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 thinks he is a coward and is ashamed of him. He settles in his mind that he will have to blow up the bridge the next day. There is no escaping it; it is his destiny.