Study Guide

For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 22

By Ernest Hemingway

Chapter 22

  • Robert Jordan, Agustín , Anselmo, and Primitivo are at the sentry post overlooking "the pass." It's time to make a gun emplacement (for the machine gun).
  • Nobody besides Robert Jordan seems to know how to make a gun emplacement. Agustín 's excuse is that the gun came with no instructions.
  • Robert Jordan sets up a proper emplacement, all the while explaining what makes his emplacement so good.
  • Rafael, by the way, who is "on sentry duty," is nowhere to be found.
  • Pablo passes through the pass on the horse.
  • Primitivo brings pine branches to conceal the gun.
  • Robert Jordan thinks once again that El Sordo is screwed.
  • Given that El Sordo is screwed, his own group can't risk a fight today – they can't afford to lose a single member. Not even Eladio, whose name Robert Jordan has forgotten.
  • Rafael shows up with two fat hares as his excuse for having abandoned his post. He'd heard them engaged in a "debauch" and chased them through the snow. For a while.
  • Robert Jordan mad, but his anger starts to dissipate as he hears Rafael's story. And it helps that Rafael flatters his ego by calling him a "phenomenon" for killing the cavalryman when pantless and barely awake.
  • Robert Jordan dispatches Rafael to take the hares to Pilar and bring back some food.
  • Robert Jordan sees two crows circle overhead and land in a pine tree a ways below the position, shortly thereafter joined by a third. He'll keep an eye on them. If they take off, it will let him know something's coming.
  • Thinking to himself, Robert Jordan decides that, when all is said and done, Rafael is still totally worthless.
  • Agustín and Primitivo have spent the last few minutes collecting shrubbery, the better to conceal the gun with. It's now fairly well concealed.
  • Robert Jordan sends Primitivo to a post higher up, from which he can watch the road ahead of the pass. He's to roll a stone down as a warning if anyone's coming, and then indicate the number and the direction they're coming from by raising and lowering his rifle. He's not to shoot anybody.
  • Agustín gets to be the gunner. Robert Jordan tells him he mustn't fire until the enemy comes within fifty meters, and only if he's sure they'll be entering the pass which leads to the cave.
  • This disappoints Agustín a little bit. He'd rather "make a massacre."
  • Robert Jordan does not want to make a massacre. It's important they keep themselves safe until tomorrow. There can be a massacre tomorrow.
  • Anselmo, who had gone to retrieve an axe from the camp, returns with it, and is instructed by Robert Jordan to cut some small trees to further conceal the gun.
  • A plane passes overhead, continuing until it's out of sight. Robert Jordan assures Agustín they can't be seen.
  • Just then, one of the "sentry crows" from the tree flies up.