For Whom the Bell Tolls: Novel Summary: Chapter 27

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Summary

El Sordo and his band of guerillas sit perched on the hill that the planes fly over. Joaquin attempts to keep the men's spirits up by quoting communist slogans. They tell him that the sons of important communists have been sent to Russia to study and remain safe. Joaquin denies such a thing initially, but then goes on to say he hopes they will return to help the Republicans.
Meanwhile, the Fascists deal with their own problems; the officers debate whether El Sordo and his men are dead yet. They are angry that the planes were not here sooner but now that they are, they await bombing the hill. Soon, all except Joaquin are dead but an officer, Lt. Berrendo, soon shoots him in the head after praying for his soul. Then he orders his men to remove all the guerillas' heads: "what a bad thing war is," he says (322).
Analysis
Hemingway points out the similarities between the Red revolutionaries and the Fascist soldiers. They are difficult to tell apart. The leaders voice the same objections to war. Each group tries to kill as many men as possible in an attempt to kill so they will not be killed. Overall, the reader concludes that violence just begets more violence and that war ultimately proves nothing. The airplane that zooms in, killing El Sordo's men in one fell swoop, shows that technology wins the day and twentieth-century man has become even more dehumanized.

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