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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 34 | Summary



This chapter reports the interior monologue of Andrés, who is crossing Fascist lines to get a message to General Golz. To him it feels like a reprieve from bullbaiting, though as a boy he would go so far as to grab the bull's ear with his teeth. He thinks about what his life would be like if his father hadn't been Republican, but he has to think about his brother Eladio going into battle tomorrow, and he wants to get back in time to fight by his side. He has confidence in his ability to forge through all of the blockades and get to Golz rapidly, but he is about to experience the red tape and bureaucracy, as well as the difficult personalities between him and the top guns in the military, that drag down the entire Republican war effort.


Readers are introduced to Andrés's personality and a bit of that of his brother, Eladio, through his self-talk. He is glad he's the one to take the message, but he wants to return to fighting, so he tries to hurry through his mission. Andrés is a boy who never worries, but Eladio does. Andrés believes in his cause, so he worries less and just does what is in front of him.

The reader is also introduced to idealism, in the form of Andrés's confidence that this effort to get to Golz will be as easy for him as other dangerous activities have been. This idealism mirrors that of Robert Jordan, who started out thinking that he could do anything in battle, and is now rethinking his path thanks to facing the realities of war, which are very different from the false stories that superiors tell young men to keep them from balking or running away.

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