Silence received the Tanizaki Prize for the year's best full-length literature. It has also been the subject of extensive analysis. William Cavanaugh refers to the novel's "deep moral ambiguity" due to the depiction of a God who "has chosen not to eliminate suffering, but to suffer with humanity." Endō, in his book A Life of Jesus, states that Japanese culture identifies with the "one who 'suffers with us' and who 'allows for our weakness....with this fact always in mind, I tried not so much to depict God in the father-image that tends to characterize Christianity, but rather to depict the kind-hearted maternal aspect of God revealed to us in the personality of Jesus."
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