Book Notes Chapter 42 Notes from For Whom the Bell Tolls

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For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 42

Andrés and Gomez reach the control on the road to Navacerrada, on which trucks go back and forth from the mountains. They show the safe-conduct pass from Lt.-Col. Miranda and he and Gomez are told to continue, but to turn off their lights. They reach another control, where there has been an accident and an officer frantically tells trucks to back up so that they can clear it, but more keep arriving. Gomez finally gets their safe-conduct pass back, and they proceed quickly, passing more troops. Andrés sees their tense faces. Gomez does not notice, and feels pride for this army of the Republic. Andrés is excited, having never been on a motorcycle before, and the army impresses him too.

They stop to ask where headquarters is. André Marty, who Gomez recognizes as one of France's great modern revolutionary figures, arrives. "His gray face had a look of decay. His face looked as though it were modeled from the waste material you find under the claws of a very old lion." Chapter 42, pg. 417 Gomez does not know that the man has become embittered, and that to question him is dangerous. He tells him that they have a message from behind fascist lines. He gives Marty the dispatch and the man orders them arrested. The guard tells them Marty may be a great leader, but he is crazy, with a mania for shooting people whose politics he does not like. He tells them Golz' location two miles away, but Marty would have his head if he let them go. They are brought to him and have a strong drink. Andrés knows that he will not make it back in time, but must get the dispatch back and deliver it. Gomez tries to tell him that the dispatch is urgent and the man replies that everything is and interrogates him, suspicious that the dispatch came from behind fascist lines. Gomez wonders with horror if Golz is a fascist too. Marty orders them taken away and Andrés is in disbelief that he will not deliver the dispatch. They both shout curses, that he is a crazy murderer. Marty is unfazed. He knows that he and Golz are of different politics, and Golz disapproves of his military maneuvers. He looks at the map. "In his mind he was commanding troops; he had the right to interfere and this he believed to constitute command." Chapter 42, pg. 423 Hemingway writes that it is doubtful that things would have gone any differently even without Marty, for the events were already in motion, and it is as hard to stop military movement as to initiate it.

Karkov enters and they talk; Marty is nervous, for Karkov always seems to have the upper hand. Karkov asks contemptuously about the message for Golz and Marty realizes maybe he was wrong and asks innocently what dispatch. Karkov tells him to give it up, for it has been delayed long enough, and says he will find out how untouchable Marty is. Andrés and Gomez give the dispatch to a man who gives it to Duval, who Robert Jordan said to give it to. Duval knows the enemy anticipates the surprise attack, and tries to cancel the bombardment. He wonders if it is just a holding attack and will take responsibility if he is wrong. He finally reaches Golz, who says it is too late, it is a shame, and they are screwed. He knows that if all goes as planned, the bombs will fall and the tanks will proceed and those guerrillas on the two ridges will fight along with his brigades. He is nauseated to know from the dispatch that there is no one on the ridges. He thinks of how things could be and how they have become and tells Duval they must do the little that is possible. Duval cannot hear over the roar of the planes, and thinks desperately that maybe something will happen in their favor.

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