The Enemy within and the Enemy without

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The Enemy within and the Enemy without
As the world now is in an era of climate change and global warming, the cold war era was peppered with issues of the ‘eve of destruction’. P.F. Sloan’s song – ‘eve of destruction’ a war cry or folk ballad of the cold war era – “ Don't you understand, what I'm trying to say? Can't you see the fears that I'm feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there's no running away, There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave”

The idea of the world ending and fear of the unknown shapes, challenges and confronts our understanding of the enemy within and without in an era driven by fear and dislocation. I welcome you to the annual symposium where we gather for a study of cold war literature.

The enemy within and enemy without can refer to a multitude of ideas. However most notably through a study of texts, we notice that characterisation, context and philosophical questioning can lead to the idea of dislocation. Dislocation acts as an internal and external force, which leads to discovery of the enemy within and the enemy without. In a context of personal and political ramifications driven by this notion of dislocation and consequent fear, our ways of thinking about the period are challenged. Texts written during the cold war era, convey the values and attitudes of the time and through techniques such as characterisation and setting demonstrate these ideas behind the enemy within and the enemy without. Such texts include Spy who came in from the Cold, which through characterisation explores this notion of dislocation as an effect of the enemy within and enemy without. Waiting for Godot, which explores a world of hopelessness which leads to an understanding from a modern audience to the values and attitudes of the time, Fog of War, which follows the personal and political challenges of Robert McNamara and the questioning of morality behind war, and Our man in Havana, in it’s characterisation and context explores ideas of freedom and hopelessness similar.

Each of these texts through forms and features intertwines and investigates ideas behind Cold War values and attitudes. Furthermore, these techniques show internal and external forces that lead to dislocation and the discovery of the enemy within and the enemy without.

Technique of characterisation used by authors of cold war literature is a symbolic tool. Characters of these texts are the embodiment of fear in all elements of life – from love, relationships, religion and routine. Characters in the texts mentioned demonstrate fear and dislocation and compare ideas behind the enemy within and the enemy without.
This comparison between characters can be seen through LeCarre’s ‘Alec Leamas’ and Beckett’s ‘Vladimir’. Leamas is a middle-aged spy who through his lack of meaning and philosophy on life, finds the enemy within himself. Haunted by his past experiences, he remains much to his bitter self until he meets Liz. A woman who transforms his way of thinking. His transformation of characterisation can be seen through his rise by the conclusion of the novel. LeCarres purpose in his rise, is to give him human qualities which we compare to his characterisation at the beginning of the novel. This is evidently seen through his growing affection towards Liz. This is reinforced by the narrator’s voice, which becomes more detailed.

“her face was turned away, her black hair drawn across her cheek as if to protect her from the rain”. From this change in narrator voice and characterisation, meaning the way Leamas perceives her, we notice that Leamas is no longer his own enemy. He has come in from the cold, and has gained human qualities.

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