For Whom the Bell Tolls: Novel Summary: Chapter 28

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Summary

In time the shooting stops and Jordan realizes it is over and that El Sordo and his men are dead. Maria brings the cooked hares shot earlier by Rafael to the crestfallen men. Meanwhile, the Nationalist Lieutenant Berrendo leads his cavalry through the forest. One horse carries the bundled up heads of the dead men. He prays to the Virgin Mary for his dead friend. Anselmo also begins to pray to the Virgin Mary for the fist time since joining the movement and feels better for having done so. He continues to pray that he will perform well when he and Jordan blow up the bridge.
Analysis
Both Anselmo and Lieutenant Berrendo pray the same prayer to the Virgin simultaneously. Simply, they are both Spanish men with the same cultural and religious upbringing. Berrendo rides his horse as the sun shines through a grove of trees that resemble a cathedral. Quite possibly Hemingway had in mind the groves of trees that served as religious sites during pagan times. After all, despite the modern technological advances of airplanes and automatic weapons, Berrendo has just taken heads from corpses for the purpose of identification as the primitive Celts who inhabited this same region did thousands of years ago. How far has man really progressed when it comes to war?

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