30 Unforgettable Quotes From Hemingway's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'

Hemingway's Novel About an American Fighter in the Spanish Civil War

Garry Cooper in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Getty Images

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a famous novel by Ernest Hemingway. Here are a few quotes from the novel.

  1. "I would always rather not know. Then, no matter what can happen, it was not me that talked."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 1
  2. "'I don't like that sadness,' he thought. That sadness is bad. That's the sadness they bet before they quit or betray. That is the sadness that comes before the sell-out."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 1
  1. "But with our without God, I think it is a sin to kill. To take the life of another is to me very grave. I will do it whenever necessary but I am not of the race of Pablo."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 3
  2. "One cup of it took the place of the evening papers, of all the old evenings in cafés, of all chestnut trees that would be in bloom now in this month, of the great slow horses of the outer boulevards, of book shops, of kiosques, and of galleries, of the Parc Montsouris, of the Stade Buffalo, and of the Butte Chaumont, of the Guarangy Trust Company and the Ile de la Cité, of Foyot's old hotel, and of being able to read and relax in the evening; of all things he had enjoyed and forgotten and that came back to him when he tasted that opaque, bitter, tongue-numbing, brain-warming, stomach-warming, idea-changing liquid alchemy."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 4
  1. "To make war all you need is intelligence. But to win you need talent and material."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 9
  2. "Look at the ugliness. Yet one has a feeling within one that blinds a man while he loves you. You, with that feeling, blind him, and blind yourself. Then, one day, for no reason, he sees you as ugly as you really are and he is not blind anymore and then you see yourself as ugly as he sees you and you lose your man and your feeling... After a while, when you are as ugly as I am, as ugly as women can be, then, as I say after a while the feeling, the idiotic feeling that you are beautiful, grows slowly in one again. It grows like a cabbage. And then, when the feeling is grown, another man sees you and thinks you are beautiful and it is all to do over."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 10
  1. "You only heard the statement of the loss. You did not see the father fall as Pilar made him see the fascists die in that story she had told by the stream. You knew the father died in some courtyard, or against some wall, or in some field or orchard, or at night, in the lights of a truck, beside some road. You had seen the lights of the car from down the hills and heard the shooting and afterwards you had come down to the road and found the bodies. You did not see the mother shot, nor the sister, nor the brother. You heard about it; you heard the shots; and you saw the bodies."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 11
  2. "Then just shut up about what we are going to do afterwards, will you, Inglés? You go back to the Republic and you take your piece with you and leave us others alone here to decide what part of these hills we'll die in."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 11
  3. "For her everything was red, orange, gold-red from the sun on the closed eyes, and it all was that color, all of it, the filling, the possessing, the having, all of that color, all in a blindness of that color."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 13
  4. "Was there ever a people whose leaders were as truly their enemies as this one?"
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 13
  1. "Maria can tell them about how some of the blue-shirted crusaders for the true faith sat on her head while others twisted her arms and pulled her skirts up and stuffed them in her mouth."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 13
  2. "It was like the excitement of the battle except it was clean... In a snowstorm it always seemed, for a time, as though there were no enemies. In a snowstorm the wind could blow a gale; but it blew a white cleanness and the air was full of a driving whiteness and all things were changed and when the wind stopped there would be the stillness. This was a big storm and he might as well enjoy it. It was ruining everything, but he might as well enjoy it."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 14
  3. "Here it is the shift from deadliness to normal family life that is the strangest."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 18
  1. "You learned the dry-mouthed, fear-purged purging ecstasy of battle and you fought that summer and that fall for all the poor in the world against all tyranny, for all the things you believed in and for the new world you had been educated into."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 18
  2. "In the night he awoke and held her tight as though she were all of life and it was being taken away from him."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 21
  3. "If he were not of great ability he would have died last night. It seems to me you do not understand politics, Inglés, nor guerrilla warfare. In politics and this other the first thing is to continue to exist. Look how he continued to exist last night."
    - Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 23

17. "In war cannot say what one feels."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Chapter 25

18. "It is right, he told himself, not reassuringly, but proudly. I believe in the people and their right to govern themselves as they wish. But you mustn't believe in killing, he told himself. You must do it as a necessity but you must not believe in it. If you believe in it the whole thing is wrong."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch.

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19. "[El Sordo] was not at all afraid of dying but he was angry at being on this hill which was only utilizable as a place to die... Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it or fear of it in his mind."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 27

20. "Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshing with the grain flailed out and the chaff blowing. Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hill and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 27

21. "There is no language so filthy as Spanish. There are words for all the vile words in English and there are other words and expressions that are used only in countries where blasphemy keeps pace with the austerity of religion."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch.

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22. "I guess really good soldiers are really good at very little else."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 30

23. "There is no finer and no worse people in the world. No kinder people and no crueler."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 31

24. "It was easier to live under a regime than fight it."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch.

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25. "His rage began to thin as he exaggerated more and more and spread his scorn and contempt so widely and unjustly that he could no longer believe in it himself."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 35

26. "That isn't much of a wedding present. But is not a good night's sleep supposed to be priceless? You had a good night's sleep. See if you can wear that like a ring on your finger."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 35

27. "There isn't any need to deny everything there's been just because you are going to lose it."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 38

28. "This was the greatest gift that he had, the talent that fitted him for war; that ability not to ignore but to despise whatever bad ending there could be. This quality was destroyed by too much responsibility for others or the necessity of undertaking something ill planned or badly conceived."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 39

29. "His gray face had a look of decay. His face looked as though it were modeled from the waste material you find under the claws of a very old lion."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch. 42

30. "In his mind he was commanding troops; he had the right to interfere and this he believed to constitute command."
- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ch.

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