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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 40 | Summary



Lieutenant Miranda meets with Andrés and gives him a paper that will allow him to see Golz, but not before Andrés is confronted with a bureaucrat who claims not to know anything about Robert Jordan and refuses to budge. Miranda, who is in his position at a desk and has no desire to move up or move to any position more demanding than what he has, is less concerned, and is willing to let Andrés go through to see Golz.

Gomez takes Andrés on a motorcycle to get to where Golz supposedly is, and it's a bit of a wild ride. Gomez knows his territory well, but that doesn't stop Andrés from wondering why this process is taking so long, and wondering if he hasn't stepped into a trap or has brought trouble on himself. He starts to realize that he's not going to get back to Eladio any time soon.


Andrés seems to be getting the runaround, and the plot's turn reveals to the reader that it is highly unlikely that he will get to Golz on time to cancel the attack. Moving back and forth between chapters about Andrés and chapters about Robert Jordan also serves as a way to heighten tension, because Andrés is becoming increasingly worried about getting to Golz on time and Jordan is getting closer and closer to the actual task of blowing up the bridge. The reader doesn't know what will happen at the bridge, although it's pretty clear that someone is going to die.

At every turn, there is at least one person who claims not to know anything and tries to block Andrés, but Miranda is able to see him once Gomez threatens the officer who refuses to let Andrés through. Gomez is pretty fearless, but there are some people he just can't break through. The insanity that people in power fall into is going to come up later in the novel, and Gomez knows he might run into someone who is on a massive power trip, but he forges ahead anyway. Gomez is a lot like his motorcycle: he can cut through much of the red tape, as fast and as elusive as his motorcycle in traffic, and can go where no one else dares to go or can possibly go, but even Gomez has his limits.

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