Study Guide

For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 5

By Ernest Hemingway

Chapter 5

  • It's night now, and the stars are out. Robert Jordan leaves the cave, and finds Rafael outside singing a song with his guitar. Not that anyone really appreciates it – Pablo and Pilar call out "shut up" from the cave.
  • Rafael, who's somewhat tipsy, walks over to Robert Jordan and asks why he didn't kill Pablo. He'll have to do it sooner or later, and it's what all of them wanted anyway.
  • Robert Jordan admits to having considered it, but rejected the idea.
  • Rafael's irked, and says he's "young" and without understanding, and should do it now. But Robert Jordan says that such an unprovoked killing would be repugnant.
  • So go make trouble! suggests Rafael. Robert Jordan's not having any of it.
  • Pablo then comes out of the cave, and stands by them, smoking a cigarette. He says his wife's a good woman, and tells Robert Jordan it's good that he's come, in spite of their arguments. Then he goes to corral his horses.
  • Rafael wants to follow him, to kill him or at least make sure he doesn't flee on a horse. Robert Jordan sends him off to Agustín , to tell him what's happened and make sure Pablo doesn't try to leave. He'll follow Pablo himself.
  • Walking towards the meadow (where the horses are) and sitting under a tree, Robert Jordan thinks. Should he have killed Pablo? He doesn't know. He doesn't like the idea of a stranger killing a member of an established group. He doesn't know how Pilar would have reacted. He trusts Pilar absolutely, he thinks, but does not know how she would have reacted. If Pablo were to be killed – and it would be best if he were – it should be by someone in the band.
  • Thinking of the band, he concludes that only Pilar and Anselmo really care about the Republican effort, and that Pilar's all that's holding the group together.
  • As Robert Jordan's eyes adjust to the starlight, he sees Pablo caressing a horse and feeding it. He's speaking to it, but Robert Jordan can't make out what he's saying.
  • Pablo is in fact telling the horse, his "big good little pony" and that, basically, it's his only friend.
  • Robert Jordan, convinced that Pablo is not going to try anything, returns to the cave.