Susan Griffin compares and contrasts cellular life and weaponry as she writes her essay, Our Secret. She uses these ideas together with characters and events, to help explain causes and effects in the essay. She alternates from the cell’s function to the history of weaponry throughout the essay. With both these ideas, she starts at the elementary level, with a cell’s life and with the Vergeltungswaffe missile, and tells how they progress. In this essay, I will describe how Griffin uses cellular life and weaponry to tie together the lives of the characters. Griffin starts “Our Secret” by describing how the nucleus of a cell is derived and the meaning of it. She states that “like the stone in a cherry, it is found in the center of the cell, and like this stone, keeps its precious kernel in a shell” (Our Secret 404). This statement marks the basis of cellular structure. These italicized fragments are used throughout the essay, although cellular function statements alternate with weaponry statements. Susan Griffin relates these concepts to the relationships that are found in “Our Secret”.
“The nucleus of every cell in the human body contains the genetic plan for the whole organism” (Our Secret 441). This idea refers to how people base their actions on what they have strong emotions for. Susan Griffin relates cell functions and its growth stages with Himmler and his life developments. “The shell surrounding the nucleus is not hard and rigid, it is a porous membrane. These pores allow only some substances to pass through them, mediating the movement of materials in and out of the nucleus” (Our Secret 404). This is associated with the way people remember only certain things they want to remember but they can never get the full images or memory out of their mind. All their experiences will always be a part of them no matter how hard they try to forget them. Another idea that deals with this statement is how cellular function and weaponry growth contrast. Again, no matter how hard we try, we can’t control the process of cells.
When discussing weaponry, as humans, we try to make weapons more powerful and more precise year after year; nothing will be good enough for us. In weaponry, there might be many units that we have to control for the weapon to work, but in cellular function, we have no control over all the units that we are made of. The same idea applies to relationships people encounter in life. From this idea comes the concept that people are products of their environment. An example of this is Himmler. He could have left his home or deviated from his father’s wishes, but he didn’t and even if he didn’t like it, he became a product of his environment. All the events and people that were present in Himmler’s childhood had a bearing on his actions. Unfortunately, all of this was magnified as he grew older and this is why Himmler became the person he was in Griffin’s essay. While discussing cells, Griffin states how threads of RNA act as messengers. This affects everyone because even if you didn’t fight in a war or grow up around it, you were impacted by it. Griffin puts it best when she says that we are all part of a complex web that is full of connections and relationships.
All the details of the war, the people and the actions are written down, studied and talked about. So there is always going to be people (RNA) carrying this information and sharing it with others. This means there will always be a sources of information for an individual to learn about the actions and people of a time period. Near the end of the essay, she states “as the fertilized egg cell starts to divide, all the daughter cells have identical DNA, but the cells soon cease to look alike, and in a few weeks, a number of different kinds of cells can be recognized in the embryo” (Our Secret 450). She tells how newborns develop many unique cells required for him/her to survive. This happens without human interference. This essay deals with human relationships, and these can be compared with cellular development.
In conclusion of cellular development I would like to state, again, that cells which have DNA and RNA and that eventually evolve into humans, can not be controlled. Weaponry starts with the creation of the Vergeltungswaffe or V-1 missile. From there Griffin continues telling about the advancement of weaponry. This applies to Himmler as well; Himmler starts out weak like the weapons as time goes by the weapons start to become bigger and stronger along with this Himmler grows stronger with time, too.” The missile is guided by a programmed mechanism. There is no electronic device that can be jammed. Once it is fired it cannot stop” (our Secret 405). After the war started, there was nothing that could be done to stop the war. Just as the missiles can’t be stopped, the war was in progress and even if people wished it to stop, there was no way to jam the advancement of it.
This essay could very easily be broken down into three stories: one about the original essay, another about the advancement of weaponry, and finally about cellular function and development. All these concepts are tied together with relationships. She also does a magnificent job in comparing and contrasting weaponry and cellular development. The effects of the weapons used during the war affected all humans; but humans are the people behind these machines making them work. Weaponry and cellular function and development are ideas Susan Griffin understands and uses very carefully so her readers can better understand the development of human relationships.