next day.
Robert Jordan asks Anselmo for a report of what he saw that day. Anselmo gives him a detailed report, mostly from memory, of every vehicle that passed on the road near his post. He tells of seeing the cavalry carrying the bundle of heads as well as El Sordo’s gun.
Robert Jordan asks Anselmo who other than him has crossed the lines to the side of the Republic (they are currently behind enemy lines). Anselmo tells him that Andres and Eladio have, though Andres is the better of the two. Robert Jordan learns that it would take Andres three hours to cross, provided he is not overburdened or stopped. He says he will write a dispatch for Andres to take across the line and deliver to General Golz.
He tells Anselmo that Golz will be at the Estado Mayor of the Division. Such military sounding words confuse Anselmo, and he tells Robert Jordan they are sure to confuse Andres as well. Robert Jordan explains that the Estado Mayor was selected by the General after Robert Jordan left him. All Andres has to do is to ask around and it will be easy for him to find the headquarters.
Robert Jordan tells Anselmo that he will write out the dispatch and stamp it with a seal. He explains that the seal will be honored by the Republicans. He sends Anselmo to fetch Andres so he can explain all this to him. Anselmo reminds him that he will have to explain the plan very carefully to Andres, who understands military terms even less than he does.
As Robert Jordan writes out the dispatch, Pablo tells him not to give up hope. Robert Jordan barely listens. In the dispatch, he is explaining to Golz that the situation has changed and that the attack should be called off. Robert Jordan’s orders were to blow up the bridge after the attack had begun. If the attack does not happen, he will not have to blow up the bridge. When he is finished, he asks Pablo what he was saying....
(The entire section is 466 words.)
Chapter 30 Summary
At the end of the evening, Robert Jordan gives his mind to reflection of his situation. Andres had been sent off three hours previously with the dispatch. Everyone else knows what his job is the next morning. Either the attack will happen or it will not. Robert Jordan knows that Golz is not in a position to call off the attack by his own authority. That power resides in Madrid. Someone will have to be sent there with the dispatch so they can make the decision by morning.
Robert Jordan’s mind goes back and forth between possibilities. He worries that the planes were just a decoy, that the main attack would be further south. The troops from Italy were supposed to be landing, but there will not be enough for a two-front offensive. In the midst of his worry, Robert Jordan thinks of all the times that miracles have happened and things have gone the way of the Republicans. He realizes that he must give up worrying because the choice is not his to make. All he has to do is to follow orders. He must not give in to worry or fear.
The thought of fear makes him think again of the heads the Fascists carried down from the hilltop following their attack on El Sordo’s post. He thinks that, despite the presence of fear, he has done well, at least for a Spanish professor from Montana. He thinks of another leader, Duran, who was a composer with no military training. He has been reading about war since his childhood. His grandfather had fought in the American Civil War and had interested young Robert in the military. He thinks about meeting Duran at the restaurant Gaylord’s after the war. Then he almost resigns himself to the idea that, for him, there will not be an end to war.
He pushes this thought aside and thinks about the Indians that his grandfather killed. This is no different from that, he tells himself. He thinks of the saber and the pistol that belonged to his grandfather. His father had used the pistol to end his own life. After the funeral, the pistol was returned to him, but he threw it into a lake. He kept the saber, however. His grandfather did not like to talk about his experiences killing people. Robert Jordan wishes that there had not been such a time difference separating them because he would like to talk to him about his current experiences.
Robert Jordan resigns himself to the fact that he does not want to be a soldier. He understands and forgives his father for committing suicide, yet he...
(The entire section is 481 words.)
Chapter 31 Summary
That night, their last night at the camp, Robert Jordan and Maria sleep together again. Maria tells him she is sore from their previous lovemaking and does not think she would now be “any good” to him. She thinks it might have something to do with the gang rapes she experienced while she was held hostage. Robert Jordan does not want to talk about it, and he thinks it is not a good sign for their last night that they cannot make love. He tells her it is good enough just to hold her, but he feels it is a lie told out of his disappointment.
