Saturday, October 9, 2010

Outline Story of For Whom the Bell Tolls

The Situation
Robert Jordan, an American volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, is given the assignment of blowing up an important bridge in the Guadarrama mountains. The significance of the bridge is that it is situated on the road which is the only supply line for the Fascists. The bridge is to be blown up when the attack on the pass by the Republican forces starts so that the Fascists cannot bring in either supplies or reinforcements. Anselmo, a guerrilla, leads Jordan across the Fascist lines to the hide-out of Pablo.

Pablo’s Resistance to the Plan
Pablo immediately recognizes the danger implicit in the plan because not only is it risky but he will have to move out of these hills after the bridge has been blown up. He is sick of being hunted.
The Guerrillas’ Bands
This band consists of Pablo, the leader and his gypsy wife, Pilar. Besides these two there is a young girl, Maria, who falls in love with Robert Jordan. Rafael, the gypsy, is useless as a guerrilla. Agustin, a youngman, and three other men constitute the entire band. Another band headed by El Sardo is also there in the vicinity. Pilar is for blowing up the bridge if it can help the cause.
Jordan Inspects the Bridge
Anselmo guides Jordan to a point from which he can watch the bridge unobserved. Jordan sketches the bridge to calculate how much dynamite is needed to blow it up, and where to place the sticks. The bridge is guarded by sentries on either bank of the stream, and there are two pickets for sentries. In order to destroy the bridge, the pickets will have to be destroyed too.
Pablo Escapes Being Shot Dead
Jordan is informed that Pablo is capable of treachery. He also learns that the band is divided on the question whether the bridge is to be blown up or not. Pablo is against it, and the rest are for it. Pilar is the new leader and supports Jordan’s plan. In the heated argument that follows, Jordan at one time is tempted to kill Pablo but being uncertain of his own position desists. Jordan consults Pilar who approves of his decision of not killing Pablo.
Maria Comes to Jordan’s Sleeping Bag
Maria, who was the daughter of a village Mayor and was a victim of Fascist atrocities, comes to Jordan’s sleeping bag at night. She has been sent there by, Pilar. They make love that very night. For Maria, Jordan is the first man whom she has loved. Jordan regards the whole affair as a windfall because h cannot think loving a woman on a permanent basis, especially whets he is carrying out a dangerous assignment.
Fascists Know of the Attack
Next morning many Fascist planes are sighted which strike terror in the hearts of these guerrillas, even though there is no bombardment in the area. Anselmo and Rafael are assigned by Jordan the tasks of watching the road and the pickets respectively. Fernando, who has returned from Segovia informs Jordan fan that there are rumours circulating in Segovia that some bridges will be blown up in this area as a prelude to a Republican attack on these
Pilar Reveals Pablo’s Past
Leaving the explosives in Agustin’s charge,  Pilar, Maria and. Jordan set out for El Sardo’s camp. On the way, Pilar narrates how Pablo had destroyed all the Fascists in his home town at start of the revolution. It was a cruel operation, but the worst came when the Fascists retook the town.
El Sardo Meets Jordan
El Sardo confirms Fernando’s information. He also realizes how difficult the assignment is but he agrees to help El Sardo’s part will be to destroy one picket while Jordan plants explosives. He also decides to steal sore horses for the retreat to the Gredos.
Jordan and Maria Make Love Again
On their way back, Pilar goes ahead leaving Jordan and Maria together so that they may make love. Pilar intuitively knows that the lovers do not have much time at their disposal. After making love, Jordan’s head is very clear and he wonders whether he could marry Maria. It is against the Communist discipline that he has accepted for the period of the war. He wonders whether it were possible to lead a life of seventy years in seventy hours.
Snow Spoils Jordan’s Plan
An unexpected snowstorm overtakes Jordan, Maria and Pilar before they search the camp. In the cave, Pablo describes to Jordan how he came to have Pilar, who was formerly a bull-fighter’s woman. Pablo worked for a horse contractor in Zaragoza where he met Pilar. Pablo teases Jordan that his plan cannot work now that it is snowing outside.
Anselmo and Rafael Report
There has been much movement on the road that day because the Fascists are carrying their reinforcements to the site of the attack. Jordan also learns how often and when the guards change.
Pablo Escapes Death Again
Pablo is drinking heavily. He teases Jordan for being a false _professor, for making love to Maria, and for his foolish plan. Jordan cannot fire his pistol inside the cave because of the presence of dynamite there. Agustin picks up a quarrel with Pablo so that he may kill Pablo but the latter backs out of the quarrel. Pablo is convinced that Jordan is a bird of ill omen. He leaves the cave to have a look at the horses but he stands near the mouth of the cave to hear how his fate is being decided. It is decided that Pablo .should be liquidated but Pablo on his return declares that he is with the group and thus survives.
Jordan Reflects on His Past and Future
Jordan is aware of the possibility of his death ; so he instructs Anselmo how to blow up the bridge if the former dies. Maria’s love makes him wish to live with her for a long time. He recalls how Karkov, the Russian journalist, had been instructing him in the Marxist ideology which does not go well with his love for Maria. However, he is determined to blow up the bridge at all costs.
Jordan-Maria Affair
Maria comes to Jordan’s bag for the second night also. Jordan promises to marry Maria after this assignment, even though Maria considers marriage of no consequence ; for her Jordan’s love is enough.
Jordan Shoots a Fascist Cavalryman
Jordan while lying in the bag hears the sound of the arrival. of a horse. He sees a Fascist soldier on horseback, whom he shoots at once. Pablo takes away the horse to hide. Jordan predicts that there will be more cavalry to deal with, so he prepares to meet this threat.
