For Whom the Bell Tolls | Study Guide

Ernest Hemingway

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For Whom the Bell Tolls | Chapter 7 | Summary



This chapter is a love scene between Maria and Robert Jordan. Maria comes to his sleeping robe and is barefoot but dressed. Jordan tells her to get under the robe to stay warm, and he kisses her, but she is uncomfortable, and worried that he doesn't love her because of what the soldiers did to her, and she tells him how they held her down and hurt her. Jordan tells her that he loves her more now. She wants to be able to kiss him but has never kissed before, and wonders "where the noses would go." Jordan turns her head so that he can kiss her, and he calls her "my little rabbit." He asks her if she wants to make love, and she tells him that she has thought that this may help her to heal from her trauma, making love with someone who truly loves her. He tells her, "thou art my woman now," and they make love.


The love story, which is central to the novel's plot, here comes to fruition. Hemingway uses Maria's inexperience combined with her knowledge of what a woman does when she loves a man to evoke the tenderness between Maria and Robert Jordan. The dialogue between them shows both Maria's fear and the results of trauma, and her urge to overcome it so that she can fully love Jordan in a way she feels he deserves.

It is also interesting to note that although there is a level of innocence lost because of the horrible things that were done to her in wartime, she still retains some of the innocence of a young girl experiencing her first love. In contrast to that innocence is her wisdom regarding healing. Love heals trauma, and although Pilar told her this to educate her, she had already been thinking in those terms, showing a wisdom that is beyond her years.

Jordan also changes in this one night, going from being certain that he is going to drop Maria off at a home when he finishes the mission, to telling her that she is his woman, and never wanting to leave her. His love for her deepens in such a short time, which is how their love must unfold given how little time they have before he carries out his mission and possibly loses his life. This idea that they must live an entire lifetime with each other in four days comes up often throughout the novel.

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