Gretchen Kokoszka Terrorism and Literature October 15, 2002 Moral Ambiguity of Charlie in The Little Drummer Girl In George J. Lennard's, "John le Carre" critical assessment of the ending of Little Drummer Girl, he claims that "Charlie can not continue to act in the theater of the real...she can no longer return to the romantic fluff of Western middle class society." Charlie's last line in the novel, the theater of the real, are "I am dead" (pp.659), which confirms Lennard's statement. Charlie, an actress, by nature and craft is a coerced into a scheme to infiltrate a terrorist ring, against her convictions. By playing upon Charlie's insecurities and her need for acceptance, this scheme forms a kind of moral ambiguity and uncertainness inside Charlie. When it ends, her world is shattered, and she becomes "dead" in a figurative sense.
The theater of the real forces Charlie to give a performance of a lifetime as her own life is at stake.
In the beginning Charlie, willing and naive, accepts the script given to her by Joseph. Joseph himself, trains Charlie how to act in this scheme, much like an acting coach trains an inexperienced theatrical student. Along the way, Joseph gives her important pieces of advice such as "stay with the logic of the fiction...weaken and you will ruin the operation...we'll repair [any] damage (pp. 468), advice which Charlie does not closely follow. In a world that will be turn upside down for Charlie, Joseph is her one remaining constant.
The people Charlie comes in contact with can be best described as characters or actors in fiction as well. The characters names change almost as frequently as Charlie's views of her situation. The changing names give way to the belief that the characters, under disguise, can not really be held responsible...