The Secret Pilgrim Summary
John le Carré

Everything you need to understand or teach The Secret Pilgrim by John le Carré.

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The Secret Pilgrim Summary

In a series of loosely connected episodes in the career of ace field spy Ned, The Secret Pilgrim examines how people behave under extreme stress.

The most dramatic of these episodes is the one in which Ned is tortured by Polish agents. With all his courage he resists giving them what they want. He is beaten and loses teeth; he is tied to a rack and worked over. Typical of the melancholy tone of the novel, Ned's determination and endurance turn out to have no real meaning. He thinks that the colonel in charge of torturing him is after important secrets that could cost the lives of agents working for the British; instead, the colonel is only testing him to see how tough he is. It turns out that the colonel wishes to betray the Communist government, and in a bizarre twisting of motivations, he has tortured Ned in...

(read more from the Short Guide)

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The Secret Pilgrim Short Guide