The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

by

John Le Carré

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Spy Who Came in From the Cold can help.

Alec Leamas Character Analysis

A tough, hard-drinking man of fifty, Alec Leamas has worked for the British secret service – the Circus – since World War Two. During his wartime service, he saw many innocent people killed, and he hides how traumatized he was by his experiences behind a tough exterior. He had a wife and two children, but left them many years before the novel’s beginning. He lived in the Netherlands as a child and speaks Dutch and German, but, unlike most of the members of the Circus, comes from a working-class background. He dislikes what he sees as the impractical politeness and pretension of the British upper class. At the start of the novel, Leamas has worked as the head of the Berlin station for ten years, from 1951 to 1961, building up a network of spies, most importantly Karl Riemeck, who supplied him with information about the East German state and their secret service, the Abteilung.

Alec Leamas Quotes in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The The Spy Who Came in From the Cold quotes below are all either spoken by Alec Leamas or refer to Alec Leamas. 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 Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold published in 2013.
Chapter 1 Quotes

That damned woman, thought Leamas, and that fool Karl who'd lied about her. Lied by omission, as they all do, agents the world over. You teach them to cheat, to cover their tracks, and they cheat you as well. He'd only produced her once, after that dinner in the Schürzstrasse last year. Karl had just had his big scoop and Control had wanted to meet him. Control always came in on success. They'd had dinner together—Leamas, Control, and Karl. Karl loved that kind of thing. He turned up looking like a Sunday School boy, scrubbed and shining, doffing his hat and all respectful. Control had shaken his hand for five minutes and said: "I want you to know how pleased we are, Karl, damn pleased." Leamas had watched and thought, "That'll cost us another couple of hundred a year." When they'd finished dinner Control pumped their hands again, nodded significantly and implying that he had to go off and risk his life somewhere else, got back into his chauffeur-driven car.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Karl Riemeck, Control, Elvira
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

"I wondered whether you were tired. Burnt out." There was a long silence.
"That's up to you," Leamas said at last.
"We have to live without sympathy, don’t we? That's impossible of course. We act it to one another, all this hardness; but we aren't like that really, I mean. . . one can't be out in the cold all the time; one has to come in from the cold. . . d'you see what I mean?"
Leamas saw. He saw the long road outside Rotterdam, the long straight road beside the dunes, and the stream of refugees moving along it; saw the little aeroplane miles away, the procession stop and look towards it; and the plane coming in, nearly over the dunes; saw the chaos, the meaningless hell, as the bombs hit the road.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Control
Related Symbols: The Cold, World War II
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

"Thus we do disagreeable things, but we are defensive. That, I think, is still fair. We do disagreeable things so that ordinary people here and elsewhere can sleep safely in their beds at night. Is that too romantic? Of course, we occasionally do very wicked things"; he grinned like a schoolboy. “And in weighing up the moralities, we rather go in for dishonest comparisons; after all, you can't compare the ideals of one side with the methods of the other, can you, now?”
Leamas was lost. He'd heard the man talked a lot of drivel before getting the knife in, but he'd never heard anything like this before.
"I mean you've got to compare method with method, and ideal with ideal. I would say that since the war, our methods—ours and those of the opposition—have become much the same. I mean you can't be less ruthless than the opposition simply because your government's policy is benevolent, can you now?"

Related Characters: Control (speaker), Alec Leamas
Page Number: 15-16
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

The process of going to seed is generally considered to be a protracted one, but in Leamas this was not the case. In the full view of his colleagues he was transformed from a man honourably put aside to a resentful, drunken wreck—and all within a few months. There is a kind of stupidity among drunks, particularly when they are sober, a kind of disconnection which the unobservant interpret as vagueness and which Leamas seemed to acquire with unnatural speed. He developed small dishonesties, borrowed insignificant sums from secretaries and neglected to return them, arrived late or left early under some mumbled pretext. At first his colleagues treated him with indulgence; perhaps his decline scared them in the same way as we are scared by cripples, beggars, and invalids because we fear we could ourselves become them; but in the end his neglect, his brutal, unreasoning malice isolated him.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

