Chapter 16 Notes from For Whom the Bell Tolls

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For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 16

Back at the camp, Pilar tells them that El Sordo left to look for horses. Maria bustles about to take Robert Jordan's wet clothes. Pilar is not pleased at the way she serves him as if he is a child, especially when Robert Jordan jokes that Maria should dry his feet with her hair. This is a New Testament reference to how Mary Magdalen, a reformed whore, dried the feet of Jesus with her hair. Robert Jordan says he is joking because he is happy. He drinks whiskey and thinks about how thoughtful it was of El Sordo to get it for him when he could have been thinking about himself-this is a truly Spanish quality. He warns himself not to romanticize; there are all kinds of Spanish.

He invites Maria to eat with them, as women do in the U.S. Pablo is very drunk and asks him if the men wear skirts like the women. Robert Jordan says that is Scottish, and Pablo ignores him and insistently continues, asking him what he wears under his skirt. Robert Jordan makes everyone laugh when he replies that he wears cojones (balls).

To change the topic, Robert Jordan talks of the beauty of his state, Montana. They are surprised to hear that the farmers own the land. He explains about land, income, and inheritance taxes, and Primitivo says that when they feel threatened by the government, they will fight, as in Spain. Robert Jordan says that they educate the people to recognize fascism so they can combat it. Andrés grins, saying that there are no fascists in Pablo's town, and Pablo says that Robert Jordan has not heard the whole story, but will not tell it, for he was very barbaric in those days. Pilar says she liked him better barbaric than drunk. Pablo says that he would be a happy drunk if not for all those he had killed, and would like to either restore them to life, or have killed every one.

Agustín and Pilar are disgusted at his lack of manhood. They change the subject, asking Robert Jordan how he came to Spain. He tells them he was a professor of Spanish, and Pablo says he is a false professor since he has no beard. Fernando thinks it is presumptuous that a foreigner teaches Spanish. Agustín is disgusted about fighting for foreigners, and Pilar tells him that they fight so that everyone will be comrades. Pablo makes several sharp comments toward Robert Jordan, who all of a sudden doubts Pablo is that drunk, and is ready to kill him, so he provokes him by calling him a coward. Pablo plays the situation, telling Pilar that she will not get rid of him thus, and toasts to Robert Jordan, who tells him he is learning much from him. Agustín is disgusted by the companionship. Pablo first calls Agustín negro (black, dark) and when he objects, he calls him blanco (white). Agustín tells him that he is rojo, red, for the star of the army and the Republic. When Pablo mocks Agustín, the man hits him, but Pablo is still not provoked. The situation is tense, but Pablo remains calm even when Agustín claims he rapes horses. Pablo replies that they are smarter than the people, and says he has been thinking all day about the bridge, since they are led by a woman with her brains between her thighs and a foreigner who will destroy them. Pilar is enraged and tells him to leave.

Topic Tracking: Women 13
Topic Tracking: Foreigners 10
Topic Tracking: Loyalty 10

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