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For Whom The Bell Tolls

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 3

We do it coldly but they do not, nor ever have. It is their extra sacrament. . . . They are the people of the Auto de Fé; the act of faith. Killing is something one must do, but ours are different from theirs.

After the guerrilleros hide from four passing Fascist cavalrymen in Chapter Twenty-three, Agustín reveals that the anxiety he experienced was caused not only by fear, but also by a thirst for the kill. In this passage, which comes directly afterward, Robert Jordan reflects on the particular nature of Spaniards. He believes that, as a race, they have an innate, pre-Christian, visceral desire to kill that has surfaced periodically throughout history. He references the Spanish Inquisition, the state-sponsored brutal persecution of Jews and other non-Catholics that was practiced in Spain from the Renaissance through the beginning of the nineteenth century. Robert Jordan ends by forcing himself to face up to the fact that he, too, has felt the urge and excitement of killing. In several instances throughout the novel, most notably in the language that he uses to describe Andrés’s memories of bull-baiting in his hometown in Chapter Thirty-four, Hemingway draws parallels between the drive to kill and the desire for sex. Through this parallel, Hemingway establishes yet another connection between death and sex, a major motif in the novel.