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Free Study Guide-For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway-BookNotes
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The novel is set in Spain in the 1930s. The Spanish Civil War is raging, and the protagonist, Robert Jordan, is an American, fighting behind enemy lines for the Republican cause. He has been sent on an assignment to blow up a bridge in the mountains of the Spanish Sierra.

The main action of the book takes place in the hills of the Sierra, where a fascist post has to be demolished. Guerilla bands and partisans are spread all over the mountains, and they come forward to aid Robert Jordan in his mission. Throughout the novel, there are references made to the towns of Segovia, Anila, and La Granja.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major

Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan, the protagonist of the novel, is an American college instructor of Spanish, who is fighting for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. He is sent on a mission to destroy a bridge behind the enemy lines in order to prevent reinforcements from coming up after the offensive has started. In the mountains he meets and falls in love with a Spanish girl, Maria.

Pablo

Pablo is the leader of the guerilla band, which is assisting Robert Jordan in his mission. He sometimes comes across as sullen and uncooperative. It becomes apparent that Pablo is disenchanted with the war and wants to lead a peaceful existence, living in the mountains and raising horses. Since his belief in the Republican cause has been shaken by his personal feelings, he does not have the fervor that he had at the beginning of the movement.


Pilar

Pilar is a part of the guerilla band and is Pablo's "woman". She is completely devoted to the cause and, unlike Pablo and Jordan, has not become cynical. She is superstitious and believes that she can foretell the future.

Maria

Maria is a Spanish girl who has been rescued from the fascist camp by Pablo's band. She falls in love with Jordan, who promises to marry her after the mission is over.

Minor

Anselmo

He is a sexagenarian, who guides Jordan through the mountains. He takes Jordan to meet the guerilla band, which will assist him in his mission.

General Golz

He is the Russian officer who is in charge of the offensive. He orders Jordan to demolish the bridge after he has commenced the attack.

Kashkin

A demolition man, he was Jordan's predecessor. When the novel opens, he is already dead. The reader knows him only through references made by others about him.

In the book, it is learned that Jordan shot Kashkin after he was severely wounded in the blow up of the train.

El Sordo

He is the leader of another guerilla band, which has camped in the same mountains as Pablo's band. He offers to help Jordan with his mission, but his entire band is killed by the fascists before Jordan's mission begins.

Andres

He is a member of Pablo's guerilla band. He is sent by Jordan to deliver a message to General Golz, telling him what has happened to El Sordo's band and asking him to cancel the offensive.

Gomez

He is a Republican inside Golz's camp, who leads Andres to the general.

Joaquin

He is a young boy in El Sordo's band.

Eladio, Agustin, Fernando, Primitivo6, Rafael

They are members of Pablo's band.

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