He shook his head. "Sorry, Liz, you've got it wrong. I don't like Americans and public schools. I don't like military parades and people who play soldiers." Without smiling he added, “And I don't like conversations about Life.”
"But, Alec, you might as well say—"
"I should have added," Leamas interrupted, "that I don't like people who tell me what I ought to think."
She knew he was getting angry but she couldn't stop herself anymore. "That's because you don't want to think, you don't dare! There's some poison in your mind, some hate. You're a fanatic, Alec. I know you are, but I don't know what about. You're a fanatic who doesn’t want to convert people, and that's a dangerous thing. You're like a man who's . . . sworn vengeance or something." The brown eyes rested on her. When he spoke she was frightened by the menace in his voice.
"If I were you," he said roughly, "I'd mind my own business."

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Liz Gold (speaker)
Page Number: 31-32
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

He hardly spoke at supper, and she watched him, her fear growing until she could bear it no more and she cried out suddenly:
“Alec . . . oh, Alec . . . what is it? Is it good-bye?”
He got up from the table, took her hands, and kissed her in a way he'd never done before and spoke to her softly for a long time, told her things she only dimly understood, only half heard because all the time she knew it was the end and nothing mattered any more.

Related Characters: Liz Gold (speaker), Alec Leamas
Page Number: 37-38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

"How very distressing; and nobody to look after you, of course."
There was a very long silence.
"You know she's in the Party, don't you?" Control asked quietly.
"Yes," Leamas replied. Another silence. "I don't want her brought into this."
"Why should she be?" Control asked sharply and for a moment, just for a moment, Leamas thought he had penetrated the veneer of academic detachment. "Who suggested she should be?"
"No one," Leamas replied, "I'm just making the point. I know how these things go—all offensive operations. They have by-products, take sudden turns in unexpected directions. You think you've caught one fish and you find you've caught another. I want her kept clear of it."
"Oh, quite, quite."
"Who's that man in the Labour Exchange—Pitt? Wasn't he in the Circus during the war?"
"I know no one of that name. Pitt, did you say?"
“Yes.”
"No, not a name to me. In the Labour Exchange?"
"Oh, for God's sake," Leamas muttered audibly.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Control (speaker), Liz Gold, Mr. Pitt
Page Number: 48-49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Tactically, he reflected, they're right to rush it. I'm on my uppers, prison experience still fresh, social resentment strong. I'm an old horse, I don’t need breaking in; I don’t have to pretend they've offended my honour as an English gentleman. On the other hand they would expect practical objections. They would expect him to be afraid; for his Service pursued traitors as the eye of God followed Cain across the desert.
And finally, they would know it was a gamble. They would know that inconsistency in human decision can make nonsense of the best-planned espionage approach; that cheats, liars, and criminals may resist every blandishment while respectable gentlemen have been moved to appalling treasons by watery cabbage in a Departmental canteen.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Sam Kiever
Page Number: 59-60
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

Leamas was sweating. Peters watched him coolly, appraising him like a professional gambler across the table. What was Leamas worth? What would break him, what attract or frighten him? What did he hate, above all, what did he know? Would he keep his best card to the end and sell it dear? Peters didn’t think so; Leamas was too much off balance to monkey about. He was a man at odds with himself, a man who knew one life, one confession, and had betrayed them. Peters had seen it before. He had seen it, even in men who had undergone a complete ideological rehearsal, who in the secret hours of the night had found a new creed, and alone, compelled by the internal power of their convictions, had betrayed their calling, their families, their countries. Even they, filled as they were with new zeal and new hope, had had to struggle against the stigma of treachery; even they wrestled with the almost physical anguish of saying that which they had been trained never, never to reveal. Like apostates who feared to burn the Cross, they hesitated between the instinctive and the material; and Peters, caught in the same polarity, must give them comfort and destroy their pride.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Peters
Page Number: 72-73
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

