Chapter 41 Notes from For Whom the Bell Tolls

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For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 41

The guerrillas proceed softly. Robert Jordan reminds them tediously of the plan, angering Pilar. Pablo worries that Agustín will shoot him "accidentally." He says they still lack horses but subtly implying death, says they will all "leave on horses." Robert Jordan wonders if he is planning a suicide mission and is glad not to know the five men. He shakes Pablo's hand and expects it to be like touching a reptile or leper, but it is honest and strong. Pablo apologizes again for taking the material and says he foresees success. Pilar asks if they are faggots and tells Robert Jordan to go before Pablo steals the rest of their explosives. Pablo says Robert Jordan understands him and she replies neither God nor his mother could understand him. They bicker cheerfully.

Robert Jordan and Maria's goodbye is awkward, and he feels like a schoolboy not knowing whether or not to kiss a girl goodnight. He feels young, as when he left for school for the first time, embarrassed by his father's sentimentality. He tells himself all of them feel too young for what they are about to do, but this is no time for a second childhood.

He leaves with Agustín and Anselmo and they and Fernando wish each other good luck. Agustín comments on Fernando's naive lack of fear. They climb down through the pines to the point where Anselmo and Robert watched the first day, and see where the bridge joins the road, and decide where to put the machine gun. Agustín will stay with the gun, where he can see the road and the bridge, and Anselmo and Robert Jordan will kill the sentries. If they cannot, then Agustin must shoot the sentries. After the explosion, when Pablo and the men come, he must fire above them so the enemy cannot follow. He asks if Agustín understands and the man says that it is the same as he has explained before. Agustín seems to have faith that they will make it, asking for cigarettes for afterward.

Robert Jordan asks if Anselmo is sure about the location of the sentry, and when Anselmo tells him yes, he has a feeling of deja vu, having asked a question after already knowing the answer. Anselmo asks him to repeat it once more. Robert Jordan tells him again, and advises him to look at the soldiers as if they were only targets, and not human. As a hunter, he should have no problem. Robert Jordan remembers what Anselmo said about killing-how it must be an order, and battle must be described exactly, so that he has no urge to run. He thinks again of his father and remains unsentimental. He prepares the gun, lying on the pine-needle floor, waiting for daylight.

Topic Tracking: Loyalty 20
Topic Tracking: Bravery 21
Topic Tracking: Women 24

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