The Assault By Harry Mulisch Analysis

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It is hard to find pure good and pure evil. No person is completely good nor evil, and no act is free of moral ambiguity. The notion of light and dark corresponding with good and evil, when examined closely, is false. In the novel The Assault by Harry Mulisch, the author uses allusion, imagery, and contrast to show that light is not completely free of malice, and darkness is not always something to be hated. In The Assault, the concept of light and dark are explicitly talked about between characters. When Anton is talking to Truus in the jail cell, she begins to talk to him about such topics. “Maybe that’s even more beautiful, for light is older than love. Christians say it is not so, but then, they’re Christians” (Mulisch, 38). Truus is explaining…show more content…
“The dim light entering through the cold basement windows was supplemented by the cold glare of fluorescent tubes that flickered feebly with purplish flashes” (137). In Takes basement, this light seems to be tainted. The artificial lighting is flickering, and the natural light is filtered through “cold” windows into a dimly lit space. The contrast of the natural and artificial light connecting to light the basement symbolizes the mix of truth (light) that Anton is receiving in the dark room. Earlier in the book, while talking to Takes for the first time, light also plays a part in the imagery of their conversation. As Anton discovers more and more from Takes, as they walk through a cemetery, something that has a definite connotation of darkness and death, there is a sudden light. “…a small cloud crept over the sun, making the flowers on the new grave look bleached, as if they were repenting…But the next moment, everything was once more bathed in light” (112). The diction in this quote is important for the symbolism of light and darkness, as diction like ‘bathed’, ‘light’, and ‘flowers’ contrast sharply with words like ‘grave’ and ‘repenting’. Here is the stereotypical symbolism of light, as being truth and illumination, and cemeteries being associated with death and darkness. Most of all, these two contrast. Anton is standing in a graveyard after a funeral, yet the sun is shining upon him and Takes. This dual nature is what gives this novel such potency in its

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