Study Guide

Code Name Verity Manipulation

By Elizabeth Wein


Maddie listened as the wireless operator made her first radio call, in German, as cool and crisp as if she'd been giving radio instructions to Luftwaffe bombers all her life. The Luftwaffe boy's voice responded in a gasp of gratitude, practically weeping with relief. (1.10.XI.43.66)

It's funny how we, and even Maddie and Julie, can feel sorry for the pilot even though we know he's fighting for the enemy. Is there something about knowing a person is being lied to that makes us feel bad for him?

"Bear in mind," said Creighton soberly, holding the other man's magnified eyes with his own over the top of his steepled fingers, "these two work well together."

clk/sd and w/op

Bloody Machiavellian English Intelligence Officer playing God. (1.11.XI.43.205-207)

This is how it starts: special duties clerk and wireless operator forming an amazing team. The wheels are spinning in Creighton's and the English Intelligence Officer's heads. We already know this ends badly. How much blame can we assign to the people who identify and train Julie for what happens to her? Are they just doing their jobs?

I liked him—don't get me wrong—beautiful eyes behind the dreadful specs, and very lithe and powerful beneath the scholarly tweed. It was wonderful flirting with him, all that razor-edge literary banter, like Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. A battle of wit, and a test, too. But he was playing God. I noticed, I knew it, and I didn't care. It was such a thrill to be one of the archangels, the avengers, the chosen few. (1.11.XI.43.209)

Now we know Julie was in on it, totally complicit in her handler's plans for her. Does the fact that she essentially seals her own fate make it easier or harder to accept her death?

He pored over the pages again and produced Maddie's clothing ration coupons. Her stomach turned over. She never found out how he got them.

He handed them to her. "Explain to your colleague you were called in here today so we could return these and give you a lecture about taking greater care with your personal papers."

"Well, I jolly well will be more careful with them after this," she told him fiercely. (1.21.XI.43.40-42)

Unsolved mysteries we want answers to: how did he get Maddie's ration coupons? Creeping around in her stuff? We get that there's a war on, but that's taking things too far, dude.

It is ridiculous that you have not already guessed the nature of my Intelligence work, Amadeus von Linden. Like you, I am a wireless operator.

Like you, I am bloody good at it.

Our methods differ. (1.21.XI.43.141-143)

Bombshell, Shmoopsters. (Figuratively, not literally, so no need to take cover. Sorry… too soon?) Julie is also an interrogator. That "wireless operator" business is a cover and then a metaphor. We will give the girl this: her use of literary devices is superb.

At any rate I didn't miss a beat—this is how I operate. This is what I am so good at. Give me a hint, just one hint, and I will fake it. It's the thin end of the wedge for you, me laddie. (1.24.XI.43.11)

Julie's a good actor who can think on her feet, and she's pretty darn proud of it. Even after being tortured, she's still pretty vain about her mad skills. We say, you go, girl.

"I don't need papers!" I cried. "I don't need proof! I don't need electrified needles and ice water and battery acid and the threat of kerosene! All I do is ask a question, and you answer it! What more perfect proof than one lovely word out of you—Isolde? I'm a wireless operator!" (1.24.XI.43.19)

For an interrogator, von Linden isn't very good at protecting himself from interrogation. He knows Julie is Eva Seiler, but he still spills the beans the second she asks him a question.

How does she do it? She makes it sound like she is so cut up to be giving them this information, and it's all just bumph out of her head. She never told them ANYTHING. (2.20.1)

We really don't know how she does it, but Julie does admit a million times that she likes to make up stories. The clues are there that all is not as it seems. Why would Julie give her captors clues not to trust what she's saying?

Creighton is the name of the Colonel in Kim. I know, because Julie made me read it—partly, I am dead sure, as a warning about how both of us were being fine-tuned for the war machine by that Bloody Machiavellian Intelligence Officer whose real name she also knows perfectly well. (2.20.2)

Again Julie knows what's happening. She knows what the Intelligence Officer is up to, and she's happy to go along with it, though she does warn Maddie. Can books be a warning? Is there an implicit warning for readers in Code Name Verity?

I raised my head with a jerk and asked furiously, "Why? Why do you care whether I can come up with the coordinates out of my head? I can make up coordinates the way Julie made up code! Give me a map and I'll point it out, you don't need me to do this! What do you really want, you bloody Machiavellian BASTARD?"

He was silent for a minute.

"I've been asked to test you a bit," he confessed at last. "Turn up the heat, see how you respond. I'm not honestly sure what to do with you. The Air Ministry wants to take away your license and the Special Operations Executive wants to recommend you for a George Medal. They'd like you to stay with them." (2.26.39-41)

So you just got stuck in occupied France for two months and had to kill your best friend. Welcome home, Maddie. We're just going to lay the pressure on a teensy bit more. If you were Maddie, what would you choose?

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