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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 15 | Summary



Fernando and Robert Jordan go to find Anselmo, who is still at his post. Anselmo sees motorcars going by and records them, but he can't tell the difference between Division staff cars and General Staff, which would have given Jordan an idea of what was happening with the Fascists. Anselmo sees the men in the sawmill, warm and dry, and realizes that he will have to kill them the next day, which he doesn't want to do. They are poor, just like he is, though they are protected and he is living in a cave. He wishes he could atone right away for the one thing he feels ashamed of: having killed men. Suddenly Jordan shows up, and he and Fernando bring Anselmo back to the cave to get warm and eat.


This chapter shows how Anselmo feels about his place in the war, and what he knows he will have to do the next day. It also shows that, even though he is against the Church because he is a Republican, he can't help but miss the role of prayer in his life, which helped ease his loneliness. The sight of the soldiers in the sawmill makes him realize that he is the same as these people, equally poor, and yet there they are, warm and dry, and he is hiding out under a rock. Hemingway uses interior monologue with Anselmo, as he has done with Robert Jordan's character, to develop the character for readers.

Hemingway also drops a few more clues about how much of a failure this operation is going to be, in that Anselmo only writes down that he has seen a motorcar, but not what type. He also doesn't know that the guard hours might change if the storm continues. There are a lot of unknowns, and if Jordan were watching instead of Anselmo, he would have noticed many of these things that will prove to be important later.

Jordan's insistence that he go find Anselmo is also important. When Jordan finally does reach Anselmo, he tells him several times that he is glad to see him, and the happiness of finding Anselmo where he left him is a feeling he holds onto for as long as he can.

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