Critical Literary Analysis on the Story Silence by Tadeusz Borowski
Analyzed by Reynard Tubid
“Silence is not about mere defeat it also mean victory.”
When I saw the title of the fiction, the first thing that originated in my mind was the relation of the content and the title. There was a separating line that divides the two. The content does not fit the meaning it describes to achieve the title. Why? Silence, as the title of the story was very much illogical if we placed it in the context of soldiers living in the barracks with prisoners and defeated persons. Everyone familiarized the notion when someone stayed in the barracks; the environment seems to become untamed and deafening. But the perception of silence in the story becomes relevant when I started to read, understand and check the meaning of difficult words in the dictionary. It became relevant in the context of the ideas that were stressed by the author. At the latter part of the story it was being emphasized that the character undergone the process of reformation. At first, I find it monotonous but it was a big surprise on my part when I finished reading the whole story. Surprise was very important because it enables the reader to continue the reading session until it meets the edge of the whole points that the story would like to express. After I experienced the surprise in the story the author explains about the meaning of silence in their own perspective. He would proposed that silence was not all about defeat, loss, and profound sadness but rather he transformed silence as a state of being joyful because of victory and success. The narrative was not improbable; it has the possibility that the reality could be applied also in the context of silence. There was and there can be possibility that silence which was traditionally view as defeat could also mean victory. It could timely be applied in the present consciousness of the soldiers by using to them this paradigm for their appreciation and authority purposes. As the story goes on in its content, there were moral conflicts also. Since silence before was viewed in different perspective. In the duration of the story the point of view before was altered into a positive one. The conflict focused more between good and evil. It was good because the idea about silence was emphasized in a peaceful manner while evil in a sense that the concept before entailed that when a group of soldiers experienced total silence for sure they were on war or they were defeated by the enemy.
The character of the young American officer triggered my interest to involve myself in the story. The line that struck me most upon reading the whole story was the phrase which says, “The law should prevail over lawlessness.” From that particular line I was inspired about the truth of defending what was right and just in the context of balance justice and implementation of the law. It takes for justice to gain justice by showing the real score of total freedom in the context of a balance law. In attaining the endeavor of knowing the story through certain principles, it shaped also the configuration of the ideas which supported the entire flow of the story. The minor characters possessed very significant functions in the supplementary development of the story. They served as the key elements to attain the reformation of the main character. The minor characters stand as the supporting agent in attaining parallelism in the story through the related words used. Similarly, the author revealed also his character through reformation. The definition about the author’s total person was revealed through the adjectives used to describe the personality he has.
By explicit authorial, the author was revealed in the dialogue. The way he spoke, developed a new idea on the side of the reader. The discourse he has with the soldiers depicts the nature he possessed. The actions he performed adjoined the reader’s ability to determine the nature of the speaker. The way the author defined the character entails the main character. Though the author developed a certain twist in the meaning of silence, still the story implied that the characters developed a strong determination to support what had believed to be true. Some readers would view silence in a different perspective even if they have read already the whole content but there could have been possibility that after reading the whole content, the reader will stick into their own principle and meaning of the word silence. The character has changed in the environment he has. For me, the barracks were designated place wherein soldiers were fond of making noise. In the story, it changes the character of the young American soldier into a more momentous one. My mind-set of the character changes when I started to know the character better. What made me to become more interested was the approach of knowing other’s perspective regarding their own understanding of what a silence was.
Tadeusz Borowski was the one telling the story. The narrator knew the flow of the whole story because it has details that ensured the development of every event. Likewise, the author followed a chronological order. It doesn’t start in a sudden mode of introducing the whole character but in order to achieve the exact and precise understanding, the author made it flow in a certain framework using the step by step arrangement of events and characters. There are some figurative language found in the story but it doesn’t take much. But these figurative lines build a strong foundation in determining the character of the narrator. The reader developed a sensible ability the moment he approached the story because of its words and usage used basing in its own context.
Upon hearing the title of the story and delved myself in reading it. I was able to predict the setting from where the story happened. With my sense open up, I have a strong sense of the time and place. The story occurred or happened in a Nazi Concentration Camp. It was a place where in the soldiers was primarily present and possessed the status of a wild and noisy person. The set-up of the place determines the importance of the place. They support the nature of each other. In making the story congruent it took first the similarity of the setting, plot and character. The image of the camp signifies that it was a place where violence, harassment and disciplinary actions occurred. It is clearly defined in the story. The story also followed the pyramidal type of sections. It was divided into different parts so that the reader could easily understand the points and lines that were highlighted. It was composed of exposition, problem and solution pattern.
The theme of the story represents a non-informative title. The word silence was not enough to illustrate the author’s way of expressing his ideas and thoughts. It does not complete the readers understanding of what really the theme was. It creates an invitation for the reader to read and explore the whole content of the story in order to freely understand why silence was used as title in a situation like that of the story. In my part, at first I believe maybe the author placed this title simply because the characters do not speak but my perception of it differs much when I started to dig my mind reading and understanding the content of the story. Thus, after my thorough reading in the end I come up with the theme which I considered also as a point of my own understanding about the whole content of the fiction. My theme goes this way: “Silence is not about mere defeat it also mean victory.”
There were several accumulated meanings from the action of the soldier which created a symbolic meaning in determining the point of the author. The reader fined it easy to comprehend the words which were very new and difficult to define. The symbolic meaning made the story understandable and exciting. The flow of the story continued because the meaning of the story was embodied in the whole story perse. It was very basic and important that the meaning of the story accompany the whole story so that the readers would not get lost with what he reads. It may also be the cause that the reader will stop reading the selection for it does not meet his expectation of what a fiction is. Therefore, in the story like this it is very necessary that the meaning is integrated inside the story.
The title of the story reinforces values. Personally I could testify this fact because when I am already finished in reading the whole story I found out that something in me reached the feeling of attachment not only to the author but to the story as a whole. Knowing that silence does not automatically mean defeat somehow my way of viewing it changes also. The author would like to stress the point that silence was being embodied with an importance. He knows how to withdraw the usual approach of the people regarding the meaning of silence.