A devout Catholic, Karl’s mother objected to Karl joining the Hitler Youth and the SS, but she retained her love for him even when he went to war, unlike Karl’s father, who refused to speak to him. Simon goes to visit Karl’s mother after the war in order to get a fuller picture of Karl. Karl’s mother lives alone following the deaths of her son and husband (who was killed in a factory bombing). She still retains the belief that her son was a good person, and Simon, by remaining silent about his experience with Karl, allows her to continue believing this. Simon understands that she was not guilty of the Nazi’s crimes but still believes that she is culpable as a citizen of a guilty nation.
Karl’s Mother Quotes in The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness
The The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness quotes below are all either spoken by Karl’s Mother or refer to Karl’s Mother. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Schocken Books edition of The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness published in 1969.).
Smail Balić Quotes
Matthew Fox Quotes
André Stein Quotes
Karl’s Mother Character Timeline in The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness
The timeline below shows where the character Karl’s Mother appears in The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: The Sunflower
Alan L. Berger
...first silence, in Karl’s room, is an instantaneous and confused decision. The second, in Karl’s mother’s home, is a conscious choice and an act of kindness. Berger asks whether these silences... (full context)
Edward H. Flannery
Yossi Klein Halevi
Halevi’s essay thus begins not with Simon and Karl’s visit, but Simon’s visit with Karl’s mother. He sees that Simon rejects an opportunity for “vicarious vengeance” in allowing Karl’s mother to... (full context)
Hubert G. Locke
...on the silence throughout The Sunflower: first in Karl’s room and then again at Karl’s mother’s home. He writes that readers should learn from this silence and remain silent themselves, learning... (full context)