For Whom the Bell Tolls: Novel Summary: Chapter 3

SummaryJordan and Anselmo leave the guerilla camp to inspect the bridge. The mountainous terrain is rough and the bridge spans a gorge and rapidly running mountain stream. Jordan is relieved to find that the job will not present any difficulties and his tension eases as he takes out a notebook and starts to make sketches. They look through binoculars at the sedentary sentry. There is no telephone in view. They make their plans to blow up the bridge. Then Anselmo says that one day Jordan should return so they could go hunting. Jordan says he doesnt like to kill animals and Anselmo insists that he doesnt like to kill men: “the killing of a man who is a man as we are there is nothing good that remains” (40). When he had a house, it was full of hunting trophies. They talk about bears specifically and come to realize that both the Gypsies and American Indians think of the bear as a brother. Anselmo also intimates to Jordan that he is afraid he will run in battle and Jordan assures him he will give him orders that will help him overcome this fear. As they continue walking, Jordan thinks of Maria and becomes sexually excited.
After they return to Pablos guerilla camp, they encounter the obscenity-spouting Agustin who asks for the password only to discover that he himself has forgotten the word. He advises them to blow up the bridge as soon as possible because Pablo has become unreliable. Jordan needs to keep a close eye on the explosives and not underestimate Pablo.
Anselmo takes center stage in this chapter. He is a hunter, but he hates to kill men and in this regard he speaks out against war. Although he has killed animals, he reveres their spirits and has never killed a man. Indeed, he is concerned he might run if ever faced with such a challenge. The highly idealistic Jordan, on the other hand, doesnt care for hunting but doesnt hesitate to kill a man if it will benefit the republican Cause, or if the means justify the end, so to speak. But, Jordan is misguided. Through this character, Hemingway points out how people can be blinded by what they think of as worthwhile. Thus, the protagonist Jordan illustrates how war can bring about great harm by well-meaning, albeit ignorant, individuals.