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For Whom The Bell Tolls

Ernest Hemingway

Chapter Forty-three

Chapters Forty–Forty-two

Chapter Forty-three, page 2

page 1 of 2

Summary

He was completely integrated now and he took a good long look at everything.

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From his position on the ground, Robert Jordan watches the dawn, observes a squirrel, and smells the pine trees. He recognizes one of the sentries on the bridge from surveying the site earlier.

The bombing—the cue for blowing up the bridge—begins. Robert Jordan and Anselmo shoot the two sentries on the bridge and affix the dynamite to the near end of the bridge. As Robert Jordan goes to attach the dynamite to the far end, Pilar returns with her group. Eladio has been shot through the head and Fernando mortally wounded. At Fernando’s request, Primitivo and Rafael leave Fernando with a rifle near the bridge.

Anselmo feels “one with” the world as he waits for Robert Jordan to finish the setup on the other side of the bridge. They detonate the dynamite just as a truck prepares to cross the bridge. Anselmo is killed by a flying block of steel. In the aftermath of the explosion, Robert Jordan feels angry, especially at Anselmo’s death. Speaking to Pilar, he gradually lets go of his anger.

Meanwhile, Maria watches the horses. The animals sense her nervousness and become nervous themselves. Maria prays for Robert Jordan’s safe return and is relieved when she hears Pilar shout that he is safe. Robert Jordan checks in with Agustín, who has been manning the machine gun. Pablo returns alone and says that his other men are dead. Agustín accuses Pablo of shooting the other men for their horses, and Pablo does not deny it.

The men return to Maria and the horses. Robert Jordan embraces her, realizing that, for the first time in his life, he has been able to hold onto his feelings for a woman during battle. They mount the horses, and Pablo prepares to lead them to the Gredos mountains. Robert Jordan mounts the horse of the cavalryman he killed the previous day. He rides last in the caravan, directly behind Maria.

As they cross the main road, a Fascist bullet hits Robert Jordan’s horse, which tramples on Robert Jordan’s left leg, breaking it. Realizing that he will have to stay behind, Robert Jordan talks to Pablo and tells him to use his head. Then Robert Jordan speaks to Maria, and tells her that although he must stay behind, when she leaves he will be with her. Agustín offers to shoot him out of mercy, but Robert Jordan refuses and asks him to take care of Maria.

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