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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 32 | Summary



Karkov learns that the Fascists are fighting amongst themselves near Segovia and are attacking each other. La Pasionaria has come to announce it, and a journalist keeps harping on it to Karkov, who tells him he should go write about it instead of telling it to him. Karkov is also concerned about Robert Jordan, and speaks with a division commander about the fact that Jordan is where all of this fighting is supposedly happening. The general tells him that Jordan will be sending a report and Golz will probably be the one to have it.

Karkov is an extremely savvy man, and realizes that Jordan is in trouble. He finds it unlikely that the Fascists are actually engaging in infighting, and fears the worst for Jordan. He would like to figure out a way of saving Jordan, and decides he is going to engage Golz to make sure Jordan is protected, if he can find him.


Karkov, a friend of Robert Jordan's, tries to figure out whether his friend is in danger, and is told Jordan must be sending a report if the infighting rumor is true. It is, however, hard to tell in Karkov's circles what is gossip and what is really true. Karkov is so cynical at this point in the war that he is sure Jordan is in trouble, and doesn't really believe Jordan will be able to send any report of what is happening.

Karkov's personality is revealed here as an interesting mix of cynicism and realism. He also shows his loyalty and ability to love, which is not very evident in his marriage, but is certainly evident in his friendships, particularly with Jordan. The fact he is willing to step in and find Golz is remarkable, given the danger to which he will expose himself, trying to make a case for interference in the fighting. He risks his ease of passage by getting this involved and threatening to use his position to make things happen.

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