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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

Notes

In Chapter 8, the presence of enemy planes alarms everyone. They fear that the fascists are planning their own offensive. Later, Fernando reveals that while he was in La Granja he overhead that the fascists had, indeed, heard about the Republican offensive and the plan to blow up the bridge. Jordan is rightly furious. He knows that his mission is now more dangerous than ever since the fascists are aware that the bridge is to be destroyed. Jordan knows that they will be watching the bridge closely.

In Chapter 9, the enemy planes return, flying low over the cave. Jordan thinks of them as "sharks" that "move like mechanized doom." To Maria, they foreshadow death. Pilar complains that they are not equipped to do battle with air power. It is clear that the airplanes are intended to be harbingers of bad things to come.

For the first time in the novel, Pilar expresses her apprehension about the mission. She is beginning to feel that it is a "no-win" situation. Although she admits her sadness to Jordan, she emphasizes that it does not affect her resolution. She claims that "the sadness will dissipate as the sun rises." Since sunshine is symbolic of hope and optimism, Pilar clearly indicates that she still thinks positively.

Agustin is introduced again into the action. Hemingway cleverly uses him to underline some important aspects of the personalities of Pilar and Pablo. Agustin points out that Pablo is smart and capable; as a result, he will certainly be of value during their escape. Pilar then reminds everyone that she is also smart. Agustin tells her that she is brave, loyal, determined, and intuitive - but not smart. He ends by saying that Pilar has "much decision and much heart."


Chapter 10 is important because it gives Jordan a glimpse into Pablo's past and the beginning of the movement. Pilar tells about the massacre of many fascists in Pablo's hometown; even some civil guards were killed in the bloodbath. Pilar's vivid description once again highlights the brutality of war.

In Chapter 11, Joaquin, a minor character, is introduced. He serves as a guard to El Sordo's camp. Since he does not at first recognize Pilar, he will not let the trio pass. Finally, he remembers Pilar and then leads Jordan, Maria, and her to El Sordo's cave. On the way, Joaquin tells the tragic tale of his family being murdered by the fascists. After hearing the story, Jordan becomes pensive. He realizes that both sides commit atrocities in the name of war. It is obvious that his disillusionment about the cause continues to increase, almost to the point of cynicism.

Upon their arrival at El Sordo's cave, he informs Jordan that there is much troop movement on the road between Villa Castin and Segovia, indicating that the fascists are, indeed, preparing their own offensive. Such an offensive increases the danger for Jordan's mission, and El Sordo realizes that fact. He suggests that Jordan destroy the bridge as soon as possible, but Jordan knows that he cannot defy Golz's orders. Like many Hemingway heroes, Jordan is trapped by circumstance.

This chapter is crucial for the development of the plot towards its tragic end. Jordan grows more nervous and cynical about his mission, and even the dedicated Pilar begins to worry about the success of the operation. The impediments to the protagonist's mission are clearly laid out by Hemingway, thereby foreshadowing the danger that lies ahead for Jordan.

On their way back to Pablo's cave, the trio sits down to rest under a pine tree, from where they can see the snow clad peaks. To Pilar, snow is beautiful -- but only from a distance. She knows that snow usually causes problems; therefore, she remarks, "What an illusion is the snow." When the flakes begin to fall on the traveling trio, it portends further danger for Jordan's mission. If they are able to escape, their footprints in the snow will be easily tracked.

While they have stopped for their rest, Pilar walks away from Jordan and Maria, allowing them to have some privacy. They seize the opportunity to make love, but Jordan is distracted by his mission. He cannot help worrying about its outcome, for he knows that his orders are impossible. If he carries out the plans as instructed by General Golz, Jordan knows that he jeopardizes the lives of others that he cares about, as well as his own. Even if they survive the destruction of the bridge, their chances of escape in the daylight are slim, especially now that the fascists are aware of the plan and organizing their own offensive. He wishes that he could simply walk away from the mission and live a long, contented life with Maria.

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