For Whom the Bell Tolls: Novel Summary: Chapter 11

SummaryA young guerilla named Joaquin meets Pilar, Maria and Jordan at El Sordos camp. Pilar remarks to Jordan that he wanted to be a bullfighter but he was afraid. The young man comments on Marias improved appearance and how he carried her up the mountain when she was ill. He is sad because he has lost all of his family, and Maria says that now she is his sister and that Jordan can be his brother: “I am thy sister and I love thee and thou hast a family” (139). Maria is sent away and Pilar and Jordan discuss the logistics of the bridge bombing with the Old campaigner, El Sordo, who wants to carry out the mission at night so that retreat will not be as difficult as during the day. Pilar, who is worried about Jordans nerves, becomes enraged when Jordan attempts to tell them what to do after the mission is completed. He insists it has to be at night and says simply that he will be shot if he does otherwise. El Sordo tells them he has heard from the nearest town Segovia that the Fascists are aware about the plan and troops are already getting in place near the bridge.
Hemingway juxtaposes El Sordo with Pablo. El Sordo is wise, dignified and still in control, while Pedro has given in to despair. It becomes clear in this chapter, also, that Jordan is an autobiographical representation of Hemingway, who spent time in as a reporter covering the Spanish Civil War. The characters are based on Spanish people. Jordan looks upon Joaquin, Maria and Pilar as they walk up the mountain and contemplates how they represent old Spain and the newly emerging Spain. He wishes that he had the time to write the story of the Fascists that Pilar intimated in the previous chapter. Clearly, Hemingway collected much of his material for the novel while in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.