“Silence of the Sea” and “The Moon is Down”: Book Review

An overview of the two books

Although it was published later, in early 1942, Vercors’ The Silence of the Sea is set in the context of the occupation of France in 1941. Following the German occupation, the book tells the story of an elderly man and his niece living in their home. The two characters resist the occupation by refusing to communicate with the officer occupying their home (Brown & Stokes, 1991). The book becomes a representation of intellectual resistance to occupiers. In 1942, John Steinbeck published The Moon is Down, which tells a similar tale of military occupation. The story takes place in a small town in Northern Europe when a foreign army fighting against England and Russia invades with little resistance (Steinbeck, 1942). The unexpected intrusion, however, infuriated and confused the residents of the formerly tranquil town.

The Relevance of the Books to Contemporary Politics

The tales describe the military occupiers’ actions against people living peacefully before the political unrest. The subject also highlights a key theme in the two novels: the propensity of the populace to rebel against political oppression. For instance, the elderly Frenchman and his niece resisted the intrusion into their privacy by using the sole means at hand, silence (Brown & Stokes, 1991). In a friendly setting, the elderly man and his niece would be expected to respond to the officer’s endless chatter. The officer is a composer who uses mental resistance to convey anger about the invasion. As they approach, the officer begins to doubt his commitment to the brutal Nazi regime. From the standpoint of contemporary politics, people become enraged whenever there is political oppression and resort to various forms of resistance, such as protests and demonstrations.

One of the frequently employed means of resistance to political oppression is hostility. The residents of the small coastal town in John Steinbeck’s novel The Moon is Down reacted¬†angrily to…

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