"I was head of the Berlin set-up, wasn't I? I'd have been in on it. A high-level agent in East Germany would have to be run from Berlin. I'd have known." Leamas got up, went to the sideboard, and poured himself some whisky. He didn't bother about Peters.
"You said yourself there were special precautions, special procedures in this case. Perhaps they didn't think you needed to know."
"Don't be bloody silly," Leamas rejoined shortly; "of course I'd have known." This was the point he would stick to through thick and thin; it made them feel they knew better, gave credence to the rest of his information. "They will want to deduce in spite of you," Control had said. "We must give them the material and remain sceptical to their conclusions. Rely on their intelligence and conceit, on their suspicion of one another—that's what we must do."

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Peters (speaker)
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

This wasn't part of the bargain; this was different. What the hell was he supposed to do? By pulling out now; by refusing to go along with Peters, he was wrecking the operation. It was just possible that Peters was lying, that this was the test—all the more reason that he should agree to go. But if he went, if he agreed to go east, to Poland, Czechoslovakia, or God knows where, there was no good reason why they should ever let him out—there was no good reason (since he was notionally a wanted man in the West) why he should want to be let out.
Control had done it—he was sure. The terms had been too generous, he'd known that all along. They didn't throw money about like that for nothing—not unless they thought they might lose you. Money like that was a douceur for discomfort and dangers Control would not openly admit to. Money like that was a warning; Leamas had not heeded the warning.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Control, Peters
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

They'd talked about it in the meeting of her party branch. George Hanby, the branch treasurer, had actually been passing Ford the grocer's as it happened, he hadn’t seen much because of the crowd, but he'd talked to a bloke who'd seen the whole thing. Hanby had been so impressed that he'd rung the Worker, and they'd sent a man to the trial—that was why the Worker had given it a middle page spread as a matter of fact. It was just a straight case of protest—of sudden social awareness and hatred against the boss class, as the Worker said. This bloke that Hanby spoke to (he was just a little ordinary chap with specs, white collar type) said it had been so sudden—spontaneous was what he meant—and it just proved to Hanby once again how incendiary was the fabric of the capitalist system. Liz had kept very quiet while Hanby talked: none of them knew, of course, about her and Leamas. She realised then that she hated George Hanby; he was a pompous, dirty-minded little man, always leering at her and trying to touch her.

Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

He drove seventy kilometres in half an hour, weaving between the traffic, taking risks to beat the clock, when a small car, a Fiat probably, nosed its way out into the fast lane forty yards ahead of him. Leamas stamped on the brake, turning his headlights full on and sounding his horn, and by the grace of God he missed it; missed it by a fraction of a second. As he passed the car he saw out of the corner of his eye four children in the back, waving and laughing, and the stupid, frightened face of their father at the wheel. He drove on, cursing, and suddenly it happened; suddenly his hands were shaking feverishly, his face was burning, his heart palpitating wildly. He managed to pull off the road into a lay-by, scrambled out of the car, and stood breathing heavily, staring at the hurtling stream of giant lorries. He had a vision of the little car caught among them, pounded and smashed, until there was nothing left, nothing but the frenetic whine of klaxons and the blue lights flashing; and the bodies of the children, torn, like the murdered refugees on the road across the dunes.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas
Related Symbols: Lorries, World War II
Page Number: 104-105
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

The qualities he exhibited to Fiedler, the restless uncertainty, the protective arrogance concealing shame, were not approximations but extensions of qualities he actually possessed; hence also the slight dragging of the feet, the aspect of personal neglect, the indifference to food, and an increasing reliance on alcohol and tobacco. When alone, he remained faithful to these habits. He would even exaggerate them a little, mumbling to himself about the iniquities of his Service.
Only very rarely, as now, going to bed that evening, did he allow himself the dangerous luxury of admitting the great lie he lived.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Fiedler
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

"I've thought about it night and day. Ever since Viereck was shot, I've asked for a reason. At first it seemed fantastic. I told myself I was jealous, that the work was going to my head, that I was seeing treachery behind every tree; we get like that, people in our world. But I couldn't help myself, Leamas, I had to work it out. There’d been other things before. He was afraid—he was afraid that we would catch one who would talk too much!"
"What are you saying? You're out of your mind," said Leamas, and his voice held a trace of fear.
“It all held together, you see. Mundt escaped so easily from England; you told me yourself he did. And what did Guillam say to you? He said they didn't want to catch him! Why not? I'll tell you why—he was their man; they turned him, they caught him, don't you see, and that was the price of his freedom—that and the money he was paid.”