Preparations For Escape
Jordan camouflages a machinegun so that if the cavalrymen penetrate the camp they may shoot at them. Horses are kept in readiness for escape, while their luggage is being packed. Jordan wants to avoid a confrontation that day because a battle will destroy his plan to blow, up the bridge. If the worst came to worst he would take Anselmo with him and escape, and blow up the bridge ater. Rafael, who is on duty, had been negligent in his watch to let the first cavalryman come in.
More Cavalrymen Appear
First, a batch of four cavalrymen comes following the trail left by their companion. They come very close to the blind but do not see these guerrillas. They follow the trail and go out of this area. Twenty more cavalrymen appear. They also leave the area without creating any problem. Jordan’s restraint saves the guerrillas’ lives.
El Sardo’s Fight
The Fascist cavalry following the trail reach El Sardo’s camp where a battle ensues. El Sardo pushes back the attack, reaches the flat top of a hill in a wounded condition, digs in, and prepares for his end. In the afternoon Fascist planes come and bombard El Sardo’s hill and return to Segovia. Agustin and others who want to go to El Sardo’s help ‘are restrained by Jordan in whose judgment it would be no more than a Quixotic gesture. In the evening Pablo and Anselmo bring back reports of El Sardo’s end. El Sardo’s end increases the element of risk in Jordan’s plan.
Andres Marty Leaves For Golz’s Headquarters
Jordan realizes the futility of Golz’s attack because he knows that the Fascists will not be taken by surprise. All preparations for meeting the attack have been completed. Jordan decides to send Andres Marty to Golz advising him to cancel the attack. Andres Marty leaves for Navacerrada with the despatch.
Jordan’s Psychological Problems
Jordan wants to survive now so that he may live with Maria but it has nothing to do with his fear of death. His father who had committed suicide makes Jordan ashamed of himself. Jordan prefers his kinship with his grandfather who had fought in the American Civil War as a Republican and acquitted himself well. Jordan is under some psychological compulsion to prove that he is not a coward, and that he will face death boldly. Despite his despatch to Golz, Jordan knows that he will have to destroy the bridge.
Maria Narrates Her Past
On the third night Maria informs Jordan that they cannot make love because there is “soreness and much pain”. Jordan is disappointed butt consoles himself. Maria describes how she was raped by many Fascists, and how she was rescued by Pilar. Jordan assures her that he loves her as he loves Spain, and all the comrades who have died in defending this country. Jordan’s resolve to destroy the bridge, is strengthened by his knowledge of Maria’s suffering.
Pablo Betrays Jordan
At about 2 o’clock in the morning Pilar comes to Jordan to inform him that Pablo has disappeared taking with him something from Jordan’s, rucksacks. They are an exploder, detonators, fuse and caps. Pablo has also taken with him two of the best horses. Pilar feels guilty of having been negligent in her duty of guarding Jordan’s equipment. As the loss is irreparable Jordan decides to get some sleep. He brings the rucksacks out of the cave so that he may guard them himself. The danger to his life now has increased many times.
Maria Makes a Soothing Gesture
Towards dawn while Jordan lay fuming and fretting Maria asks him to make, love to her. On this occasion he has a sort of mystic experience in love Maria becomes for him not only his wife but his sister and his’ daughter as well. His head being clear now, he makes a new plan to destroy the bridge.
Andres Marty’s Futile Journey
Andres Marty, in the meanwhile, slowly moves towards his destination. The arrangements for the attack are complete. When the message finally reaches General Golz, the Republican planes are taking off to go and bombard the pass.
Jordan Improvises
In the morning, with the luggage packed, Jordan gives last minute instructions to the remaining guerrillas who know that they may not live to see another day. He is going to use hand grenades instead of detonators and the fuse. The exploding will be done by pulling the pins of hand grenades mechanically. The bridge will be destroyed but so will be the band that has agreed to help Jordan. Pilar is to lead the attack on the lower Agustin is to man the machine gun, and fire upon every approach object while Jordan plants the dynamite sticks.
Pablo Returns
As the details are being finalized Pablo returns with five more guerrillas who are brave but stupid. He undertakes to attack the upper post. He has destroyed the stolen equipment ; so Jordan’s new plan stands. After breakfast, they move to their respective duties.
The Attack
Anselmo and Jordan have to shoot the sentries on duty. As the morning light filters through the leaves Jordan hears a thud, the signal that the Republican attack has started. Jordan and Anselmo shoot the two sentries. Pilar and Pablo attack their respective posts. Jordan, with assistance from Anselmo, plants the dynamite sticks. Pablo has to deal with not only the post but also some vehicles and a tank. Finally, the bridge is blown up. Anselmo dies on the spot. Pilar loses two men. Pablo shoots the five guerrillas who have helped hi in over-running the post. The band assembles near the horses and prepares to leave.
Jordan is Hurt
Maria is happy to receive Jordan in her arms. Agustin accuses Pablo of murder but Jordan keeps his mouth shut. They move down a slope to cross the road at a point about 200 yards from the bridge. They cross the road successfully except Jordan whose horse is hit by a bullet as a result of which it falls. Jordan’s left thigh-bone breaks and he cannot resume the journey. After a hurried leave-taking, the guerrillas escape towards the Gredos, leaving Jordan behind to deal with the Fascist cavalry that is bound to chase them. Jordan awaits his end lying on the pine-needles. He is tempted to shoot himself but he decides against it. Lieutenant Berrendo who fought against El Sardo is moving towards Jordan, who aims his rifle at him. It is obvious both will die at the end.

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