Important Quotations

(Novels for Students)

1) “I don’t like that sadness, he thought. That sadness is bad. That’s the sadness they get before they quit or betray. That is the sadness that comes before the sell-out.” Page 12

For Whom the Bell Tolls follows Robert Jordan, an American fighting on the side of the loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. Jordan joins a group of guerillas, namely Pablo, who used to be a respected and feared leader but is deteriorating into a drunk. When Jordan first meets Pablo, he compliments him on his courage and loyalty. However, he soon discovers Pablo is sullen, and it disturbs him. He realizes Pablo’s sullen sadness will result in tragedy.

A Hemingway code hero fights for freedom. His actions are determined by his own code of beliefs, not the vague causes of justice or glory. However, some who cannot accept the fight for freedom become disillusioned, or sullen and sad, in the case of Pablo. Pablo has fought valiantly for freedom, but it is not sustaining him. When this happens, as Jordan predicts, the person will sell out. This passage appears very early in the book and foreshadows Jordan’s dealings with Pablo as well as his own death.

2) “An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with fools.” Page 215

Pablo was once a revered guerilla leader, but after he obtained horses, he becomes sullen and begins to drink heavily, to the point his own men plot to kill him. He is not trusted and proves later not worthy of this trust when he steals the detonators. When Pablo makes this statement, it is after Jordan has tried to provoke him so he can kill him, and Agustin has hit him several times, to which Pablo simply replies, “Thou wilt injure thy hands.” This statement shows his contempt for the men whom he has fought with in the past.

Pablo is the image of past glory, greed, and disillusionment. He even sarcastically toasts Jordan and Pilar, his woman, with “To all the illusioned ones,” implying that he is not disillusioned but in fact the only one seeing clearly. He states he must be drunk to be around them. While others view this as cowardice, he has his own goals of survival. His actions do a lot of harm, but he shows moments of conscience, illustrating that he has not totally shunned his past ideals.

3) “Here it is the shift from deadliness to normal family life that is the strangest.” Page 227

In this chapter, Jordan is very contemplative about his situation and conflict in general. He says it is like a merry-go-round that takes you back where you started and has no prizes. While he is working on drawings, Maria stands over his shoulder. He keeps reminding himself to stay off the wheel, when he is talking to Pablo about the plan for attacking the bridge. While observing the scenes of domesticity, such as Pilar watching a card game, he thinks about the down...

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