For Whom the Bell Tolls: Novel Summary: Chapter 18

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Summary

Jordan decides that being with Pedro is like being on a merry-go-round and that he has ridden on the wheel twice. Pedro when drunk is at first abusive and then when he realizes he had made those he has been abusing angry, he becomes friendly. Jordan decides he has had enough and does not want to repeat the cycle and remains distant toward Pablo when he attempts to make conversation. He dreams of returning to Madrid with Maria so he can introduce her to his Russian friend, the journalist Karkov whom he met during his sojourn with the communist Russians at the luxurious Gaylord hotel. He recalls how na�ve he was at the time and then how much of the real world he learned at the Gaylord. Many of the so-called peasant leaders, he learned, are not authentic at all and merely manufactured so the people will embrace them and fight for the Cause. And, although Jordan has begun to see the realities of war, he nevertheless embraces the Cause wholeheartedly.
Analysis
The communist leaders are here brought to task by Hemingway for their uncaring methodology, their love of luxury and general ineptitude. Jordan realizes that the feeling he experienced at the beginning of the Revolution was like a religious awakening, corresponding, he thinks, to that experienced by young doctors and young soldiers. But then, it fades in time when reality sets in. So, Jordan has come to question the validity of his earlier dedication to the Republican Cause and now wonders at its passing. However, he isn't yet ready to let go and still clings to the Cause.
Although religion has been outlawed as part of the communist uprising in Spain, here religion comes into play. Jordan compares his early association with the Cause to first communion and the fervent sense of dedication comparable to the time when he viewed Chartres Cathedral in France. Now, however, the original patina has turned to rust as Jordan finds himself disillusioned. The communists are not at all concerned with saving lives. Actually one leader has been keeping two wounded Russian soldiers hidden in a hotel room and arranges for them to be poisoned when their presence becomes a threat.

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