The Security Of Silenceby Donald Megnin
THE SECURITY OF SILENCE begins in the late nineteenth century and continues through the early decades of the twentieth century. It is the story of Emilie Elizabeth Louise Bartholomae who was born and grew up in a small, southern German Village. Her childhood was idyllic until the death of her father changes the family circumstances of privilege and economic security to uncertainty and fear for the future. The onset of the World War I and its tragic aftermath for both the country and the Bartholomae family makes Emilie feel uncertain and threatened by the on rush of events and circumstances over which she feels she has little or no control. She marries a man many years her senior whom she believes can provide security for her and her family. Even though her mother warns her about the history of her husband's family she dismisses these comments. She soon discovers, however, her husband has the tendencies of a sexual predator. She remains silent and, thereby denies the reality of his behavior. She believes it is the result of his wound from the war.
While Emilie and her growing family are well off by local standards because of her husband's successful business, she refuses to recognize his sexual proclivity. Having been schooled in the culture of accepting whatever the husband decides, she remains silent. Economic security becomes the trade-off for her silence against her husband's conduct which she knows is wrong. What seems like an unconscious decision on her part to avoid any threat to her or her family, by ignoring her subconscious suspicions, she actually supports his unsavory behavior.
The novel traces the transition of a woman from a relatively high social status, with a good education and profession, to the uncertainty of a marriage to a man whom she believes will provide her with the same style of life to which she had become accustomed as a little girl. Little does she realize the impact the social differences between her and her husband's family have upon their common future. Unbeknownst to her, the security of silence becomes the 'leitmotif" of her entire life.
- Xlibris Corporation
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)
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Enticed by the title, I read the story. A recently married woman, at the turn of the twentieth century, threatened by a change in social status, seeks and finds a 'lietmotif' to cope with the new life with her husband. In the security of silence she accepts and deals with this crisis of change.
The author has written a telling tale of what was the usual treatment of women in not only Germany but throughout the western world. The choices that women had were limited if they wished to keep their families together. Most often the choice between economic security and continuing the emotional ties of family resulted in giving up personal feelings for the sake of the family. The saga of this family began with the death of the main character's father which left a psychological impact from which she never fully recovered. The book is part of the school of naturalism in literature and reflects the classic dilemma of choice as it impacts the lives of people who struggle with what they ideally would do but cannot because of countervailing conditions. In the words of Henry James 'The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to respesent life,' summarizes the author's represetation of his main character.