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Summary Book

For whom the bell tolls – Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls” is a book written by Ernest Hemingway, published in 2004. Here we are presented with a love story between Robert and Maria in the middle of the Civil War, where the Republicans had to fight against the fascists who were considered the enemies of the people. These had the air support of Germany and the Nazis.


Characters from “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

The main character is represented by Robert Jordan, who is an American who fights for Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. We also find different important secondary characters such as Anselmo, Pablo, a guerilla fighter; Maria, with whom Robert falls in love; Pilar, is the wife of Pablo; The deaf; The fascinates, enemies of the republicans.

Summary and synopsis of the work

The story takes place in the mountains of Spain in 1937. It all begins when Robert Jordan examines a mountainous area located at the back of the fascist areas. He is a young volunteer who was ordered to blow up a bridge after three days, to lead to a surprise attack on the fascist group there. To accomplish his mission, he must go to various recruits to help him destroy the bridge.

Anselmo is the guide located in the area, he introduces him to Pablo, who is a guerrilla leader in this place. But he is not inclined to help Robert. However, he accepts and leads him to his hiding place in the cave. There, Robert meets several of Pablo’s gang. Immediately he sees Maria and is interested in her. Similarly, he meets Pilar, who is Pablo’s wife.

After this, a dispute arises between Pablo and Robert, since Pablo commented that he did not want him to break the bridge, because he wants to play it safe. But Pilar has other plans and decides to be in charge of the situation, so as she was imposing, the others join her. So Pablo will no longer be in charge of exploiting the bridge.

Later in the night, Robert is awakened by Maria, and they go to El Sordo’s camp, and he accepts that his group helps him in the attack, although he is not very comfortable with him. But there is a problem, since for the escape after the attack, they need horses and they don’t have enough for everyone. After this Maria and Robert spend the afternoon making love and realize that they are in love.

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When the Republican bombs drop, the action begins. The guard posts are taken and the bridge exploded, but many are lost, and Pablo kills the men he brought in to make sure that the horses are sufficient for them.

While escaping from the horses, Robert is knocked down by a tank explosion, and his leg is broken. So he asks his group to continue without him, including Maria, who is taken away. Finally Robert finds himself alone, he thinks of giving more time to his companions and stalks the fascists

Analysis of the work

“For Whom the Bell Tolls” is a work that presents us with a magnificent love story that takes place in May 1937, in the second year of the Spanish Civil War, near the city of Segovia, in the high mountains from northern central Spain.

In this period, the enemies of the nation, which were Franco’s nationalists, showed signs of gaining ground, as they had won many military victories and had air support from Nazi Germany.
In this sense, in the novel a plot wrapped in romance is developed, where the characters Robert and Maria fall in love amid tragic events and dangerous situations in their environment.

The protagonist, for his part, was a republican fighter who fought against the fascists to the end, and had to give his life for this cause.

This character Robert was an expert in explosives and first had to fulfill the objective that had been set for him, which was to blow up a bridge. For this reason he unites with a group of guerrillas who are in the mountains to prepare the attack. It is there that he meets his passionate love, María, with whom he begins to establish an affective relationship.

In this book, many descriptions can be appreciated, where the author tells us not only what he sees but what the characters feel, who are immersed in a quite compromising situation. In the same way, the hiding place where everyone was described is called the cave. Here the author details the place, the smell, the discomforts experienced. But despite this, everyone felt protected.

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On the other hand, the scene of the Deaf’s combat reveals the pain, the harshness of the events, the bombing and the tragic end. In this way, it not only reflects the reality of the war, but also creates an environment that captures the reader and makes him participate in the scene.

It is evident that this book makes denunciations, since it is related from the perspective of a republican, where the atrocities of the Civil War are criticized. The central protagonists of the story are the soldiers, who do not have an academic background and who do not know how to follow orders. Therefore, you can see the lack of organization of these, and in the end, Robert sacrifices his life for the cause.

Citas textuales

“I’m drunk; you see it When I’m not drunk, I don’t speak. You have never seen me talk so much. But an intelligent man is forced to get drunk sometimes to be able to spend time with the assholes.

“” Fanaticism was a strange thing. To be a fanatic you have to be absolutely sure of being right and nothing instills that security, that conviction of being right like continence. Continence is the enemy of heresy “”

Everyone needs to speak to someone, “said Paul’s wife; before we had religion and other nonsense. Now we should all have someone with whom we can speak frankly; no matter how much value one has, one feels more and more alone ”“ Of all men, the drunk is the worst. The thief, when he does not steal, is like any man. The scammer does not scam theirs.

The killer has clean hands at home. But the drunk stinks and vomits in his own bed and dissolves his organs in alcohol “” Do not be deceived about the love you feel for someone.

What happens is that most of the people are not lucky enough to find it … There will always be people who say that it does not exist, because they have not been able to achieve it. But I tell you that it exists and that you have been lucky, even if you die tomorrow ”