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Fiedler (speaker), Hans-Dieter Mundt, Peter Guillam
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

Mundt's appearance was fully consistent with his temperament. He looked an athlete. His fair hair was cut short. It lay matt and neat. His young face had a hard, clean line, and a frightening directness; it was barren of humour or fantasy. He looked young but not youthful; older men would take him seriously. He was well built. His clothes fitted him because he was an easy man to fit. Leamas found no difficulty in recalling that Mundt was a killer. There was a coldness about him, a rigorous self-sufficiency which perfectly equipped him for the business of murder. Mundt was a very hard man.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Hans-Dieter Mundt
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

“But what I mean is this: suppose you had done that, suppose it were true—I am taking an example, you understand, a hypothesis, would you kill a man, an innocent man—”
"Mundt's a killer himself."
"Suppose he wasn’t. Suppose it were me they wanted to kill: would London do it?"
"It depends . . . it depends on the need . . ."
“Ah,” said Fiedler contentedly, "it depends on the need. Like Stalin, in fact. The traffic accident and the statistics. That is a great relief."
"Why?"
"You must get some sleep," said Fiedler. "Order what food you want. They will bring you whatever you want. Tomorrow you can talk." As he reached the door he looked back and said, "We're all the same, you know, that's the joke."

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Fiedler (speaker), Hans-Dieter Mundt
Page Number: 161-162
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

“Riemeck had no car himself, he could not have followed de Jong from his house in West Berlin. There was only one way he could have known—through the agency of our own Security police, who reported de Jong's presence as a matter of routine as soon as the car passed the Inter Sector checkpoint. That knowledge was available to Mundt, and Mundt made it available to Riemeck. That is the case against Hans-Dieter Mundt—I tell you, Riemeck was his creature, the link between Mundt and his imperialist masters!”
Fiedler paused, then added quietly:
“Mundt-Riemeck-Leamas: that was the chain of command, and it is axiomatic of intelligence technique the whole world over that each link of the chain be kept, as far as possible, in ignorance of the others. Thus it is right that Leamas should maintain he knows nothing to the detriment of Mundt: that is no more than the proof of good security by his masters in London.”

Related Characters: Fiedler (speaker), Alec Leamas, Hans-Dieter Mundt, Karl Riemeck
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

"Comrade Mundt took one precaution while the British, with Fiedler’s aid, planned his murder.
"He caused scrupulous enquiries to be made in London. He examined every tiny detail of that double life which Leamas led in Bayswater. He was looking, you see, for some human error in a scheme of almost superhuman subtlety. Somewhere, he thought, in Leamas' long sojourn in the wilderness, he would have to break faith with his oath of poverty, drunkenness, degeneracy, above all of solitude. He would need a companion, a mistress perhaps; he would long for the warmth of human contact, long to reveal a part of the other soul within his breast. Comrade Mundt was right you see. Leamas, that skilled, experienced operator, made a mistake so elementary, so human that . . ."

Related Characters: Karden (speaker), Alec Leamas, Hans-Dieter Mundt, Liz Gold
Related Symbols: The Cold
Page Number: 183-184
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

Liz hated having her back to the court; she wished she could turn and see Leamas, see his face perhaps; read in it some guidance, some sign telling her how to answer. She was becoming frightened for herself; these questions which proceeded from charges and suspicions of which she knew nothing. They must know she wanted to help Alec, that she was afraid, but no one helped her—why would no one help her?

