For Whom the Bell Tolls
How we cite our quotes:
"Listen to you," Pilar said. "I have as much at stake in this as thy Roberto and I say that we are well off resting here by the stream and that there is much time. Furthermore, I like to talk. It is the only civilized thing we have. How otherwise can we divert ourselves?" (10.34)
Just like humor, talking – discussion, story-telling, whatever – is one of the few ways the band has of maintaining some sense of normality (or "civilization") in the midst of the extreme barbarity of war. It contrasts with the barbarity that war makes everyday, hence Pilar's choice of the word "civilized." In contrast to Robert Jordan's sense that getting one's duty accomplished is all that matters, Pilar thinks it's essential to set time aside for those sorts of civilizing activities, which are also what build bonds among the band members.
As the boy stood there, Maria reached up, put her arms around his neck and kissed him. Joaquin turned his head away because he was crying.
"That is as a brother," Maria said to him. "I kiss thee as a brother."
The boy shook his head, crying without making any noise.
"I am thy sister," Maria said. "And I love thee and thou hast a family. We are all thy family."
"Including the Ingles" boomed Pilar. "Isn't it true, Ingles?"
"Yes," Robert Jordan said to the boy, "we are all family, Joaquin." (11.106-111)
Many people, like Joaquin, have lost their family in the war (Maria being the most obvious example). Without family, friends become all the more important, taking on the role of family. War makes those ties much stronger than they might be otherwise, even artificially so. Robert Jordan just met this kid a few minutes ago, but both he and Pilar are quick to say they're all a family. Another thing to consider: this "we're all one big family" stuff is language the Republicans often used politically.
He was very happy with that sudden, rare happiness that can come to any one with a command in a revolutionary arm; the happiness of finding that even one of your flanks holds. If both flanks ever hold I supposed it would be too much to take, he thought. I don't know who is prepared to stand that. And if you extend along a flank, any flank, it eventually becomes one man. Yes, one man. This was not the axiom he wanted. But this was a good man. One good man. You are going to be the left flank when we have the battle. I better not tell you that yet. It's going to be an awfully small battle, he thought. But it's going to be an awfully good one. (15.86)
Robert Jordan's obviously very fond of Anselmo. But think about the connection this passage makes between individual friendships and military efforts. Finding good people, knowing their character, and being able to depend upon them are all very useful in a battle. Robert Jordan's point is that battles are ultimately made up of individuals. The problem with this way of thinking is that in making a battle plan, you also have to make instruments of your friends and put them in harm's way, which Robert Jordan is already doing in his head.