Study Guide

For Whom the Bell Tolls Chapter 7

By Ernest Hemingway

Chapter 7

  • Robert Jordan awakes during the night in his robe (basically a sleeping bag) on the forest floor. He is tired, and enjoys the feeling of preparing to go back to sleep.
  • He doesn't get very far, as he feels a hand on his shoulder. It's Maria, who he instructs to get in his sleeping bag. "It's cold." (Yeah, RJ, uh huh). He calls her "little rabbit" (and will continue to do so for the rest of the book).
  • Maria's hesitant, claiming she's afraid, but she comes in. Robert Jordan puts the pistol he was fiddling with behind his head.
  • He tries to kiss her, but she has her head turned away, claiming she is ashamed. She worries he does not love her, but he tells her he does. She says she certainly loves him.
  • Maria doesn't know how to kiss, and Robert Jordan says they needn't do anything. Except remove her clothes, as she "has many" and they are bothersome. So off they go.
  • Maria asks if she can go with Robert Jordan (after the bridge) and be his woman. He says she can go, but that he will take her to a home. She insists that she will stay and be his woman.
  • When Robert Jordan asks Maria if she's ever loved before (physically, presumably), she says no, but that things "have been done to her." She worries that Robert Jordan does not love her now, but he affirms he does.
  • Maria begins to recall her rape experience, and Robert Jordan says that no one has done anything to her.
  • After a first try on the cheek, they kiss on the lips, and Robert Jordan feels "happier than he's ever been."
  • Robert Jordan notices that Maria came barefoot, and she confesses to having known she was coming to bed with him, even though she was afraid. They check the time. It's one o'clock. Plenty of timeā€¦
  • Robert Jordan asks Maria if she wants (you know). And she says she wants everything, hoping that if she makes love to Robert Jordan her past experiences will be erased. Pilar has told her they will be, and Robert Jordan says she is wise.
  • Pilar has also instructed Maria to tell Robert Jordan that she is disease-free.
  • Maria says that after she was raped, she wanted to die, but that Pilar had said if she loved someone else that would take it away.
  • Is she Robert Jordan's woman? she wants to know. He says she is his woman now, but that given what he does he cannot have a woman. Maria seems OK with being his woman now. She asks, fiercely, that they quickly get to doing "what it is they do." And they do.