Language as a force for good in the work of Herta Müller

02 Oct 2017

Herta Müller creates sophisticated metaphors to convey her vision of language and its relationship to suffering and subjugation. With reference to both her fiction and non‐fiction, this essay explores how she uses the idea of forceful language. It delineates how the trope of force illuminates the power of language. I analyse the metaphorical conceptualisation of forceful language that makes survival possible through resistance to social oppression. Language is understood as a force that provides support and protection to the author and her characters. The metaphorical image of force enables Müller to represent language as a means by which to lighten the burden of oppression, to put up resistance, and to help the victims of persecution cope with their suffering and survive.