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Liz Gold
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

London must have gone raving mad. He'd told them—that was the joke—he’d told them to leave her alone. And now it was clear that from the moment, the very moment he left England—before that, even, as soon as he went to prison—some bloody fool had gone round tidying up—paying the bills, settling the grocer, the landlord; above all, Liz. It was insane, fantastic. What were they trying to do—kill Fiedler, kill their agent? Sabotage their own operation? Was it just Smiley—had his wretched little conscience driven him to this? There was only one thing to do—get Liz and Fiedler out of it and carry the can. He was probably written off anyway. If he could save Fiedler’s skin—if he could do that—perhaps there was a chance that Liz would get away.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Liz Gold, Fiedler, George Smiley
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

Fiedler, who had returned to his chair and was listening with rather studied detachment, looked at Leamas blandly for a moment:
“And you messed it all up, Leamas, is that it?” he asked. “An old dog like Leamas, engaged in the crowning operation of his career, falls for a . . . what did you call her? . . . a frustrated little girl in a crackpot library? London must have known; Smiley couldn't have done it alone.” Fiedler turned to Mundt: “Here's an odd thing, Mundt; they must have known you'd check up on every part of his story. That was why Leamas lived the life. Yet afterwards they sent money to the grocer, paid up the rent; and they bought the lease for the girl. Of all the extraordinary things for them to do . . . people of their experience . . . to pay a thousand pounds, to a girl—to a member of the Party—who was supposed to believe he was broke. Don't tell me Smiley's conscience goes that far. London must have done it. What a risk!”

Related Characters: Fiedler (speaker), Alec Leamas, Hans-Dieter Mundt, Liz Gold, George Smiley
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

"As for the Jew," she continued, "he made an accusation against a loyal comrade."
"Will they shoot Fiedler for that?" asked Liz incredulously.
“Jews are all the same,” the woman commented. “Comrade Mundt knows what to do with Jews. We don't need their kind here. If they join the Party they think it belongs to them. If they stay out, they think it is conspiring against them. It is said that Leamas and Fiedler plotted against Mundt. Are you going to eat that?” she enquired, indicating the food on the desk. Liz shook her head.

Related Characters: Liz Gold (speaker), The Prison Wardress (speaker), Alec Leamas, Hans-Dieter Mundt, Fiedler
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

"But what about Fiedler—don't you feel anything for him?"
"This is a war," Leamas replied. "It's graphic and unpleasant because it's fought on a tiny scale, at close range; fought with a wastage of innocent life sometimes, I admit. But it's nothing, nothing at all besides other wars—the last or the next."
"Oh God," said Liz softly. "You don't understand. You don’t want to. You're trying to persuade yourself. It's far more terrible, what they are doing; to find the humanity in people, in me and whoever else they use, to turn it like a weapon in their hands, and use it to hurt and kill . . ."

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Liz Gold (speaker), Fiedler
Related Symbols: World War II
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

Shielding his eyes he looked down at the foot of the wall and at last he managed to see her, lying still. For a moment he hesitated, then quite slowly he climbed back down the same rungs, until he was standing beside her. She was dead; her face was turned away, her black hair drawn across her cheek as if to protect her from the rain.
They seemed to hesitate before firing again; someone shouted an order, and still no one fired. Finally they shot him, two or three shots. He stood glaring round him like a blinded bull in the arena. As he fell, Leamas saw a small car smashed between great lorries, and the children waving cheerfully through the window.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Liz Gold
Related Symbols: Lorries, Liz’s Hair, The Berlin Wall
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Spy Who Came in From the Cold LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold PDF

