The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
That evening in London, two men call on Liz Gold. Liz has nothing to remember Leamas by, and no mutual friend who reminds her of him except Miss Crail at the library, who had hated him. Miss Crail is frustrated because Leamas never collected his final wages. Liz keeps working at the library because it reminds her of him. Once, after he left, she had gone to his apartment. His landlord told her that two men, including a plump, short man with glasses, had come and settled Leamas’s outstanding rent.
Liz has none of Leamas’s qualms about forming a deep personal connection. She fell in love with him and hopes he will return, despite the mysterious circumstances that surround him. It is also notable that the man who came to pay Leamas’s rent was short and plump and wore glasses: just like George Smiley.
Themes
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Liz wonders why Leamas hit Ford the grocer. She knows he has a terrible temper, but feels that this was not the reason. If he had hit Ford spontaneously, she thinks, he would not have known to say goodbye to her the night before. She cannot believe that he broke things off with her just because he was sick of their relationship, and instead thinks that he always had something he planned on doing, although she has no idea what. At her Communist party branch meeting, they had discussed the incident, and even had it written up in a party newspaper as an instance of how easily the Capitalist system could turn violent. The branch treasurer, George Hanby, had spoken to a man in spectacles who had seen the incident, and had told him it happened very spontaneously.
Liz could see through Leamas’s detachment and understand it was at least partially a role he was playing for a mysterious reason. The seeming deliberateness of his fight with Ford is even more puzzling, though, because it suggests that Leamas wanted to be sent to prison. The rather absurd stretch of applying Communist ideology as an explanation for Leamas hitting Ford is not lost on Liz, because she suspects Leamas’s rage was not real, but simulated. Once again, the little man in spectacles who becomes tangentially involved is likely George Smiley. In this case, he wanted to be sure that it got around that the fight occurred spontaneously.
Themes
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Two men come to Liz’s apartment. One is short and plump, with glasses and a worried expression that makes Liz trust him. He asks Liz about her relationship with Leamas, asking if anyone else knew about their relationship, and if she was surprised that he hit Mr. Ford. Liz does not want to say too much, but she has bottled up her feelings and wants to talk, so she answers the men’s questions. She tells them that the night before Leamas hit Ford, he had told her that he had a job to do. The short man (who turns out to be George Smiley) asks Liz if she knows that Leamas had a wife and two children, but she only blushes and says that she was in love with him, although she does not know if he was in love with her.
Smiley seems to come to visit Liz to check on how much she knows and to ascertain whether Leamas broke with the spy’s practice of putting the mission above all else by sharing details about his work with Liz—and Smiley can see that Leamas forged a connection with Liz. Although what Leamas told Liz was vague, to Smiley’s mind, the fact that Liz realizes that Leamas hit Ford the grocer deliberately is a particularly troubling breach of the secrecy surrounding Leamas’s undercover mission.
Themes
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Liz asks the two men to leave, and the short man gives her a card and tells her he is a friend of Leamas’s, and to call if she ever needs help. He asks her if Leamas knew that she was in the Communist party, and she says yes. He also asks if the Party knew that she was seeing Leamas, and she says no one knew. Then Liz begins to cry and beg for information about where Leamas is. The short man says that Leamas is abroad, and that Leamas never should have said so much to her. When the men leave, Liz looks at the card, which is expensively printed and says, “Mr. George Smiley.”
Although reaching out to Liz seems like an act of kindness, it goes against Leamas’s request to Control that she be left alone after he leaves for his mission. It is unclear whether Smiley knows that he is betraying Leamas’s wishes in this way, or whether Control tricked him into doing so, but it is clearly another way in which Control is changing the plan that he agreed on with Leamas.
Themes
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
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