The collapse of silence
DOI link for The collapse of silence
The collapse of silence book
In this chapter, I examine the role of silence in a selection from Ida Fink’s short story collection, A Scrap of Time and Other Stories. I also focus on how Fink’s narratives portray the internal, psychological impact of the assault on the family structure. In addition to considering the motif of silence, there is an emphasis on her utilizing the simplicity of the short story form to reveal a “moment” of the “anti-world” in which the internal family relationships break down. Although most scholars address Fink’s work in terms of her ability to weave the notion of memory into her narratives, or make note of the internalized language of her prose or her use of “paradoxes,” the tearing apart of family relationships in Fink’s stories has not been examined. For example, in Fink’s “The Key Game,” a boy rehearses finding a “lost” key, in order for his father to hide if or when the Nazis come to their door. This story captures an aspect of the “anti-world” for the reader that demonstrates the tearing of meaning from expression and language. In Fink’s stories, the reader sees various fragmented facets of the Holocaust and comes to understand that the world of these stories is a world in which language and expression between parent and child are devoid of meaning. Fink’s “Aryan Papers” captures another layer of this inverted world, depicting how a girl trades her virginity for false papers in the hope that these documents would save her and her mother’s life. The structure of this genre enables the reader to immediately see this perversion of justice, mockery of language, and appropriating of humanity that occur when one fails to see the value of each life. Lastly, I emphasis how Fink captures the psychological strains and emotional toils facing individuals (parent(s) and child(ren)) through centering her stories on a particular moment in time.