Alec Leamas Character Timeline in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The timeline below shows where the character Alec Leamas appears in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Checkpoint
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...the Berlin Wall, soon after the barrier’s construction in 1961. British secret service agent Alec Leamas has been waiting for nine hours for his agent Karl Riemeck to cross from East... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Leamas watches as a car crosses the checkpoint, then goes out to talk to the occupant... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas reenters the checkpoint hut and apologizes for having been rude, giving some whiskey to two... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
As Leamas waits, he looks out at the Berlin Wall, whose ugly design reminds him of a... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas, who offered Elvira a place to stay at his flat and told her he would... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Circus
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Flying back to London from Berlin, Leamas reflects that he has failed in his career and been beaten by Mundt. He knows... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas is a short, strong man of around fifty who dresses simply. He has a tough,... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
At the Cambridge “Circus,” headquarters for the British spy service, Leamas meets with Control. Control is courteous and complains about banal topics like the cold and... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Control says he wants Leamas to “stay out in the cold a little longer,” and then begins to talk about... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Finally, Control gets to the point: he wants Leamas to stay “out in the cold” to help to take out Mundt. Leamas asks why,... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Control asks Leamas again if he is not too exhausted to take on the mission. Leamas says he... (full context)
Chapter 3: Decline
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Leamas gets put into a job in the Banking department until his contract runs out. The... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Leamas moves into a small, shabby flat. He has no money. He first tries working as... (full context)
Chapter 4: Liz
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Finally, the Labour Exchange finds Leamas a job at a Library for Psychic Research. Leamas thinks that he knows Mr. Pitt,... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
After a few weeks, Liz invites Leamas to supper at her house. He is reluctant to go, but does. After that she... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
One night, Liz asks Leamas what he believes in. He puts her off, saying he does not like “conversations about... (full context)
Chapter 5: Credit
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
A week later, Leamas suddenly stops coming to the library. Distressed, Liz wants to go check on him, even... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
One night Liz gets to his house and finds Leamas dressed, but not shaved. This strikes her as odd. There are also small items like... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
The next morning, Leamas goes to the grocer and asks him for credit. He asks rudely, after his groceries... (full context)
Chapter 6: Contact
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Leamas spends three months in prison after the incident. He makes no friends among the other... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Leamas wants to get rid of the parcel. Although it has his identification card and driver’s... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Ashe describes the times that he and Leamas spent together in Berlin. They go to lunch, and after listening to Ashe talk for... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Leamas watches Ashe leave, then walks around, drinks coffee, jumps on a bus, catches a train,... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Control says that he heard Leamas was ill and that it was a shame he had no one to take care... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas asks why Smiley isn’t at the house, and Control says that Smiley doesn’t like the... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Control asks Leamas if he would like anything done for Liz. Leamas says not to give her any... (full context)
Chapter 7: Kiever
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas goes to lunch with Ashe the next day, arriving unshaved and smelling of whisky. Ashe... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Ashe brings Leamas back to his apartment, which is generic and hardly decorated. Ashe says Leamas should rest... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...Kiever, an older man with a central European accent. They go out for dinner, where Leamas says hostile things about Americans. Afterwards, they go to a strip club. On the way... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Kiever tells Leamas that his agency will pay for “factual material” into foreign bank accounts without bothering about... (full context)
Chapter 8: Le Mirage
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
At the airport, Leamas is reminded of the impersonal experience of World War II. Kiever has given Leamas luggage,... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Leamas and Kiever are picked up by a woman who drives very slowly. Leamas looks around... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Peters and Leamas go into a back room, where Peters makes them both whisky sodas. Leamas says that... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas describes his service during World War II. He was enlisted as a soldier when he... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