Maria tells Robert Jordan of her fear of what will happen the next day. He says there is no reason to fear, that he has been in many situations worse than this—but this also is a lie. He begins to talk of their projected journey to Madrid after the war. He tells her of his plan to leave her at the hotel while he investigates the Russians, but he has changed his mind. He will take her wherever he goes. She says that she would rather stay in the hotel and send out for clothes. Robert Jordan promises her many new clothes as well as some wine. She says she would like to try whiskey, which he promises to get for her, though he feels it is not good for a woman. Maria retorts that of course she has only had things that were good for a woman, referencing her rape. Robert Jordan says that they will find a doctor in Madrid to fix whatever physical problem she has that is preventing her from enjoying sex. He promises that he will marry her. She speaks of their rejection of the Church in the movement, but he says he still wants to be married in a church.
Maria tells Robert Jordan that Pilar has given her instructions on how to be a good wife for him. She has also told her that they will most likely die the next day and that Robert Jordan knows this. Robert Jordan shrugs it off, but inwardly his fear grows. Maria tells of her experience with the Fascists. Her father had been the mayor of their town. He was a Republican, so he and her mother were shot. Rather than facing execution, Maria was taken to a barbershop and had her hair cut off. Then she was taken to her father’s office where she was raped. She tells Robert Jordan that she most likely cannot bear a son or daughter for him. He tells her that her love is enough for him. Inwardly he rages against the Fascists who did these things to Maria and looks forward to killing some of them the next day. He proclaims that he and Maria are now...
(The entire section is 504 words.)
Chapter 32 Summary
That same night, Karkov arrives in his car at the Hotel Gaylord in Madrid. He is wearing black riding boots, gray riding breeches, and a short jacket. The two sentries at the entrance, who regularly pat down people entering whom they do not know, barely look up when Karkov passes them.
In his apartment, many people are gathered, drinking. Some are in uniform, others are dressed casually. Karkov goes immediately to a woman in a militia uniform. She is his wife, and he says something to her in Russian. Across the room he sees his mistress. He approaches her and greets her warmly. He tells her that all the Republic’s heroes are getting fat. She jokes with him, telling him that he is so ugly he would be jealous of a toad. She asks if she may go to the offensive with him the following day. Karkov says no. He denies that there is an offensive. His mistress tells him that everyone knows about it and that many women are going. He tells her that she can go with anyone she likes. Then he asks who exactly told her. She tells him it was Richard.
Another man comes up to him and asks if he has heard the good news: all day the Fascists have been fighting among themselves near Segovia, bombing their own planes. Delores (La Pasionaria) told the party the news. Karkov cynically tells them man to write an article for Isvestia before he forgets his leading line. The man thinks he is joking, but Karkov is not, so he goes to another room to begin writing the article.
Karkov sees a Hungarian man, about forty-eight years old, dressed in a general’s uniform. He asks him if indeed Delores had been there. She was, the General replies, and the report of her news is true. There is also talk of the attack the following day. The General suggests that all journalists should be shot for spreading the news. Karkov tells him the American, Robert Jordan, is in the highlands where the offensive will take place. The General speculates that he will have a report on it, but he will not get involved because he is unpopular with Golz and his crew. Karkov tells the General that it is said he will be traveling, which makes the General angry at all the gossip. Karkov announces that he is going to get a little sleep, though in a few hours he will be heading up to the front where Golz will be attacking the next morning.
(The entire section is 428 words.)
Chapter 33 Summary
At two o’clock in the morning, Pilar wakes Robert Jordan. At first he thinks it is Maria, but she is asleep beside him. Then he grabs his gun until he sees in the dark that it is Pilar. She tells him that Pablo is gone and that he has taken “something” of Robert Jordan’s. They go into the cave to Pilar’s blanketed off sleeping corner. She shows Robert Jordan his two packs. One pack is slit, and it contains only some wire; the box containing the exploder and the detonators, fuses, and caps are missing. He feels in the other sack. One packet of explosives might be missing from the feel of it.
Robert Jordan expresses contempt for Pilar’s guarding skills. She explains to him that she slept with her head against the sacks and one arm touching them. Pablo had gotten up in the middle of the night to urinate. When Pilar awoke again, he was gone. At first she thought that he had gone down to check on the horses, but he was gone so long she realized he had taken off. She checked the bags and discovered the full enormity of the truth.
