For Whom the Bell Tolls: Novel Summary: Chapter 12

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Summary

On the way back to their camp, Maria and Jordan notice how tired Pilar has become and force the proud woman to rest, but not without a fight. As they sit resting, Pilar apologizes to Maria for calling her a whore and attempts to explain that she is jealous of Jordan because Maria no longer belongs to her: "yes, he can have thee, but I am jealous" (154). Maria reassures Pilar of her undying love and puts her head on her lap. Pilar leaves the couple alone so they can make love. Jordan is insistent about returning with her but Maria says to let her go. She knows that Maria should be loved before Jordan blows up the bridge.
Analysis
Although Pilar has been throwing Maria at Jordan she is also jealous and seems confused about her anger. Although Pilar likes and respects Jordan, and wants Maria to heal from the rape she endured in prison, she admits feeling jealous. Like Jordan, Pilar now calls Maria "little rabbit," which suggests fertility. At first, it would be easy to dismiss her feelings as maternal concern over losing a daughter, but Hemingway here hints at a sexual connection: "I am a woman made for men. I do not make perversions. I only tell you something true" (155). Pilar strokes Maria's ear and her cheek while making this speech and looks into the distance.
Pilar looks at the snow on the distant mountains and comments about how awful it is. Snow here symbolizes approaching death, as it does in James Joyce's short story, "The Dead." Pilar remarks, "What an illusion is snow"; it adds beauty and covers things up (154). Pilar is ill and tired, and readers at this point wonder whether, like Pablo, she is also sick and tired of the fight for the Republic. Is she as baffled over her feelings about the revolution as she is about Maria?

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