(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)
For Whom the Bell Tolls

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 regardless of his personal safety. Anselmo hates having to kill but will do so if necessary.

Jordan loves the brutal, shrewd, desperate, loyal guerrillas, for he knows that their cruelties against the Fascists stem from poverty and ignorance. The Fascists’ cruelty, however, he abhors, for the Fascists come largely from the wealthy, ambitious class. The story of Maria’s suffering fills him with such hatred that he could kill a thousand of them, even though he, like Anselmo, hates to kill.

The first night he spends at the guerrilla camp destroys his cold approach to the mission before him, for he falls deeply in love with Maria. She comes to his sleeping bag that night, and although they talk little, he knows after she leaves that he is no longer ready to die. He tells Maria that one day they will be married, but he is afraid of the future, and fear is dangerous for a man on an important mission.

Jordan makes many sketches of the bridge and lays his plans carefully, but the night before the bridge is to be blown up his work is almost ruined by Pablo, who deserts after stealing and destroying the explosives and the...

(The entire section is 1067 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls Summary

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

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 girl who has been ravaged by the Fascists, who have humiliated her every way they could. Jordan, hearing of this, is so morally indignant that killing the enemy becomes in his mind a moral act.

Another inhabitant of the cave is Anselmo, an old man who can be depended upon to do what he is told, even if it means killing, to which he is basically opposed. Jordan likes the guerrillas; he respects their stand against Fascist oppression. He understands their motives, which are less ideological than his, and he sympathizes with their lot. During Jordan’s first night in the guerrilla camp, Maria makes her way into his sleeping bag, and they have a night of blissful sex. He promises Maria that he will marry her someday, although he fears what lies ahead. He deplores his fear because he realizes that fear weakens anyone who is...

(The entire section is 937 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls Summary

For Whom the Bell Tolls is Hemingway’s third great novel. First published in 1940, the novel’s action takes place between Saturday...

(The entire section is 1102 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter Summaries

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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,...

(The entire section is 420 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 447 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 483 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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,...

(The entire section is 520 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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....

(The entire section is 510 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 479 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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,...

(The entire section is 434 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 504 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 409 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 447 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 438 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 437 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 434 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 404 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 421 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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,...

(The entire section is 417 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 402 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 410 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 470 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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 entire section is 433 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 498 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 483 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 518 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 406 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 469 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

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For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 467 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 411 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 466 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 481 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 504 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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....

(The entire section is 428 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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 entire section is 434 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 468 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 420 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 418 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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,...

(The entire section is 412 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 452 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 416 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 424 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 424 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 417 words.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls 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...

(The entire section is 465 words.)