Robert Jordan and Pilar go outside. Robert Jordan asks Pilar if Pablo could get out with the horses any other way than by the sentry (who at this time is Eladio). She tells him there are two possible ways. They walk down to where the horses are staked out to feed. There are three horses remaining, but two are gone. Pilar speculates that Pablo has been gone an hour.
Not seeing any chance of catching him, Robert Jordan says he will get what is left of the explosives and go back to bed. Pilar offers to guard them, but Robert Jordan points out that she has failed at that job already. Pilar knows how serious this is and how much she has disappointed the American. She says there is nothing she would not do to get back his property; Pablo has betrayed them both.
Robert Jordan realizes he cannot afford to be angry at Pilar because he has to work with her on this mission. He tells her that all is not lost, that there are ways of improvising. He asks her if Pablo has any caps and fuses. He does. Pilar feels that she has failed both the American and the Republic. She says she is going up to the sentry to see if Eladio has seen anything, but Robert Jordan tells her to go back to bed. They both need their sleep.
(The entire section is 434 words.)
Chapter 34 Summary
Andres passes the Fascist post guarding the crests of the hills on his way to deliver Robert Jordan’s message to Golz containing his advice to cancel the attack. He skillfully maneuvers through the trip wires that could set off guns. He sees the run-down condition of the farm on which the post is set. Unlike the guerrilla fighters, the Fascists do not need the ruined hay and grain. He thinks this will be changed in the morning.
Andres had been glad to take the message because it got him away from camp. He knows he should be back in time for the attack, but he is not sure he wants to go back. Revenge for the death of El Sordo should provide an incentive, but Andres thinks the leader’s death really had nothing to do with them. Andres thinks his reaction to being given the message was similar to the times in his youth when he would be involved in the sport of bull-baiting and he would awaken to find it raining and the bull-baiting cancelled.
Andres had been very brace in those days. He had patiently waited until the bull charged, then he would grab him by the tail and pull him away from the other baiters. He had often been the first of the crowd to engage the bull, biting its ear and bringing it down. The others had joked and teased him, but he knew they had great respect for his bull-baiting abilities. Therefore, every year he had to repeat the same ear-biting stunt. Each time he would feel ashamed, empty, proud, and happy all at the same time. He would not miss it for anything, but he was always relieved when it was cancelled due to rain.
There is no question that he must go back and participate in the attack, Andres thinks. The others are all committed to it, and he cannot let them down. He cannot let the “accident” of being given a message to deliver provide an excuse to miss it. He sees a nest of partridges fly up. If it were not for the war, he thinks, he would come back and gather the eggs and raise the partridges for his own use. If it were not for the war, he would go with his brother Eladio to catch crayfish. If it were not for his father’s joining up with the Republicans, Andres would have been with the Fascists because it is easier to live under a regime than to fight it. Although he truly believes in the cause, it is a great responsibility. He would rather just concentrate on the small, daily things of life. He goes forward, knowing there will be an armed spot at the top of the hill where he...
(The entire section is 468 words.)
Chapter 35 Summary
Unable to go back to sleep after discovering Pablo’s disappearance with some of the supplies for the explosives, Robert Jordan seethes in anger. Maria is still sleeping, so he turns his back to her so he will not wake her. He thinks it is ironic that he missed a few opportunities to kill Pablo and that Pablo has betrayed them as they knew he would.
Robert Jordan speculates about the chance that Pablo merely threw the material away. It would not make any difference, he thinks, because he could not find them in the dark. He curses himself again for trusting Pilar to guard his sacks. He tries to calm himself, but his anger rises again. He rages against Pablo, the guerrillas, the Spanish people, and the entire country of Spain. He thinks of the many Spanish people who, through their incompetence, have been unable to change the system. It would not make any difference, he believes, because the people would be tricked by any leader they had.
As his anger begins to lessen, Robert Jordan no longer believes his own ravings simply because he has begun to exaggerate the whole thing. There have been many good Spanish people, he thinks. He could not be unjust to the whole Spanish race; he despises injustice in judgment just as much as in government. In the end he feels calmed and empty, he thinks, as does a man who has just had sex with a woman he does not love.
