Darkness at Noon

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Hare-lip (Young Kieffer) Character Analysis

Another fellow prisoner, who seems to be especially interested in Rubashov from the start, though Rubashov isn’t certain why. Eventually, it becomes clear that Hare-lip is the son of Professor Kieffer, an old friend of Rubashov’s, and Hare-lip is attempting to lighten his own sentence by accusing Rubashov of plotting to kill No. 1. Hare-lip is described as young, cowardly, and desperate to the extent that he is willing to do whatever he can to save is own life. In the end, his accusation ends up being insufficient to save him.

Hare-lip (Young Kieffer) Quotes in Darkness at Noon

The Darkness at Noon quotes below are all either spoken by Hare-lip (Young Kieffer) or refer to Hare-lip (Young Kieffer). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scribner edition of Darkness at Noon published in 2006.
The Third Hearing: 3 Quotes

“Rubashov laughed at my father, and repeated that he was a fool and a Don Quixote. Then he declared that No. 1 was no accidental phenomenon, but the embodiment of a certain human characteristic—namely, of an absolute belief in the infallibility of one’s own conviction, from which he drew the strength for his complete unscrupulousness.”

Related Characters: Hare-lip (Young Kieffer) (speaker), Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov, Professor Kieffer
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

Hare-lip has been brought in by Gletkin, presumably after having been tortured, in order to rehearse an accusation against Rubashov. Rubashov has been in something resembling Hare-lip’s position before: Rubashov falsely betrayed Arlova, and now he himself has been falsely accused. As the center of his story, Hare-lip uses a meeting between Rubashov and Hare-lip’s father, Profssor Kieffer, who was executed for refusing to change the history books in response to changing “necessities” of the Party.

Rubashov, in this anecdote, comes across as a pragmatist—he is willing to laugh and roll his eyes at No. 1, at least among friends, while also continuing to work in the service of the cause. That’s why he calls Kieffer a “Don Quixote”: he refers to the Cervantes character who pursues a hopeless quest because of his naïve idealism (this reference comes up, in fact, several times in the novel). The anecdote also serves as a reminder of Rubashov’s insistence on thinking in logical, abstract terms, even as he’s coming to question what the implications of this type of thinking are. He takes No. 1’s attitude not just as a quirk, but as indicative of a broader trend, one that can perhaps define totalitarian dictators. It’s uncertain how Hare-lip overheard this conversation, and it’s clear that what Rubashov really meant is up for question, but, in this environment of constant surveillance, such critiques are all too dangerous.

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Hare-lip (Young Kieffer) Character Timeline in Darkness at Noon

The timeline below shows where the character Hare-lip (Young Kieffer) appears in Darkness at Noon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The First Hearing: 10
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...man next to him are. 402 says they’re political, of Rubashov’s kind, not his own. “Hare-lip” is No. 400 and was tortured yesterday through steambath: while Rubashov was beaten up during... (full context)
The First Hearing: 11
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
...if he must pay for those deeds all the same. 402 taps to him that Hare-lip sends him greetings. (full context)
The First Hearing: 13
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Truth, Confession, and Performance Theme Icon
...can extract it, but there are no anaesthetics. Rubashov breaths deeply and declines, thinking of Hare-lip and the “steambath.” Back in his cell, he immediately falls asleep. The toothache eases; three... (full context)
The Second Hearing: 3
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...the canteen. The snow has been cleared from the courtyard for the prisoners to exercise: Hare-lip always looks up at Rubashov’s window. Rubashov often looks down at them, relieved not to... (full context)
The Second Hearing: 6
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...it too. 402 says that this is the night when political differences are being settled: Hare-lip has told him that executions are happening for political prisoners. Rubashov knows that executions happen... (full context)
The Third Hearing: 3
Truth, Confession, and Performance Theme Icon
...booms over him, asking if he recognizes a third person now in the room: it’s Hare-lip. When Gletkin asks if Rubashov has seen this man before, a faint memory seizes Rubashov... (full context)
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Gletkin turns to Hare-lip, who says in a deep, resounding voice, that Citizen Rubashov ordered him to poison the... (full context)
Truth, Confession, and Performance Theme Icon
Hare-lip continues, saying that his father and he had made a detour to B to visit... (full context)
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Hare-lip says that the two men talked scornfully about the present state of affairs of the... (full context)
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Truth, Confession, and Performance Theme Icon
Then Gletkin asks Hare-lip if what followed was Rubashov’s direct instigation to violence. After a silence, Gletkin asks if... (full context)
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Rubashov, after confirming that he has the right to ask questions, asks Hare-lip if he’d just finished his university studies when he and his father came to visit.... (full context)
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Truth, Confession, and Performance Theme Icon
Hare-lip looks at Gletkin in fear and astonishment. Rubashov feels fleetingly triumphant, but the feeling vanishes.... (full context)
The Grammatical Fiction: 2
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Change and the Laws of History Theme Icon
...them all: no one could unveil the truth to the world like Danton. Some like Hare-lip were silenced by fear, others by cowardice, others by the hope to save their families,... (full context)
The Grammatical Fiction: 3
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
...402, who’s been silent since Rubashov said he was capitulating, tells him that they’re fetching Hare-lip, who sends Rubashov his greetings. Peering through the spy-hole, Rubashov sees Hare-lip standing there, trembling,... (full context)