Study Guide

For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 24

By Ernest Hemingway

Chapter 24

  • Chow time. Robert Jordan and Agustín are eating hearty meat and cheese sandwiches, and drinking wine.
  • Robert Jordan has cut some onions, and they have a thoughtful conversation about onions, about the dangers of onion breath, and whether or not it is proper to eat onions for breakfast. Agustín does not think it is.
  • Agustín somehow moves from onions to talking about Kashkin. There's a great difference between Robert Jordan and Kashkin, he thinks.
  • Yes, says Robert Jordan. Kashkin's dead.
  • No, seriously. The difference, Robert Jordan says, is that Kashkin suffered greatly, whereas he doesn't suffer so much.
  • Neither does Agustín. Agustín only really suffers "for others."
  • This leads Agustín to talk about Robert Jordan and "the Maria." It's strange, he notes, that, whereas Pilar had zealously guarded the Maria from all of the men before Robert Jordan, she has now simply given her to him.
  • Robert Jordan says that Pilar put her in his care.
  • Which basically means, says Agustín , to "joder [have sex] with her all night." Robert Jordan says yes that's what it means.
  • Agustín wants to know what will happen after they blow the bridge. Robert Jordan says he will bring Maria with him (So that's changed).
  • Agustín feels Robert Jordan should know that he, Agustín, has also cared greatly for Maria. He also says that Robert Jordan better understand that, appearances aside, Maria is no loose woman.
  • Robert Jordan understands, and says he intends to marry Maria.
  • That pleases Agustín, because he says in Spain, a woman doesn't give herself lightly. People kill each other over that sort of thing. So it's good that Robert Jordan's going to marry Maria.
  • Robert Jordan says they have only moved so quickly because of their lack of time. They must live all their lives in a matter of hours (as he realized in his stunning metaphysical reflections on the nature of time the day before).
  • Moved, Agustín offers to help in any way he can. He offers Robert Jordan his unconditional obedience, and promises that if the situation the next day calls for him to die, he will do so gladly.
  • He's sure that any of the other band members would do the same – they're all capital fellows. Except Pablo and Rafael, who are respectively treacherous and worthless. Sordo's band is better still.
  • Just as he's starting to feel chipper, Robert Jordan hears the sound of automatic rifle fire in the distance. Looking at Primitivo, he sees him pointing up the mountain, to the "high country." There's fighting at Sordo's.
  • Agustín wants to go aid them, but Robert Jordan refuses. They must stay put.

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