Study Guide

For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 30

By Ernest Hemingway

Chapter 30

  • Some time has passed, and Andrés has been gone for three hours (which is how long it should take him to deliver the message). Robert Jordan is walking back down from the upper post where he had been to see Primitivo.
  • He's thinking again, this time about the attack. It's unlikely there will be time to cancel it, as Golz himself does not have the power to do so. It would have been better to send word sooner, but most of the fascist forces Anselmo saw hadn't been moved until dark.
  • The increasingly worried Robert Jordan tells himself a miracle may happen yet. In any case, his responsibility is just to follow orders. Though it sure is disconcerting to think about those heads…
  • All the same, he hasn't done so badly for a Spanish professor from Montana.
  • Thinking back to the heads, Robert Jordan thinks of Indians and scalping, which makes him think of his grandfather (a U.S. military veteran), which makes him think of his grandfather's pistol, which makes him think of his father, who killed himself with the pistol, which makes him think of how he threw the pistol in a lake after his father's funeral.
  • Robert Jordan wishes his grandfather were here instead of him. He wants to talk to him, ask him questions. Now he has a right to have them answered.
  • He's embarrassed by his father, and he's sure his granddad would be too. He thinks his father was a coward, and didn't teach him what his grandfather could have taught him. His grandfather knew the military life, and the people in it.
  • Robert Jordan himself doesn't want to be a soldier. He just wants to win the war.
  • He reassures himself by telling himself not to think. Soon he'll be with Maria.
  • Thinking once more about the attack, Robert Jordan accepts that he will have to blow the bridge. Even if Andrés reaches Golz in time, there's no way it will be called off. He feels much more comfortable now that he feels certain of it.