For Whom the Bell Tolls: Novel Summary: Chapter 9

SummaryThe guerilla group watch in fear as more planes pass overhead. One plane is particularly low and they can see the pilot. Pablo only worries that the planes might see his horse. Pilar asks Jordan to be careful with Maria. The girl has refused to tell her if the couple had made love, and he also says nothing. She acknowledges what Maria told him last night: she is not sick; she does not have venereal disease. Pilar likes Jordan a great deal and tells him not to worry about Maria having a baby. She said she will arrange for them to spend as much time together alone as possible. Jordan and Pilar have a heart-to-heart conversation in which he tells her he doesnt let anything interfere with his work and that he has never been really moved by a woman. She confides in him the depth of Pedros depression. Last night, he cried in her bed. Agustin tells Pilar not to underestimate Pablo. He may be ruined but he is still very smart and right now they need talent to help blow up the bridge. Jordan, Maria and Pilar then walk up the mountain to El Sordos camp in hopes of enlisting his help in the mission.
Hemingway describes the planes overhead as “wide-finned, sharp-nosed sharks” (87). Their presence illustrate how powerless the little band in the forest is when compared with the might of the Fascists. As the intrepid Pilar says, “they move like mechanized doom”(86). The tension mounts as the death machines encroach upon them. How will they ever be able to not only take out a plane but to stop the onslaught of totalitarianism that threatens to devour Spain?
The primacy of life and the inevitability of death also plays out in this chapter. As the death planes roar above them, Pilar pushes the two young people together. She encourages Jordan to spend time alone with Maria, whom she stresses is without disease, so they can have as much sex as possible and east wild strawberries in lieu of the wine she drank in Valencia. Life must be continued at all costs and at all times, even during war, or perhaps especially during war. This also adds credence to the notion that Pilar saw death in Jordans palm and wants him to reproduce before he dies. Jordan acknowledges that he has never really been in love, but now considers losing Maria.