Robert Jordan turns to face Maria, who still sleeps quietly. She smiles in her sleep and moves closer to him. He thinks with horror that previously in his anger he could have struck her if she had spoken. He judges a man who is angry to be nothing more than an animal.
Holding Maria in his arms, he speculates about what he must now do. He decides the situation is not really so bad. He is not sure that anyone has brought about a satisfactory explosion given the minimal materials he now has. There are not enough people to carry out the mission, and now there is a shortage of explosives. But he realizes that, like bitterness, anger is a luxury he cannot afford at the moment. He realizes that they will probably be killed in the attack. He looks at Maria and thinks that a good night’s sleep is the only wedding present he can give her. He then lies quietly, keeping track of the time on his watch.
(The entire section is 420 words.)
Chapter 36 Summary
Andres continues his climb to the government position, where he is challenged as he knew he would be. He could have passed the position silently in the dark but he decided that it would be better to acknowledge his presence and get it over with. He shouts up to the sentry, who fires back at his general position. He begs the men at the post not to shoot him and explains that he wants to come in. Someone calls down and asks how many are with him. Andres repeatedly has to assure them that he is alone and that he is not a Fascist. He tells the soldiers that he has come from Pablo’s band with a message for the general staff. From above, Andres hears one of the soldiers suggest that they throw a bomb down on him. Andres tells them not to because the message he carries is important.
In response to their command, Andres stands up and holds his rifle above his head. He is told to come carefully through the trip wires, but Andres tells them he cannot hold the wires aside because both his hands are on the rifle over his head. Andres reassures them again that he is not a Fascist, so they let him sling his rifle on his back and proceed through the wires. The suggestion is again given to throw a bomb down on him. Andres tells them that he is of no importance, but his message is.
As Andres approaches the post, the man who had suggested throwing a bomb down on him embraces him and kisses him on both cheeks. Andres shows them the papers he is carrying, which include his safe-conduct papers and the dispatch from Robert Jordan to Golz. The officer in command of the post asks him questions about his background to prove he is the person listed on the safe-conduct pass.
Andres tells the officer that his message is of the greatest importance. The officer tells him he should give up being a guerrilla fighter and join the regular army of the Republic. There is too much division between those fighting against the Fascists. Andres patiently listens to him, then tells him that his dispatch is important because it relates to the attack the next morning. The officer does not trust any of this, so he volunteers to go with Andres to deliver the message. Andres gives his rifle to the officer, and the two go down the hill in the dark.
(The entire section is 418 words.)
Chapter 37 Summary
Robert Jordan, calming down after his rage at Pablo’s betrayal, waits impatiently for time to pass. With his arms around Maria, he constantly looks at his watch, but the time moves so slowly without a second hand. The feel of Maria’s hair against his neck causes his throat to swell with love and longing. He does not want to wake her, but he cannot leave because this might be the last time they are together.
Maria quietly awakens and responds to Robert Jordan’s caresses. She clearly wants to make love, but he hesitates because he does not want to cause her pain. Maria denies there is pain. Robert Jordan thinks of time only in the now: there is no past and definitely no future. Expressing his love and gratitude, Robert Jordan makes love to Maria for what he believes is the last time. Maria also expresses gratitude that she may have one more time of “la gloria.”
Robert Jordan tells Maria that it is almost time to prepare for the attack. She tells him first they must have something to eat. She asks him if he is worried. He says that he was for a while, but he is no longer. She asks if she may help him, but he says that she has helped enough. He thinks of the great mysticism in the sexual experience he has shared with Maria. He thinks of how little they all know of what there is to know. He wishes he were going to live a long time to reflect on it, but he believes he will die this day.
Robert Jordan tells Maria that she has taught him much. She has given him a very small beginning in the education of love and life. He feels that he has lived his entire life among these hills. He can think of no closer friend that Anselmo. As for Maria, she is not only his wife but his sister and his daughter. She is all that a woman is.
Maria asks him if they will be together that day. He tells her they will after the start, but she cannot be with him in the beginning. She offers to take care of his sleeping robe. She shakes it out and rolls it up. Robert Jordan picks up the two sacks, taking care that nothing should fall out of the slit one. At ten minutes to three o’clock, they go into the cave.
