Keywords: franco german collaboration
Analyse the depiction of Franco-German collaboration in the brief history 'Le Silence de la mer'. How effective is it in contesting the imagery and ideals of collaboration?
The imagery and ideals (and indeed questions on the authenticity) regarding Franco-German collaboration are identified and presented through method of a German soldier's changeover from ignorance to knowledge. At the start of the story Werner von Ebrennac is idealistic, almost delusional, in his point of view on the German job. Towards the final 'episodes' of the storyplot, however, an austere sense of darkness and truth pervades as he goes through a change in his view which straight results from the revelations he encounters in Paris. Vercors is impressive in illustrating the fundamental defects in idealising such a notion because by delivering the reader with an optimistic identity - and one whose naivety is flagrantly exaggerated to the point to be implausible - he succeeds in juxtaposing the perfect and the actuality of Franco-German cooperation, thus inviting viewers to see their stark comparison.
This question cannot be answered without adding an analysis of one of the brief story's most crucial images. Ubiquitous within it's the concept of a 'matrimony' between France and Germany. As von Ebrennac himself says of Briand, '"Il va nous unir, comme mari et femme"'. France, as is typical in her traditional guise of 'Marianne', is the feminised party; the 'femme' of the metaphor, whilst Germany is portrayed as the hubby; the 'mari'. Written at the same time when women could not, specifically in the context of Nazi and Vichy ideals, expect the same privileges as their husband, this pervasive symbol can be interpreted as you which casts France in a role of subjugated girl to Germany's dominant male rather than collaborator on an equal footing with her invader. This product is deployed in greater detail on pages 29 and 30, when von Ebrennac tacitly compares France and Germany's relationship - and on a lesser range the unfeasible liaison between himself and the narrator's niece - to the fairytale 'The Beauty and the Beast'.
On a superficial level Vercors is recommending that the so-called 'cooperation' between the two countries exists only in the realm of misconception and story; that the 'polite invasion' of the early many years of German job was a fantastic smokescreen designed to disguise its true tyrannical mother nature. Over a deeper level it becomes clear that von Ebrennac's idealisations conceal an main reputation of Nazi values in spite of his relatively personable demeanour. Using the fairytale's protagonists evidently offering as symbols of both countries, the soldier inverts the psychological dynamics of the storyplot by focusing on the torment of the Beast (Germany) as opposed to the take of Beauty (France), creating an unusually positive portrayal of the former. Much like Nazi propaganda, the real train of situations is glossed over and undermined. Furthermore, there is a sinister undercurrent under the 'bonheur sublime' that union is supposed to give go up to, particularly '"leurs enfants, qui additionnent et mЄlent les dons de leurs parents, sont les plus beaux que la terre ait portes. "' In such a sentence von Ebrennac, whether he realises it or not, is indirectly referring to the Nazi aspiration to create a 'Herrenvolk', or 'expert race', of Aryan visitors to improve their breeding stock. Finally, the take action of translating a traditional French storyline into German (La Belle et la bЄte becomes Das Tier und die Sch¶ne) symbolizes far more than a linguistic practicality; it is symbolic of translating French culture, culture and politics into German as well. Out of this we can glean that Franco-German 'collaboration' isn't the ideal which the Nazi propaganda machine, and undoubtedly the German soldier in this account, could have us believe. It is in no way a symbiotic relationship, but an invasion in which only 1 country will prevail; that of the invader.
Although the complicity of France in advocating Nazi ideology during the battle years has been brought into question in years since, Vercors' French personas are definitely resisters. 'Le Silence de la mer' is most easily interpreted as an allegory of unaggressive level of resistance; the narrator and his niece's refusal to speak to the soldier who lives in their home uninvited is an action of great self-sacrifice and patriotism; an imprisonment of the mind which serves to protect the prices of the culture and country they maintain so dearly. Inside the niece's case, her silence and failure to make eye-contact with von Ebrennac is also a complicated denial of her blossoming emotions for him. She forfeits what might, in other ancient circumstances, have been a happy and suitable union in order to serve the best interests of her country.
An examination of the narrator's library uncovers how incompatible a 'matrimony' France and Nazi Germany would be. For gracing its cabinets (as discovered on web page 28) is a long list of basic authors, mainly French, with a couple of things in common: each of them uphold the Republican emphasis on intellectualism and individualism, & most would have been suspended under the profession. Although the two individuals never verbalise their beliefs, the titles contained in this library are the literary manifestation of the convictions; the value they put on civil liberties and democracy. The inclusion of great writers of other nationalities, for example Shakespeare, is without doubt intended to symbolise resistance over a wider, Western european level. In short, the protagonists' passions lie in resistance, not cooperation.
The shutting line of 'Le Silence de la mer' - 'Dehors luisait au travers de la brume un ple soleil. Il me sembla qu'il faisait trЁs froid' - epitomises, through method of pathetic fallacy, the deception of the first many years of the German profession. The relationship between France and Germany is not 'un amour partage', but, as the sources to Shakespearean has Macbeth and Othello imply, a tragedy, as you seeks to erase the nature of the other. Von Ebrennac's compatriot's words expose the true nature of Franco-German collaboration: '"Nous ne sommes pas des fous ni des niais: nous avons l'occasion de detruire la France, elle le sera. Pas seulement sa puissance: child me aussi. Kid me surtout. Kid me est le plus grand danger. "' Not a collaboration in any way, but a conquest.