The Maltese Falcon

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The Maltese Falcon Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After leaving the hotel, Spade meets with his lawyer, Sid Wise, at his law office. Sid recounts the story that Iva told him during his meeting with her. Sid says that she was following Archer the night he was murdered because she wanted to know if he was cheating on her. While following Archer, she realized that he was just at work shadowing a couple. Satisfied that he was not cheating, she drove around for awhile and then returned home. After Sid finishes the story, Spade says that although that may be the truth, he cannot trust anything either he or she says.
At this point there are two layers of deception. Spade cannot trust that Iva told Sid the truth and he cannot trust Sid because he may be telling a fake story that he and Iva made up together in order to deceive Spade. With so many layers of possible deceptions, Spade realizes that there is so much out of his control.
Themes
Lies and Deceptions  Theme Icon
Fate and Death Theme Icon
Spade arrives at back at his office and finds Effie waiting for him. She tells Spade that Brigid never showed up at her home so she came back to the office to find him. Confused, Spade says he put Brigid in the cab himself before leaving to meet Gutman. Spade goes to where the cabs line up outside his office and finds the driver who took Brigid. The driver tells him that she asked to stop for a newspaper, he got her one, and they kept driving until she asked him to change direction so that she could be dropped off at the Ferry Building. Spade heads off to buy a copy of the newspaper.
Unlike his mistrust for Sid, Spade trusts that Effie isn’t lying about Brigid not showing up to her apartment. Effie may be the only character whom Spade has complete trust in.
Themes
Lies and Deceptions  Theme Icon
Masculinity, Femininity, and Sexuality  Theme Icon
After finding nothing of use in the paper, Spade lets himself into Brigid’s hotel room with the key she gave him but he finds nothing there either. When Spade returns to the office, the young man is waiting for him outside his office door. Spade notices that the young man is pointing a gun at him from within his coat pocket. The young man says Gutman wants to see him, so they go together to Gutman’s hotel room. Only a few steps from Gutman’s hotel room, Spade jumps the young man and takes the two automatic pistols he had hidden, one in each pocket. Now in control of the guns, Spade knocks on Gutman’s door.
Again, Spade shows his fighting skills when he disarms the young man without the guns even going off. While Spade carries no guns, the boy carries two, showing that he’s trying to compensate for his youth with more firepower. Guns are normally symbols of masculinity, so the boy thinks he can increase his masculinity by having two guns. And yet Spade once again demonstrates that a truly masculine man needs no guns at all.
Themes
Masculinity, Femininity, and Sexuality  Theme Icon