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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 33 | Summary



Pilar reports to Robert Jordan at two in the morning that Pablo has disappeared, there is a slit in each of the two sacks, and some materials are missing. Jordan feels inside the sacks and realizes that the detonators, the exploder, and the fuse and caps are gone. Pablo had gotten up in the night to urinate and never came back. When Pilar awoke, wondering where he was, she saw the slits in the sacks. Pilar is horrified this could have happened while she was guarding the sacks. She blames herself for Pablo getting away with the sabotage, and is extremely agitated around Jordan. She offers to sew up the sacks right away, but Jordan tells her to do it in the morning, and they go back to sleep. However Pilar can't sleep at all, worrying that the mission is not even going to be able to start, much less be finished, and it's her fault for not having killed Pablo or allowed anyone else to do it a while ago.


Pablo has finally sabotaged the mission, and Robert Jordan has to figure out how to blow the bridge without these vital materials. Jordan, understanding how Pilar must feel, is kind to her and tells her to get some sleep. He is seething inside, though, and he is also thinking about the inability to kill Pablo. No one was willing to do it, and everyone wanted someone else to do it. Pilar made sure it didn't happen, showing her loyalty despite Pablo's character faults, but now she wishes she hadn't been so loyal. She feels duped.

Pablo has also taken two horses, which makes it very difficult for the rest of the band to escape if they blow the bridge. Jordan tries to minimize the crisis, and poor Pilar feels like she has failed not just Jordan and the band, but the Republic, too. It is a testament to Jordan's respect for Pilar and his love for her as a comrade, friend, and mother figure that he is trying to be gentle with her even though it was her job to guard the materials. Instead of being furious, he is setting aside his feelings and thinking of how she feels.

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