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  1. #1
    sherishine's Avatar
    sherishine is offline Junior Member
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    Question Do that mean, he was a spy-trainer?

    “Working in Cairo during the early days of the war, he had been trained to invent double agents or phantoms who would take on flesh. He had been in charge of a mythical agent named “Cheese,” and he spent weeks clothing him with facts, giving him qualities of character—such as greed and a weakness for drink when he would spill false rumours to the enemy.”




    My question is , was he himself is a double agent, or he just made other people become double agent?

    And what does this "flesh"mean here?

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Do that mean, he was a spy-trainer?

    Quote Originally Posted by sherishine View Post
    “Working in Cairo during the early days of the war, he had been trained to invent double agents or phantoms who would take on flesh. He had been in charge of a mythical agent named “Cheese,” and he spent weeks clothing him with facts, giving him qualities of character—such as greed and a weakness for drink when he would spill false rumours to the enemy.”




    My question is , was he himself is a double agent, or he just made other people become double agent?
    No he wasn't. The 'double agents or phantoms' were his inventions; they didn't exist. But the more realistic he made them, the more likely the enemy was to waste time on them. (A 'double agent' is a spy who pretends to be a spy for the other side. In fact come to think of it, he may have been one - I don't know the book well enough to tell. But I do know that the text you've cited doesn't say he was - although a double agent has to provide false information, so he may well have been.)
    Quote Originally Posted by sherishine View Post
    And what does this "flesh"mean here?
    It's rather strange. When you develop something (from a 'skeleton'-like idea, you can be said to 'put flesh on the bones'. So maybe 'fleshing out' his phantoms is described by the author as them 'taking on flesh'. But this is an odd-sounding use of 'taking on flesh' to my (Br. English) ear; 'taking on flesh' - to me - means becoming real (actually real: 'When they started actually building the opera house, the architect was pleased to see his ideas taking on flesh at last.'

    But in Indian English it seems to mean 'becoming more realistic [although actually still fictitious]'.

    Sorry - it's not clear to me.

    b

  3. #3
    sherishine's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Do that mean, he was a spy-trainer?

    Thank you Bob!

    So the "He had been in charge of a mythical agent named “Cheese,” ",means that he invented an agent named"cheese",and maybe he spill the character and the"cheess"'s words to the enemy?

    Yet, there is one more point I want to figure out, how would these enemies believe his words,believe that there was an agent"cheese"just by his indirect discription? Or maybe it is human nature to believe indirect discription rather than direct performance......

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Do that mean, he was a spy-trainer?

    Quote Originally Posted by sherishine View Post
    Thank you Bob!

    So the "He had been in charge of a mythical agent named “Cheese,” ",means that he invented an agent named"cheese",and maybe he spill the character and the"cheess"'s words to the enemy?

    Yet, there is one more point I want to figure out, how would these enemies believe his words,believe that there was an agent"cheese"just by his indirect discription? Or maybe it is human nature to believe indirect discription* rather than direct performance......
    I think it is. This is the way conjuring tricks work - the magician makes the audience think that an impossible thing is happening. Part of this misdirection involves the accumulation of lots of little true things that seem to add up to one big falsehood. It's no accident that lots of the metaphorical language used to describe* the world of spying refers to stage magic - 'palming', 'forcing', 'misdirecting' ...

    (* Can you see what's wrong with your spelling?)

    b

  5. #5
    sherishine's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Do that mean, he was a spy-trainer?

    Thank you for your detailed explainationO(∩_∩)O~

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