Darkness at Noon

Darkness at Noon

Darkness at Noon The First Hearing: 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The porter Wassilij, a thin old man with a scar on his neck from the Civil War, also stands fearfully at the door. He and Rubashov had been in the same regiment: now his daughter occasionally reads Rubashov’s speeches to him from the newspaper, though Wassilj has struggled to picture Rubashov’s character in them. He sometimes falls asleep during the speeches, but he wakes up at the ends, during cheers for the International, for the Revolution, and for No. 1. He always says “Amen” under his breath so his daughter doesn’t hear, and then goes to bed, where a photo of Rubashov hangs by the portrait of No. 1, though he’d get in trouble if anyone knew that.
Wassilij and Rubashov are not members of the same social class, but their shared experience in the army has forged a sense of solidarity (one that, as we’ll see, the Party strives to replace with a sense of the collective as more important than individual relationships). Here we also learn that while Rubashov is a loyal Party member, Wassilij clings to an older, Christian belief system, as well as a firm sense of loyalty to Rubashov, not just to No. 1.
Themes
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
The men continue pounding on the door, and a woman begins to scream, but one officer orders Wassilij to tell her to be quiet, which he does. The younger officer kicks open the door and stands by Rubashov’s bed. Rubashov looks at them sleepily as they announce that they’re arresting him, “Citizen Rubashov, Nicholas Salmanovitch.” Rubashov dismissively tells them to put the gun away, then asks for a warrant and reads it.
The dreamlike mood of the last several pages yields suddenly to violence, as the officers make it into Rubashov’s apartment. Rubashov, though, is more tired than frightened. He treats the officers with dismissive scorn, a function of his own powerful place in the government.
Themes
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
The young boy clearly revels in brutality: ironically, Rubashov thinks about the fine generation coming up behind him. He orders the boy to pass him his dressing-gown: he reddens, and the elder official does so. The house remains silent, until someone upstairs pulls a plug and water rushes through the pipes.
Although Rubashov is no stranger to bureaucratic power himself, he understands that his generation is slowly being replaced with a new, rude, uncultivated one. The chapter ends with a collapse between his earlier dream and reality.
Themes
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Change and the Laws of History Theme Icon