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Free Study Guide-For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway-BookNotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES/ANALYSIS

CHAPTERS 8 - 13

Summary

Jordan is awakened by the sound of aircraft. In a span of a few minutes, about forty-five enemy planes fly across the sky, which alarms everyone in or near the cave. Jordan fears that the fascists are anticipating a Republican offensive and are preparing for a counter offensive. As a result, he asks Anselmo to go and keep watch on the road for any movement of trucks, cars, ambulances, or troops. He tells Rafael to go along with Anselmo and check the sawmill for any changes in the number of men posted there.

When Pilar brings some coffee to Jordan, she asks what could be the reason behind the presence of so many enemy planes. Jordan says that they are probably planning on bombing an airfield. Pilar then asks Fernando if he had heard any rumors when he traveled to La Granja. He admits that he overheard talk about the Republican offensive and the plan to blow up the bridge. He also learned that the fascists are sending troops to rid the mountains of all the guerilla bands. Jordan is appalled to learn that the confidential news of the offensive has leaked out.

Fernando and Maria engage in playful banter. During the conversation, Fernando criticizes Valencia, which offends Pilar. Some of her most pleasant memories are from there, and she cannot tolerate anything negative being said about the city. She explains that she had visited Valencia with Finito, a bullfighter that she knew before Pablo. As they talk in the cave, they hear the sound of the planes returning and go outside. This time, the aircraft flies so low that the people standing on the ground can see the faces of the pilots.

When they re-enter the cave, Jordan admits to Pilar that he does not like Pablo. Pilar defends the guerilla leader, saying that he was not always like this. She says that Pablo's attitude has significantly deteriorated since the beginning of the civil war, for at first he was filled with fervor for the cause. Agustin enters the cave, and Pilar asks him to guard the sacks in her absence. She admits that she does not fully trust Pablo. Agustin, however, defends the guerilla leader, stating that he is very smart and capable.

Since Pilar is ready to leave for her visit with El Sordo, she calls for Jordan and Maria.

On the way, Pilar stops by a stream to rest even though Jordan objects to the delay. He is eager to meet El Sordo and discuss the mission with him. Pilar, however, is adamant about taking a break. While she rests, she recounts incidents from the beginning of the movement and tells how Pablo had been involved in a brutal and merciless blood bath of the fascist civil guards in his hometown.


As Pilar, Jordan, and Maria approach Sordo's camp, they are at first challenged by one of his men, Joaquin. When he finally recognizes Pilar, Joaquin greets her warmly and agrees to guide her group to El Sordo. After introducing Jordan and Maria to the guard, they all walk on towards El Sordo's cave. Along the way, Pilar prods Joaquin to divulge what he did before joining the movement. He reluctantly admits that he was a failure at bullfighting. He also tells how his entire family was shot dead by the fascists. His story makes the others feel sympathetic.

On hearing Joaquin's tragic story, Jordan again questions the fairness or value of war.

He realizes that he has serious apprehensions about so many innocent people losing their lives through no fault of their own. He even questions if there is anything righteous about his blindly carrying out his orders. He then scolds himself for letting such defeatist thoughts enter his mind. He looks at Pilar and thinks that she is probably much stronger than he is. Even Maria has a great deal of strength, for she has remained sane in spite of all of the traumas she has endured.

When they reach El Sordo's camp, the guerilla leader comes out to greet them. After offering Jordan some whiskey, El Sordo voices his concern about what is going on. He has seen a great deal of enemy troop movement on the roads. He advises Jordan to immediately finish his task of blowing up the bridge; but Jordan says that he cannot go against his orders even though he hates putting people in greater danger by following Golz's plan.

As they discuss the plan for blowing up the bridge, everyone agrees that carrying out the mission in daylight is very risky and jeopardizes their safe escape. Jordan also realizes that he needs another eight horses to carry out the operation successfully. El Sordo says he will try and obtain the needed horses. They then discuss where they should go after the bridge is destroyed. El Sordo favors Gredos for safety reasons, but Pilar says they it would be better if they go back to the Republic. Jordan shares Sordo's view and feels Gredos is a better idea.

After eating a meal with El Sordo, Jordan, Maria, and Pilar head back to Pablo's cave.

When they stop to rest, Pilar apologizes to Maria for calling her a "whore" at El Sordo's. She explains that she is not in a good frame of mind, for the timing of the operation is truly bothering her. Pilar then stands up and walks away, giving Jordan and Maria some privacy. They share some intimate moments and make love.

While the group continues on its way to the cave, Jordan is lost in a reverie. He thinks about his own political ideology and realizes that he no longer has a belief. Instead he is concerned about the fact that he has learned to like the people he must use in his mission. He feels he is betraying Pilar and Maria by using them as pawns in a game masterminded by Golz. He knows, however, he must keep his emotions for them in check if he wants the operation to be a success. His only consolation is the knowledge that eventually the fascists would attack Pablo's band of guerillas no matter what.

Jordan also acknowledges that he is no longer willing to die for the cause. He has fallen in love with Maria and wants to spend a long and contented life with her. He feels sad that he has not had much time with her and that their future is too unpredictable to plan anything definite. He decides to make up with intensity what the relationship will lack in duration and continuity. He reminds himself that the present is more important than the future and that he must not ruin the former by worrying about the latter. He resolves to live life to its full extent, no matter what the time-span is.

When Maria and Jordan catch up with Pilar, she embarrasses Maria by constantly referring to her lovemaking with Jordan. Jordan is irked by her talk, especially when she elaborates on her superstitions. As they move on, the sky becomes gray and heavy. Pilar confirms Jordan's fear by saying that it will snow.

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