Book Notes Chapter 13 Notes from For Whom the Bell Tolls

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For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 13

Robert Jordan and Maria walk hand in hand. Her beauty and the intensity of their touch awe him. She trembles when he kisses her. They make love. "For her everything was red, orange, gold-red from the sun on the closed eyes, and it all was that color, all of it, the filling, the possessing, the having, all of that color, all in a blindness of that color." Chapter 13, pg. 159 He feels that he is being borne through nowhere; time stands still, and the earth moves. Later, walking by the stream, she tells him that she dies each time they make love, as the earth moves. He tells her that he has loved many others, but the earth had never moved. She says she hopes that her hair grows back soon, so that she will not be ugly, and that her body is too young and thin. He says her body is lovely, and she tells him her body is for him.

His mind wanders. He knows that that he must use people he likes as troops, and tries to convince himself that he has no responsibility for them; he is only obeying Golz's orders. He thinks of another commander, the swine Gomez in Estremadura. He believes that the partizans bring bad luck and danger, but make the country a good place in which to live. He feels conflicted and worries about betraying the people. He fights because he loves Spain. He fights with the communists only for the duration of the war, for it is the only group he can respect. He knows he cannot tell anyone that he has no politics. He wonders about Pablo's politics, and decides he probably moved from left to right, having only faith in ultimate victory: the politics of horse thieves. "Was there ever a people whose leaders were as truly their enemies as this one?" Chapter 13, pg. 163 He has become bigoted from politics, and his mind too easily uses clichés like "enemy of the people."

Robert Jordan does not want to be a hero or a martyr, and just wants to spend a long time with Maria. The marriage fantasy he sets up becomes cynical as his guilt takes over, for he knows that he can take her with him, but he cannot change what happened to her. His students will come smoke pipes with him in the evening, and "Maria can tell them about how some of the blue-shirted crusaders for the true faith sat on her head while others twisted her arms and pulled her skirts up and stuffed them in her mouth." Chapter 13, pg. 165 He wonders if he is blacklisted in his hometown of Missoula, and if he will still be able to teach. He knows that his life is simply today, tonight, and tomorrow, and he believes that it is possible to live as full of a life in seventy hours as it is in seventy years. He has had casual sex, but he loves Maria so much that he feels as though he could die. He knows that he came upon her late, but their connection is so strong that they would have come together even if Pilar had not intervened. However, her intervention saved precious time. He berates himself for the impossible fantasy of having a long life with Maria, and knows the urgency of the time they have. He wonders if Golz felt this rush too during his service, but as for Maria, he believes that their love goes beyond the intense circumstances under which they met.

Topic Tracking: Women 11
Topic Tracking: Foreigners 7
Topic Tracking: Loyalty 8

He returns from his thoughts, and tells Maria that he loves her. She is telling him she wants to do the things that a wife does, like washing his socks and rolling his cigarettes. She wants to know how to use his pistol so they could shoot each other should they be captured. Pilar showed her how to make a fatal cut with a blade she carries. He tells her that she cannot help with his work, for it is cold and in his head.

Pilar returns and teases them persistently, but he sees nothing predatory. Maria finally tells her that the earth moved, and Pilar tells her it only moves three times in a lifetime, and that she (Pilar) has had two, and will never have another. Robert Jordan resents how Pilar turns it into a gypsy thing, for he does not believe in the mysterious, and says that he wants less mysteries and more work, and that god damn it, the earth did move. She laughs at him, and says it will snow. He says it cannot in June, then sees she is right.

Topic Tracking: Women 12
Topic Tracking: Foreigners 8

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