After lunch, Peters asks Leamas about his service once he returned in 1949. Leamas says that he did desk work... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas tells Peters that he returned to London after Riemeck’s death and worked in the Banking... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas is sweating. Meanwhile, Peters assesses him, wondering how much he knows and what his motivations... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas describes to Peters how he built up his network in Berlin. He says that it... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas did not want London to take this case from him, because he believed that they... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Peters interrupts Leamas. He asks Leamas if he really believes all the information he received came from Riemeck.... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas continues to tell Peters about Riemeck, saying he was an exceptional source because he had... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas recalls all the information that Riemeck provided to the British in detail. Peters finally says... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
The two continue talking until Leamas has told Peters everything he knows about operations in Berlin. Leamas reflects that it’s odd... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas goes on to wonder about Elvira. Who killed her? He wonders if Control’s Special Interest... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Second Day
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
When Peters arrives the next day at Le Mirage, he and Leamas discuss Leamas’s work once he returned to London after Riemeck’s death. Leamas says he was... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Next Leamas tells Peters about a special operation called “Rolling Stone,” during which he took two trips:... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas tells Peters the aliases he used to deposit money in the banks in Helsinki and... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Third Day
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
The next morning, Peters does not arrive at Le Mirage. Leamas is impatient and goes for A walk on the beach. He sees a girl with... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Peters arrives at Le Mirage later that afternoon, after Leamas has returned from the beach. Peters has bad news: Leamas is a wanted man in... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas is given a new fake passport, which he uses at the airport. While Peters waits... (full context)
Chapter 11: Friends of Alec
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Liz wonders why Leamas hit Ford the grocer. She knows he has a terrible temper, but feels that this... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 12: East
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Leamas is sitting on the plane to Berlin, reflecting on the last part of his career.... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
On the plane to Berlin, Leamas considers passing a note to an American woman who is also on the plane with... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
In the airport Leamas hopes he will run into someone he knows who will help him somehow. Peters no... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Leamas asks Peters where they are going, and Peters says that he will be interrogated in... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas thinks he will meet with a man from the Abteilung named Fiedler, whose file he... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...decorated with Soviet leaders’ photographs and has fire safety instructions on the walls. Peters and Leamas go in, and Leamas asks Peters if he’s been here before, and whether it was... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Fiedler tells Leamas that he will not be going further East, and Peters confirms this. Leamas acts furious... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fiedler says that Leamas has no reason to be so angry: both secret services sacrifice individuals when it will... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
After eating dinner with Fiedler, Leamas is taken to his room and falls asleep. The next morning, as Leamas is eating... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Fiedler begins asking Leamas detailed questions about how the files were handled for Rolling Stone. Leamas seems to struggle... (full context)
Chapter 13: Pins or Paper Clips
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
On long walks through the countryside around the lodge, Fiedler asks Leamas questions about every detail of the British secret service. He is especially interested in the... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Fiedler and Leamas sit at the top of a hill, and Fiedler begins to ask more questions about... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas begins to get angry. He says he has done his part and never promised to... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
...giving in to the temptation to come out of the role he has taken on, Leamas continues to play that role even when he is alone. He acts restless, uncertain, and... (full context)
Chapter 14: Letter to a Client
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
The next morning, Fiedler brings Leamas letters to the banks in Oslo and Copenhagen to sign under the aliases he used... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
On a walk that day, Fiedler steers the conversation to Mundt. He asks Leamas if he knew that Mundt was in England. Leamas says that Peter Guillam told him... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Fiedler steers the conversation to Riemeck, asking Leamas about the occasion when Riemeck and Control met. Leamas says that Control always liked to... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
One night, Leamas and Fiedler go driving together in a car. Fiedler stops at a phone booth, leaving... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fiedler drives to a hilltop and he and Leamas get out of the car to talk. Fiedler begins to talk about Mundt, who he... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...worked it out: Mundt was caught in England and then turned into a British spy. Leamas says Fiedler is out of his mind, repeating again that it would be impossible for... (full context)
Chapter 15: Come to the Ball
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...Smiley’s card, and remembers him asking her if the Party knew about her relationship with Leamas. The trip, Liz reflects, will take her mind off missing Leamas. (full context)
Chapter 16: Arrest
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
When Fiedler and Leamas arrive back at the lodge, three men who say they were sent by Berlin call... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
