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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 29 | Summary



Robert Jordan sends Andrés to find General Golz and the Estado Mayor of the Division, which is a hideout the general has chosen to set up command. Jordan writes a letter to Golz and seals it. The letter is to get Golz to cancel the attack because the Fascists are waiting for them. He tries not to make it about how doomed his own mission is, but there is almost no way to avoid that fact. This letter should have been sent earlier, and he knows it, so sending it now is an act of sheer desperation. It isn't even certain that Andrés is going to find Golz, and Jordan is well aware of that fact, but he hopes that this young and fast man will use his speed and his intelligence to get through the mire of border guards and other blockades set up to protect Golz's position. Meanwhile Pablo keeps trying to tell Jordan that he has confidence in him—an odd shift in attitude. Jordan has no confidence in himself, though, because he knows even more than Pablo does that this mission is now completely destined to fail.


It seems as if Pablo is trying to make amends to Robert Jordan, but it is odd that he can't look him in the eye. He is saying all he has to say to his wine bowl. He may or may not be drunk, and with Pablo, it is hard to tell sometimes if he has imbibed too much or he is just being a nasty person. He is also trying to convince Jordan they have enough people to take the posts and blow up the bridge. Jordan is not convinced. It looks as if Pablo is actually trying to convince himself, and keeping his face in his wine bowl so that he doesn't have to show his face to Jordan. If they look each other in the eye, Jordan will know Pablo doesn't believe this mission will be anything but a failure. Pablo knows when one reveals a lack of faith to someone who is about to lead a mission, that person is not only doomed to fail, but they take that lack of faith to heart and fail in an even more dramatic and horrific way than they would have had they not seen the look of terror mixed with resignation in their comrades' eyes.

Jordan is trying to get Golz to cancel the attacks, but he is also trying to make sure that Golz doesn't think it's because he doesn't have the courage to blow the bridge. He is not confident that the letter will be convincing enough, but he has to try. He worries that it is too late, and he's right to worry. Jordan has failed to keep on top of the situation, and he is backpedaling, trying to fix his failures with that letter, knowing that it may never reach its destination, much less convince Golz to stop the attack in time to save lives.

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