John Le Carré's The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

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In the secret service, trust between an agent and their agency is a necessity for success, but double agents and the emphasis on secrecy can make trust a difficult condition. In John Le Carré’s, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, the aftermath of World War II emphasizes the idea of conflict and secrecy between East Germany, West Germany, and Britain. Leamas is an agent for the Circus and he is set up by his boss, Control, to kill Fidler, a member of the Abteilung. Control tells Leamas that the goal of the mission is to kill Mundt, a member of the Abteilung, but, Leamas is unaware that Mundt is actually a double agent for the Abteilung and the Circus. During the book, Leamas almost hits another car with a father and his kids. Twice in the book, Leamas references a vision he has after almost hitting the car of the children sitting in the back, waving and laughing, while their father drives away. Although Leamas would never admit it, the children in the back of the car are symbolic of him as they are both characterized by the same qualities of oblivion, trust, and helplessness. Obliviousness entails there is a lack of information and therefore a reasonable understanding of the situation is impossible. When Leamas is late for a meeting with…show more content…
Leamas explains to Liz that in the secret service they are part of a war that is “fought with a wastage of innocent life sometimes.” Leamas, guided by his oblivion, ultimately becomes one of these “wasted innocent lives,” along with the children. In the end, he is just another body like the “torn” bodies of the “murdered refugees.” As a force so small in comparison to those around him, Leamas is incapable of making an impact, even though he is unable to recognize this. Oblivion hinders the ability to recognize that greater forces will always destroy smaller
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