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Songs of Silence – Nathan Essay

Use the character Nathan to discuss the ways in which Forbes presents the theme of Silence. In the book ‘Songs of Silence’, the character Nathan is man of simple pleasures. His kind of silence as pertaining to the book was one of never knowing what to expect or what his true intentions were. It was a silence of pure evil yet with purposeful good intentions. This is seen when he seeks revenge after his kite was broken by his brother earlier that day. Before going to bed, he performed his bedtime ritual of kneeling by his bedside and saying his prayers then proceeded to his older brother, Tony, and poked him in the eye and without a word went to bed an fell asleep. That action was unexpected but well deserved.

Nathan was very observant. He was also a determined young man. It is seen in the way he would handle negotiations with his siblings. It was almost like you would have to give into his demands because it was his way or the highway, take it or leave it, that type of thing. So if it was a situation where you needed something from him you would then have to meet the requirements of payment or not have whatever it is taken care of and that would be his final answer. You could say he was a stubborn person but he stood up for what he felt he believed in. This is also seen in his later years as an adult. As a security guard he abided by the rules and stood up for what was right. He didn’t allow the thought of material things cloud the duties he had to fulfill, and in doing this he lost a leg but was quite content in the down to earth life style he lived after settling a generous financial deal.

For Nathan the need for a companion was never at all necessary. He needed only himself. He found self-fulfillment of being satisfied with what he had and had no need for anything more. Forbes drew a reference to this by stating, “If bone could suffice, there was no need for flesh,” (page: 31 fourth paragraph). That statement alone shows us how content yet tight Nathan was. Tight in the sense that when he was owed something he would make sure of it that he got repaid. Also, when it came to money he only spent what it is he knew he needed. Other than that the money would forever stay in his pocket.

There were many ‘types’ of silence interpreted in the book ‘Songs of Silence’. Nathan’s silence in particular was one which brought about question. Why was he so quiet all the time? Was something troubling him that he had to take a great deal of time to figure it out? Or was it because he had no interest in earthly pleasures. In conclusion, Curdella Forbes uses Nathan’s silence to epitomize self-content; being happy with the company of one’s self.


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