(The entire section is 412 words.)
Chapter 38 Summary
Inside the cave, all the men and women were preparing to leave. Pilar had sewn the slit in the sacks. There is tension among them; Agustin chides Eladio on the absence of his brother (Andres), who has not returned from delivering the dispatch. Robert Jordan picks up four high-grade grenades that the guerillas had acquired from the Republic. It was with this type of grenade that Pablo blew up the post at Otero, Pilar says. Interested, Robert Jordan asks how dependable they are. Eladio says that they always explode, though there are no fragments, just flash. Robert Jordan repeats his question: Do they always blow? Eladio says they always have.
Robert Jordan sees that although he lacks the materials that Pablo stole, he will be able to use the grenades to detonate the explosives. However, he is not sure he can take out both posts by the bridge. It will have to be one or the other, but not both. He wonders if there will be a miracle and Golz will decide to call off the raid. Again, he curses Pablo’s treachery.
Trying to calm himself once again, Robert Jordan tells himself he should have taken Pilar and combed the hills to find additional men instead of sleeping with Maria. Yet he chides himself; he needs to show some confidence in himself. Maria thinks he is wonderful, but he thinks very little of himself at this moment. He must wait until the fight begins before he gets angry.
Pilar asks how the plan seems to him now that they are about to start. Robert Jordan regrets that there are so few of them, and Pilar agrees. She tells the American not to worry. She tells him to forget the nonsense of her reading his palm earlier. It was nothing. Robert Jordan checks on Anselmo, who is calm. The old man shows how steady his hands are, but when he points, his finger shakes. Robert Jordan assures him that his does the same.
The people in the cave freeze when Pablo comes back into the cave. He tells them that he has five additional men with horses. Robert Jordan asks him about the exploder and the detonators he stole. Pablo confesses that he threw them over the cliff into the river, but then he decided he must return. He says he had a moment of weakness but he is not a coward. Robert Jordan doubts that. Pablo assures him that he is not doing this for him. He returned because he was lonely. Pilar tells him she did not think he could be the coward he appeared to be. Pablo asks for a drink and then announces it is...
(The entire section is 452 words.)
Chapter 39 Summary
The group climbs the hill in the dark, heavy-laden with explosives. Pilar says that the rest of the explosives are in the horses’ saddlebags along with camping gear. The horses can be cut loose if need be. Robert Jordan feels the burden of all the explosives and ammunition he is carrying. Pablo, coming up to him as they climb, tells him that the five additional men think the mission will be successful simply because they have joined it. Pablo suggests that Robert Jordan say nothing to disillusion them. Robert Jordan agrees but says now they must make it successful.
Cynically, Robert Jordan does not believe that Pablo had any serious conversion when he deserted them. He believes that he is still self-serving. Pablo tells him that the five additional men can take the lower post. They may even go further than intended. Robert Jordan does not respond to this. He does not think he will be invited to continue in Pablo’s camp after the bridge has been destroyed. However, Robert Jordan has felt better since Pablo returned with the five men; he sees a possible break in their string of curses. He feels his confidence rise a bit within him. In a moment of self-analysis, he sees that his greatest talent is the ability to ignore the possibilities of bad endings. However, when he must count on others too much, such as now, this talent is weakened or destroyed. Thus he fears he will not survive this day. He thinks of himself, alone, as nothing. With another person, he is everything. He congratulates himself in overcoming his previous despair. For Maria, the best thing he can do is to finish the mission and get out as fast as possible. If he thinks too much about her at this point, he will waver. He tells himself not to think of her at all.
Maria comes up to him. He tells her not to worry, that Rafael will be with her watching the horses. She says that she would rather be with him, but he tells her that she will be most useful with the horses. At this point the five men ride up to the others. Robert Jordan greets them. Pablo introduces him and assumes leadership of the group while they are present. Pilar recognizes some of them but they keep their distance. Pablo then tells everyone to keep their mouths shut and he will lead them to the place where they will leave the horses.
(The entire section is 416 words.)
