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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 31 | Summary



Maria is in the sleeping robe with Robert Jordan and they talk about living in Madrid together, and what their lives will be like. Maria talks of the things that Pilar has told her she can do for a husband, and says Pilar told her to lie about being in pain (physical pain related to her rape), but she couldn't lie to Jordan. Then she tells Jordan the story of how her parents died, what their last words were (her father spoke of the Republic while her mother spoke of her father), and as the daughter of the mayor, how she was the first girl to have her braids taken off and stuffed into her mouth while the rest of her head was shaved. She tells Jordan that she fought the things that were done to her, and says she tells him for his pride in her. She wants to kill the Falangists, the men who hurt her, but they are not at the front lines, Jordan says. Finally Maria says that Jordan might not want to marry her because she may not be able to have children. Jordan says it doesn't matter to him and that he loves her. She asks if they can still be married, and he says they are married now. As she sleeps, he says, "I'd like to marry you, rabbit. I'm very proud of your family."


Robert Jordan is trying to make Maria feel better by talking about living together, talking about marriage, and talking about their love for each other, to keep out of their heads the idea they may not live through tomorrow. Pilar has told her Jordan knows they will die, but he tells Maria this is "manure." He knows he is pretending, but feels it is better to pretend so they can have a night that still feels loving and happy.

Maria's ability to be so open with Jordan about her past makes him proud of her, though he had told her she shouldn't talk about it because he doesn't need to know. However she needs him to know, so that it is off her mind as well. This conversational evening is as sensual as making love for him, and at the end of the evening, he feels a swelling of pride in her for opening up to him and trusting him.

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