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For Whom the Bell Tolls

For Whom the Bell Tolls


by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls Foreignness and 'The Other' Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #10

Those are the flowers of Spanish chivalry. What a people they have been. What sons of bitches from Cortez, Pizarro, Menendez de Avila all down through Enrique Lister to Pablo. And what wonderful people. There is no finer and no worse people in the world. No kinder people and no crueler. And who understands them? Not me, because if I did I would forgive it all. To understand is to forgive. That's not true. Forgiveness has been exaggerated. Forgiveness is a Christian idea and Spain has never been a Christian country. It has always had its own special idol worship within the Church. Otra Virgen mas. I suppose that was why they had to destroy the virgins of their enemies. Surely it was deeper with them, with the Spanish religion fanatics, than it was with the people. The people had grown away from the Church because the Church was in the government and the government had always been rotten. This was the only country that the reformation never reached. They were paying for the Inquisition all right. (31.163)

Another reflection on the brutality of the Spanish and the way it was connected to the Spanish church. Robert Jordan seems to want to see the Civil War as a product of the romanticized or reverential (treating it as something sacred or "high") attitude towards violence natural to Spain's native population. That "no finer and no worse people in the world" bit is also the short story on of his love-hate relationship with Spain.

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