Chapter 40 Summary
As Robert Jordan slept through the night, Andres made slow progress on his mission to deliver the dispatch to General Golz. The company commander still accompanies him, but once inside the Republican lines, things move more slowly. He should have had no problem since he had the safe-conduct pass, but people are very suspicious.
At the battalion headquarters, the battalion commander (Gomez) meets him with enthusiasm. Instead of sending him on to brigade headquarters, Gomez offers to take him on his motorbike. As they reach the mountain town where headquarters is located, Gomez commands the sentry at the entrance to let him see the Lieutenant-Colonel. The sentry says he is asleep and refuses to get him. Gomez tries to make the sentry understand that Andres has an important dispatch for General Golz concerning the attack the next day, but the sentry does not seem to care, having never heard of Golz or word of any attack. Gomez pulls out his pistol, points it at the sentry, and threatens to kill him if he does not retrieve the Lieutenant-Colonel. The sentry tells them that the Lieutenant-Colonel is with his fiancée, but he goes to get him. Gomez despairs that the army is either cynical or ignorant.
The Lieutenant-Colonel Miranda enters. His wife had fallen out of love with him but it was impossible for him to get a divorce, so he joined the army of the Republic. All he cares about is leaving the army with the same rank with which he entered it. Miranda looks at Andres’s papers and questions him about the conditions up in the hills. He writes a strongly worded safe-conduct pass for Andres and tells Gomez to take him up to headquarters on the motorcycle.
Miranda asks Andres if he had seen any movement at the front. Andres says that everything was, as usual, very quiet. Miranda then recognizes Andres from an encounter three months previously. He asks how Anselmo is doing, and Andres tells him that the old man is doing fine. After Andres leaves, Miranda expresses relief that Golz, not himself, must undertake this mission. He looks at the officer on duty and sees that he is asleep with his head on the desk. He takes the two phones on the desk and pushes them close to the officer’s head.
In the meantime, Andres, hangs on very tightly on the back of Gomez’s motorcycle. As they climb up the mountain, their headlight shines on the gray bulk of empty trucks coming down toward them.
(The entire section is 424 words.)
Chapter 41 Summary
Above the bridge, Pablo stops and dismounts. He tells Pilar to get the grenade sacks while he hobbles the horses. Robert Jordan asks Pilar once again if she understands that there is to be no attack until she hears the bombs. She becomes irritated and says that she understood him the very first time he told her. Robert Jordan then goes to Pablo to ask if he also understands. Pablo says he knows he is to destroy the post, cut the wire, fall back to the bridge, and cover the bridge until the bridge is destroyed. Robert Jordan will man the machine gun until that time. Pablo says once again that there are not enough horses. As Pilar had with him, Robert Jordan becomes irritated with Pablo for not trusting him to remember. Pablo prepares to go to his point, and Robert Jordan wonders what else he has planned. As they shake hands good-bye, Robert Jordan is surprised that Pablo’s hand is not slimy, as he imagined it to be, but strong and steady. Pablo apologizes for stealing the material. Robert Jordan tells him that at least he has brought what they need.
Robert Jordan goes to say good-bye to Maria. He has an unreal feeling that he has done all this before. As he bends down to kiss Maria good-bye, his pack shifts and pushes his head forward into Maria’s. He tells her not to worry about the gunfire. As he leaves, he feels younger than he has since he was a child. He remembers the first time he left home to go to school. His father had taken him to the train station and was very emotional at their parting. Robert Jordan had been embarrassed. The conductor asked him if he minded going away to school. Robert Jordan did not, but he felt that only at that moment.
Robert Jordan checks on Agustin and Anselmo, who are both ready. The three men go carefully downhill to the spot Robert Jordan and Anselmo had picked out the day he arrived. Below at the post, they see a light from the sentry’s brazier. Robert Jordan reminds Agustin to will keep watch on that sentry while he and Anselmo take care of the other post.
Once again, Robert Jordan feels that all this has happened before, perhaps simply because he has explained it so often to the others. He finds his spot and lies down on the pine needles where he can see the sentries. He waits quietly for the approaching daylight.
(The entire section is 424 words.)
