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The Spy Who Came In From The Snow

1352 words - 5 pages

The spy who"¦? "˜The spy who came in from the cold' by John Le Carre, is a novel which bases much of itself around the significance of its title. The importance of this title is the way it encapsulates the entire novel's feeling, emotion, underlying themes and neglected attitudes in one sentence. To fully understand the significance of the title and its encapsulating qualities, key aspects of the novel need to be examined. Definition of the key words in the title, the consistent reference to the hellish atmosphere, the metaphoric meanings of the title; those of emotional cold and unprepared cold, and the aspects that stem from the world of espionage and the cold war.To grasp the full significance of the title "˜the spy who came in from the cold' definitions of the key words in it need to be made. The initial word is spy. A spy is a person employed by a state or institution to obtain secret information from rival countries, organizations etc. The second and foremost to the title is cold. Defined as having relatively little warmth; of a rather low temperature; lacking in affection, enthusiasm or warmth of feeling. In the cold is defined as neglected or ignored. The cold war is defined as, political hostility, sterile war involving propaganda. From these definitions all obtained in the Collins English dictionary, it is also interesting to find the Macquarie thesaurus terms of cold, one such is unprepared. Through identifying these keywords it can now be examined the significance of the title in this new light.The title lends itself to enable many aspects of the novel to be conveyed; the most obvious of these is cold in the form of temperature and atmosphere. A hellish atmosphere is ever present throughout the novel; this is done by Le Carre with vast references to cold. From the onset of the novel, ideas of cold are observed: "˜Leamas stepped outside into the icy October wind'(Le Carre, 1963, p7) These images of cold occur with great regularity, in the beginning as shown above, to the many times cold is present with Liz and Leamas, to the ending and their release from prison. Although the cold is mentioned many times, colds opposite, heat is also referred to in a less than pleasant way. A fever is when someone's temperature is very high, and thus when Leamas has his fever in the novel it shows that not only is cold harsh but so to is heat. The images of cold and heat occur so regularly throughout the novel that pages could be spent documenting them but in reality only one question is needed, what is their significance to the title? By showing cold and heat in such draconian measures it is demonstrated that something coming in from the cold in the context of the novel is that it is not necessarily to a hot place, and therefore gives glimpses of the ending that takes place, as death is not, in a real sense, hot. The significance of the title is also shown as it in one sentence encapsulates the scene and atmosphere that is...

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