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Cover for The Silenced

The Silenced

James DeVita


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Other Editions of This Title:
Library Binding (7/1/2007)
Hardcover (7/1/2007)


Marena struggles to remember the past: a time before the Zero Tolerance Party murdered her mother and put her father under house arrest. A time before they installed listening devices in every home and outlawed writing. A time when she was free. But it feels like the only thing the new, repressive government wants is to have Marena forget. When the Minister of Education, Helmsley Greengritch, cracks down on Marena's youth training facility, she knows she has to fight back. In the spirit of her revolutionary mother, she forms her own resistance group--the White Rose. With nothing but words and a hunger for freedom, Marena fights for what she knows is right, only to discover the ZT Party's horrifying plans for the country. A thrilling story of resistance and the power of art, The Silenced draws upon the true story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose group's resistance to the Nazi party.

Milkweed Editions, 9781571319371, 448pp.

Publication Date: August 11, 2015

About the Author

James DeVita, an author and actor, has published two award-winning novels for young readers as well as numerous plays. He is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a member of The Dramatists Guild and Actor's Equity Association. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and two children.

Conversation Starters from

1. Marena’s mother told her, “Every thing of beauty… is a form of resistance.” Later in the novel, these words catch the attention of Mr. Greengritch. How does beauty counter the aims of the Zero Tolerance Party (ZT)?

2. Marena claims that she would rather die than betray her loved ones. Is there any space in the resistance for a lesser level of commitment?

3. Three families are presented in the novel: Marena’s, Dex’s, and Mr. Greengritch’s. How do their families influence these characters? What is the ZT’s interest in family ties?

4. Marena struggles to remember her life before the ZT took over. What is the importance of memory for Marena? For Mr. Greengritch?

5. While the novel is largely about Marena, Mr. Greengritch also narrates several sections. Why is his perspective important? In what ways is his character both juxtaposed with and parallel to Marena?

6. When Mr. Greengritch takes over Marena’s class, he gives them a writing assignment: to describe what they think is “absolutely true” about themselves (69). What is the purpose of this assignment? What does he expect to learn about the students?

7. The Zero Tolerance Party revoked labor visas and created a “racial purity index.” What threat does the ZT imagine is posed by the people they classify as “deficient”? Although the novel is overtly focused on free speech, how does the underlying narrative about race and citizenship status complicate this theme?

8. While The Silenced was inspired by the real White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany, the novel is set in a recognizable near future. What methods of state control and surveillance are present in the world of the novel, and how do they compare to those used in our world today?