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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 35 | Summary



Robert Jordan is awake, in bed with Maria, who is still sleeping and doesn't know what has happened yet. Jordan is thinking furious thoughts, with every other word being "muck," Hemingway's stand-in for a swear word. As usual Jordan keeps his thoughts to himself, because that's how he operates, putting up a wall between his real thoughts and those he expresses to the group.

Jordan exaggerates his anger to the point where he hates nearly everyone in Spain, but then his anger dissipates. He doesn't want to be unjust to people who are good at heart. He understands there is nothing that Pilar could have done to keep Pablo from stealing the equipment. He also knows what he must do to blow the bridge, with the equipment he has left. He may die in the process, but he can still do it. Then he is gentle with Maria and whispers to her that a good night's sleep is his wedding present to her.


Robert Jordan's interior monologue is so profane it's almost funny, but he is deeply frustrated and angry with himself, with Pilar, with Pablo, and is extending that anger to everyone, until he is able to diffuse it. He protected Pilar from this anger, but had nowhere to put it, thus internalizing it.

This seems to be Jordan's usual way of moving through life, encountering difficulties and swallowing his emotions. His inner thought process is far more complex and rich than anything he reveals to others, except Maria, and even then, he doesn't tell Maria much at all about what he is really thinking. Protecting Maria from his internal storms is all he has to give. He could have awakened her and told her how he was feeling, but if he only has a short time left with her, he feels this is a waste of that time. Love is what he wants her to feel from him for the remaining time they have together. This is Hemingway's way of emphasizing the romance of this central relationship in the novel: that even when Jordan has every right to be explosively angry and should be stomping about shouting, he sets all that anger aside to mull over it in his head and let it play out, showing only love to those he loves.

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