For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 24 | Summary



Agustín talks with Jordan about Maria, telling him that Maria does not sleep with him lightly. She has had a rough life so far, and was treated very poorly. It is an act of great love and trust for her to give herself to Robert Jordan physically even though she has been traumatized, and if he thought Jordan was using Maria, he would shoot him. Jordan reassures him that he wants to marry Maria, and that he cares for her a great deal. Agustín admits that he, too, has cared for Maria a great deal, but will support them both. Jordan tells him the best way to do that is to have confidence in his orders. Suddenly Jordan hears a noise from far away. He realizes that it is automatic gunfire, and that El Sordo and his band are fighting. Agustín wants to help them, but Jordan says they must stay where they are.


Agustín's lecture about Maria lets the reader know how much he cares for her, as well as how deeply sympathetic he is with her situation. He knows what her previous experiences have done to her emotionally, and the fact that she did not end up with anyone in the band but went straight for Robert Jordan speaks to her deep love for him. Jordan's physical reaction, the thickness in his throat, when he says that he will marry her, shows he is still very much in love with Maria, despite his trying to keep love separate from war. Jordan is not very advanced emotionally when it comes to balancing his feelings and understanding that often, he can't control them or push them away.

The noise that tells Jordan that El Sordo is fighting makes Agustín want to help immediately, and tears him apart emotionally. He knows that El Sordo is going to be defeated, and can't stand the idea of not defending his friends. But again Jordan is practicing restraint: in this case a wise choice. He knows they are outnumbered by the Fascists, and is pretty sure that if they try to defend El Sordo, they will die, too. This will prove to have been the right decision, to stay calm and stay put.

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