What constitutes identity?
For all its historical setting, Walls of Silence is a book exploring a very current reality. Because here’s the thing: every time we succumb to posting a lie or an exaggeration about ourselves on social media,
we fudge ourselves a little. Blur the edges. Alter reality. But what if that false you ended up becoming you? How would you ever realise you had morphed into a construct of your own imagination?
Everyone has multiple facets to their personality and we all have a few highly-polished ones we can call on to enable a smooth transition from one of our life roles to another. If you doubt this then think about whether you wear the same clothes, use the same words or language, talk about the same things, act in the same way, tell the same jokes when you are with . . . your work colleagues / family / old school mates / new boss / friends’ children / strangers / a hated rival / lifelong heroes / love of your life (and here I’ve only scratched the surface of examples). All of us take some care over how we present ourselves to the world but this activity presupposes a central sense of self we can radiate out from, and return to. Without that we are just an illusion, a tissue of fabrication. And if that were the case, what would we have to cling onto once the inevitable happened and that false reality began to disintegrate?
I hope your brief time inside the head of Edith Potter, the protagonist and victim of Walls of Silence, has not been too unsettling . . .
For some insights on how I explored what it might have been like to be Edith, start your journey Charting the mind.