Theological and Literary Analysis of Endo’s Silence College

Shusaku Endo’s Silence follows the experience of the young Catholic missionary Father Rodrigues and his companion Father Garrpe in their attempt to help the brutally oppressed Christians of 17th century Japan. As a 20th-century novel, Silence presents readers with a historically accurate yet captivating account of the harsh realities of both 17th century Japanese society and Catholic missionary work. However, the true genius within Silence is the religious and spiritual introspection which it inspires. By following the deeply personal theological struggles of Father Rodrigues we as readers are forced to face the same existential questions and moral dilemmas facing him.

Silence can, and has been analyzed in various ways through the years. To truly grasp the full aesthetic power of the work, readers must examine it as both a work of literature and theology. As a work of literature, Silence is considered a masterpiece by many for a number of reasons. However few acknowledge one of the significant literary accomplishments of the book: Endo not only perfects the Catholic modernist literary aesthetic, he expands and further modernizes it. Furthermore, as a work of theology Silence raises many interesting points and questions,...

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