John  LeCarré
Symposium 2001
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Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, MA
Kaitlyn Amedio
"John LeCarré: Metaphorical Use of the Circus to Hide True Identities"
"Espionage During the Cold War in Germany"


In the works of John Le Carré, the Circus is used as a metaphorical setting for characters hiding their true identity. Le Carré’s writing about fear of recognition, forbidden love and the reasons for abandoning a family illustrates the international metaphorical Circus where the symbolic characters can hide. In the books The Secret Pilgrim and The Honourable Schoolboy, the Circus is, in reality, the Soviet secret service.

At the end of the war in Europe, Germany and its capital Berlin, were divided into East Germany and West Germany and East and West Berlin. With the division of the country and its capital, Germany became part communist and part non-communist. During the Cold War, communist East Germany was in contact with the U.S.S.R., while non-communist West Germany was in contact with the United States and Britain. East Germans created their own secret intelligence service, the Stasi and East Germany also cooperated with the Soviet intelligence services. Likewise, West Germany had its own secret intelligence service and also worked with the U.S. and Great Britain. Espionage became a very important part of the Cold War. Examples of espionage within East and West Germany can be seen in three major cases. These cases were the Otto John Case, which involved a man competing for allegiance within the two parts of Germany, the Karl Linke Case, which involved a German-Soviet link, and the Popov Case, which involved a German-American link. These cases show the involvement of intelligence agencies such as the CIA, SIS, BOB, and the KGB, in German affairs. The cases also highlight the contribution of other significant people and places, such as Walter Ulbricht, Markus Wolf, the Stasi, the Berlin Tunnel, and Checkpoint Charlie.

Photo credit: http://www.johnlecarre.com