Darkness at Noon Part Two: Chapters 6-7 Summary & Analysis

Arthur Koestler

Darkness at Noon

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Darkness at Noon Part Two: Chapters 6-7 Summary & Analysis

Chapters 6-7 Summary

In Chapter 6, Rubashov witnesses his former roommate in exile, Michael Bogrov, being led to his execution.  On No. 402’s instructions, he stands at his spy-hole and drums on his door, as do the other prisoners, forming an “acoustic chain” (143). First he hears Bogrov’s “moaning and whimpering” (144) and then sees him, a pathetic figure dragged between two officers.  When Bogrov is out of sight but before he is out of earshot, Rubashov thinks he Bogrov call his name.  Then silence falls, and No. 406 taps out his familiar phrase, “ARIE, YE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH” (145).  Witnessing Bogrov being led to his death causes Rubashov to imagine Arlova’s death, wondering if she too had whimpered and been dragged.  He feels nauseated, even though “he had never doubted the logical rightness of his behavior” (145). 

At the start of Chapter 7, Rubashov falls asleep after Bogrov’s execution and dreams of his first arrest again.  When he wakes up, he is disoriented, trying to remember where he is, and finds Ivanov is there in the cell with him.  Rubashov’s toothache has caused the right side of his face to swell up, and Ivanov offers him brandy.  Ivanov says he wants to talk with Rubashov, and Rubashov lashes out, angry about having witnessed Bogrov’s death march, and demands that Ivanov leave his cell.  Ivanov refuses.  He tells Rubashov that Bogrov’s death march was Gletkin’s doing; that Bogrov was told of Rubashov’s presence and taken past his cell.  Ivanov objects to such tactics, because the “scene with Bogrov must only intensify could not be expressed in logical formula—it lay in the realm of the ‘grammatical fiction’” (152).  Instead, they talk about why Bogrov was executed—he advocated for large submarines while No. 1 and the Party…

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