Study Guide

Silence Chapter 4

By Shusaku Endo

Chapter 4

  • Luckily, the villagers were able to hide their religious articles before the officials arrived. Aside from a few interrogations, they escape unscathed.
  • Several days later, the priests hear a commotion coming from Tomogi. The "guards had come to search the village" once again (4.15).
  • From their perch atop the mountain, the priests see the local Jiisama being dragged to death by a horse. It's a horrible sight.
  • Later that night, the priests learn the full story: although no evidence was found, the angry samurai who led the search said that an informant told them that there were Christians in Tomogi.
  • The priests are debating if they should leave, when the authorities return once again. This time the guards are led by an old, seemingly kind-hearted samurai.
  • Though he's less hostile, this samurai's even worse than the first guy: he demands that the villagers select three hostages to be sent to Nagasaki. In the end, Ichizo and Mokichi volunteer, and Kichijiro is selected by the villagers. Poor Kichijiro.
  • The three men are nervous. Mokichi asks Rodrigues what to do if asked to "trample on the fumie," an image of Christ (4.39). Rodrigues shocks himself by telling the young man to trample away.
  • After their trial, the three men do indeed trample on the fumie. Noting their discomfort, however, the officials decide to take things up a notch, demanding that the men spit on the image.
  • Only Kichijiro is able to do it. He disappears immediately afterwards.
  • Several weeks later, Ichizo and Mokichi are brought back to Tomogi to be executed. The two men are tied to crosses on the shoreline, the tide slowly rising and killing them by causing sheer exhaustion.
  • It takes several agonizing days, but the two men finally die. The officials burn the bodies before the villagers can give them a Christian burial.
  • Rodrigues is shaken by these deaths. Though he considered the deaths a glorious "martyrdom," he hated seeing the men suffering (4.87).
  • After all of this, the priests decide to even their odds by splitting up. Rodrigues gets into a boat in the middle of the night without even knowing where he's headed.
  • The villagers drop Rodrigues off at a small island. He looks around for a village, but the whole area looks as if "a battle had recently devastated the whole district" (4.112). He grabs what little food he can find and heads off.
  • Rodrigues walks for several days without seeing anyone—though he does stumble across a fire pit with still-smoking embers at one point.
  • It starts raining, and Rodrigues tries to hide inside a small hut. He can't stay very long, however, because it smells like straight-up poop in that place—and fresh poop at that.
  • After emerging from the hut, Rodrigues sees a figure approaching from the distance. As the man gets closer, Rodrigues realizes that it's Kichijiro, that dastardly devil, begging for forgiveness.
  • Although Rodrigues is suspicious, he decides to travel with Kichijiro to a nearby village the old drunk claims is chock full of Christians.
  • Rodrigues and Kichijiro camp out for the night. Kichijiro cooks some "dried fish" and offers it to the priest, who eats it greedily (4.160).
  • The next morning, Rodrigues wakes up with an awful headache and a throat as dry as the desert. Kichijiro bounds off to look for a stream.
  • Suspicious, Rodrigues quietly follows his companion. To his surprise, Kichijiro returns with a jug of water, which Rodrigues chugs.
  • Unfortunately, there's another surprise coming. The two men are confronted by a group of guards who throw Rodrigues to the ground before tossing "a number of tiny silver coins" to Kichijiro (4.193).