Chapter 42 Summary
Andres, still riding on the back of Gomez’s motorcycle, is making rapid progress toward Golz’s headquarters but is delayed by a traffic accident. The safe-conduct pass does little to get them through quickly, but eventually they make their way past the wreck and on toward headquarters.
The two men stop in front of an official-looking building and ask where General Golz’s headquarters are located. The sentry resists giving any information, but Gomez insists. The sentry calls the corporal of the guard, and at that moment a large staff car arrives, out of which emerges a large old man dressed in the style of the French army. Gomez recognizes him as Andre Marty, one of France’s great military advisers. He is not aware, however, how much Marty has become embittered in war.
Gomez approaches Marty with his mission of delivering a dispatch to General Golz. Marty requests to see the dispatch, and Andres gives it to him. Marty looks at it, places it in his pocket, and orders the arrest of Gomez and Andres. Gomez is outraged. The sentry tells Gomez that Marty is crazy and that none of this would have happened if he had not approached Marty but let him get the corporal of the guard. Andres and Gomez are brought into a room where Marty has placed himself behind a long table. To Andres, this is just one more thing that has kept him from completing his mission swiftly. Gomez, however, is furious. Andres tells him of Robert Jordan and his role in the coming attack. Marty orders them to be taken away, thinking to take the dispatch to Golz himself. Andres thinks how stupid Marty is, but he is doubtful if the outcome of his mission would have been any different if he had made it through to Golz.
While they are being held, Robert Jordan’s friend Karkov arrives. Karkov confronts Marty, who is intimidated by the Russian. Karkov orders the dispatch returned to Andres so the mission can continue. Andres and Gomez are released and resume their motorcycle journey to Golz’s headquarters. On arriving, they deliver the dispatch and wait for an answer. Duval, Golz’s second in command, relays the message. He considers calling off the attack himself but does not have the authority to do so. Golz realizes that it is too late to call off the attack and that the mission will end in failure. He hears the planes leaving to bomb the location.
(The entire section is 417 words.)
Chapter 43 Summary
As Robert Jordan waits above the bridge, he wonders if Andres made it through to Golz with the dispatch. He chides himself for never thinking he will win, but in his heart he knows this operation will ultimately fail in its larger purpose. Soon he hears the sound of bombs, which is the signal to begin the destruction of the bridge. He shoots one sentry and Anselmo shoots the other.
Climbing into the framework under the bridge, Robert Jordan carefully places the explosives, cursing Pablo for throwing away the detonator. The grenades he is forced to use to set off the dynamite will mean he cannot detonate them from as great a distance as he wants. Pilar leads her group down to Robert Jordan. Eladio is not with them (he was shot in the head), and Fernando has been fatally shot in the groin. Fernando tells them to leave him behind with a rifle. He knows he is dying, but he will provide one last service for the Republic.
Robert Jordan tells Anselmo to blow up the bridge if the tanks come even if Robert Jordan is still beneath it. Anselmo feels no fear now, but he regrets having to kill the sentries. Pilar curses Robert Jordan for taking so much time setting the explosives, but Anselmo calms her. When he sees the trucks coming down the road, he sets off the explosives and the bridge collapses in the middles. A large chunk of metal hits Anselmo, and the old man dies.
Joining Pilar, Robert Jordan rages against Pablo for throwing away the detonator. If he still had it, Anselmo would not have been too close to the explosion and died. Pilar eventually calms him and they join the others. Pablo comes up alone with the horses, chased by a tank. The others fire briefly on the tank to distract it, and Pablo gets away. It is suspected that he killed his extra men to get their horses, and he does not deny it. Robert Jordan mounts the grey horse of the soldier he killed the preceding day. As they ride up the mountains, the Fascists follow and shoot Robert Jordan’s horse. The horse falls on Robert Jordan and breaks his leg. It is severe enough that Robert Jordan knows he cannot follow the others. Bidding Maria good-bye, he tells her he cannot go with her to Madrid but that he will always be with her. They leave and Robert Jordan waits for the Fascists to arrive. When they do, he sees they are led by Lieutenant Berrendo, who ordered the decapitation of El Sordo and his men. Robert Jordan waits for them to get close enough that he...
(The entire section is 465 words.)