The Spy Who Came in From the Cold


John Le Carré

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The Spy Who Came in From the Cold Symbols

The Cold

Working undercover as a spy is referred to throughout the novel as being “in the cold.” In this sense, the cold represents the danger, isolation, and emotional hardship of spy work. To “come in from…

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After Leamas nearly kills a carful of children driving on a highway while lorries (trucks) speed nearby, the huge vehicles come to symbolize the impersonal forces that crush individuals in the modern world. As a…

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World War II

Although the novel describes a struggle between two Cold War-era intelligence agencies, it is a world shaped by the “hot,” or violent, war that was fought less than two decades before. Each of the characters…

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Liz’s Hair

Leamas is in many ways too traumatized by a life filled with death and cynicism to fully fall in love with Liz, but their relationship reminds him of the possibilities of human tenderness and…

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The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall has only recently been built and is still being fortified during the period when the novel’s action takes place. For many living through this period of history, the Wall was the symbol…

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