The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness

by

Simon Wiesenthal

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The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness: Hubert G. Locke Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Locke homes in 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 from Simon’s own choice.
Locke poses silence here also as the ability to listen, which Simon did with both Karl and his mother. Perhaps this is the biggest difference between Simon’s silence and the silence of the bystanders; one involved listening and learning, while the other involved willful ignorance.
Themes
Silence, Guilt, and Resistance Theme Icon
Locke rejects the idea that speaking means knowing the answer, because silence can be just as authoritative. Silence acknowledges that people are human and not gods. He remarks that even God was silent during this moment in history. If God was silent, he asks, can any of us speak?
Locke argues that being silent and listening allows for the receiving of knowledge. Locke’s response is by no means definitive, but he seems to imply that readers should not judge Simon’s decision, because no person can claim to be more authoritative than God, who was also silent during this tragic period.
Themes
Silence, Guilt, and Resistance Theme Icon
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