For Whom the Bell Tolls: Novel Summary: Chapter 38

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Summary

Before dawn the guerilla band find they are on edge in the cave. Pilar has not returned to sleep and she sits mending the bags from which Pablo took the dynamite and detonators. They are all very tense, and they snarl at each other. Jordan is worried that the plan that seemed so brilliant the night before is doomed. There are simply not enough men and he doesn't have the necessary materials to blow up the bridge in an effective manner. He has abandoned the hope that Andres will return with the news that Golz has cancelled the mission. In an effort to calm Jordan, Pilar tell him that all the palm reading was a way for her to gain importance, and that it really meant nothing and was mere superstition: "that is all gypsy nonsense" (387). All will be well, she assures him, "it is for this that we are born" (389). Jordan is annoyed with this talk and is gruff with her.
To everyone's surprise Pablo returns, bringing five men in tow to help with the bridge. Somewhat sheepish, he explains: "I had a moment of weakness. I went away but I am come back, at bottom I am not a coward" (389). Pilar tells him he is welcome and Jordan is relieved to see him because now the mission just might succeed. Pablo tells Pilar that he has found his old self. He wasn't lonely when he left, but the night alone was torture, and he learned a lesson: "there is a loneliness that cannot be borne (390). Pilar feels happy and in a fond voice she responds: "I suppose if a man has something once, always something of it remains" (391).
Analysis
Hemingway utilizes the biblical story of Jesus agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he is crucified to bring to light the agony suffered by Jordan as he waits before dawn. Clearly, Pablo represents Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus by selling him to the Romans for thirty pieces of silver. Earlier, one of the guerillas talks about selling out the Republicans to the Fascists, so it is conceivable that Pablo could have sold information about their whereabouts and about the Insurrection. Indeed, Pilar says upon his return: "Thy predecessor Judas Iscariot hanged himself." Jordan knows he is going to die just as Jesus did when he cried out to God, "why hast though forsaken me?" Jordan is willing to sacrifice himself for a cause to help others in need. As an American, there is nothing in it for him personally. Pablo, however, is not Judas. He came back to help Jordan succeed with the mission. He too is now ready to martyr himself anew for the Cause he has spent years supporting. Pablo here has regained not only his self-respect, but his leadership position in the group. Pilar's power has been usurped and life has returned to normal. In a way then, Jordan can die because his new "family" will be cared for.

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