When Leamas wakes up, he is lying on the ground, tied up. He cannot move without excruciating... (full context)
Chapter 17: Mundt
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas is untied and tries to stand but cannot. A guard kicks him, and then Leamas... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Mundt tells Leamas that he will be charged with murdering the guard at the lodge. If Leamas wants... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Mundt asks Leamas when he last saw Smiley. Leamas says he cannot remember, but Mundt persists, asking him... (full context)
Chapter 18: Fiedler
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Fiedler tells Leamas that he was also interrogated, and that Mundt not only had him beat up, but... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...wanted him to confess that he was in league with the British to frame Mundt. Leamas says that Mundt said the same to him, accusing him of being part of a... (full context)
Chapter 19: Branch Meeting
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
...expects a large turnout, and is crushed when only seven people attend. She wonders if Leamas is right that people only believe in things because of a personal need for meaning,... (full context)
Chapter 20: Tribunal
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
The Tribunal takes place in a small courtroom. Leamas sits in the back, in his own clothes, while Mundt is in the front of... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Fiedler then calls Leamas to the witness stand. Leamas testifies that he heard from Peter Guillam that there was... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas also testifies that Riemeck and Control met alone in his apartment in Berlin. Fiedler explains... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Witness
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...Karden explains, was aware that Fiedler has been plotting against him and even authorized recruiting Leamas as a defector. Mundt read in Peters’ report that Leamas had made deposits in Denmark... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Karden calls Leamas to testify. He asks him if he has any money, or friends who would lend... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Karden then asks Leamas if he was broke when he asked Ford the grocer for credit, and Leamas says... (full context)
Chapter 22: The President
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Liz enters and is surprised to see Leamas. The President of the tribunal begins to address Liz, asking when she joined the party.... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Karden begins to question Liz. He asks her if she and Leamas were lovers, and if she has had many lovers. Leamas yells in outrage at this... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Karden continues, asking Liz why she thinks Leamas hit Ford the grocer. Liz says she doesn’t know. Karden asks if she thinks Leamas... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Karden asks Liz if she had enough money to take care of Leamas, and Liz says that Leamas gave her money. Karden seems interested in this, so Liz... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Karden next asks if anyone got in touch with Liz after Leamas went to prison. Liz lies and says no, but then admits she did have visitors... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Karden continues questioning Liz. He asks why she never visited Leamas in prison, asking if she had found another lover. She says that Leamas had made... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas thinks that London must have been insane to compromise his mission in this way. He... (full context)
Chapter 23: Confession
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas asks the court to let Liz go home, but the President insists that she be... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas testifies that Karden was right: he was sent by the Circus to frame Mundt. They... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fiedler asks Leamas whether he believes that he really messed up the operation by falling for Liz. He... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
...and that Fiedler will be fired. The President continues, saying that another court will determine Leamas’s punishment. Then she looks at Mundt, who is staring at Fiedler. At that moment, Leamas... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Commissar
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Liz asks who will be shot next, and the Prison Wardress says that Leamas and the Jew Fiedler will be executed. She says Leamas will be shot because he... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...trying to move through the prison undetected. They exit into a garden and she sees Leamas standing by a car. Mundt talks to Leamas, then leads Liz to him. “She’s trash,... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas tells Liz to get into the car, and starts driving. Liz asks why Mundt is... (full context)
Chapter 25: The Wall
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
As they drive through the night, Liz asks Leamas what her part was in the operation. Leamas says that Fiedler was too powerful to... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Liz asks Leamas if he also made love to her for the mission. He says he did not.... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Liz asks Leamas why she is being released from the prison. She says she is a risk now,... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Liz objects to the way the spy services used her love for Leamas, saying that this amounts to turning the humanity in people into a weapon. Leamas says... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Leamas sees a man on the road and picks him up. The man instructs them as... (full context)
Chapter 26: In from the Cold
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Standing thirty yards from the Berlin Wall, Liz and Leamas wait until the beam of a searchlight stops in front of them. Then Leamas takes... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...Liz’s body starts to swing wildly in the air. Almost falling off the wall himself, Leamas pulls Liz towards him, when suddenly three or four shots ring out and Leamas feels... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Leamas hesitates, then climbs back to the Eastern side of the wall. He sees that Liz... (full context)