It is arguable that the overarching intention of ‘Resistance’ is to highlight how our perceptions can so often guide us down paths of judgement and actions that are wholly undesirable and nonsensical as that perception itself is misguided.
It is to illuminate how so many individuals now and throughout history have held prejudice against each other for a multitude of reasons ranging from race, community, and the idea of good versus evil.
We see the third example of such divide exemplified in the novel with characters belonging to a group deemed as evil revealing their inner humanity.
The occupying Nazis are indeed part of a movement that should be judged for its actions but the novel may teach us to look beyond and not pile the sins of a group upon a member of that same group.
Overall, the novel is a plea to acknowledge the personal humanity of an individual, to see beyond grander concepts like ideology and religion and view the mind and heart of the human before you.
Resistance sees two groups forced together by circumstance, two groups that are completely opposed to one another.
However, we see an intriguing series of events when the ‘good’ takes in and cares for the ‘evil’, even if they are forced.
What we see next is a list of more intimate scenes of humans interacting with humans as opposed to concept fighting concept.
It is not, at this point, a conflict between allies and axis but a friction of humans. It is because of this that we see how similar the two actually are. In fact, we see how the women who must take in these soldiers can be susceptible to the same prejudice that they might scrutinise the soldiers for.
We see the inner turmoil on display as reality does not match expectation, when the soldiers are not the demons expected of them. The novel is more a testament to humanity, the overlooked beauty of individual opinions and beliefs, the nuance of a group’s members not being controlled by every teaching of that group.
To continue, we can also debate that, from this concept of everyone being susceptible to the same missteps (like judgment and uniformed scrutiny), that Sheers may be attempting to speak on the subject of history often using black and whites to describe situations, missing the subtlety and nuance that should be necessary.
The utilisation of an alternate history to explain this point is also prevalent as it sets itself in a situation that Sheers can play with almonds infinitely. However, we see how the pressures of the war, the adherence to duty, and the fear of defiance ignite the tensions between people and all the buildup of relationships and understanding must inevitably crumble as these factors tighten their grip.
It is, in the end, quite tragic. Though humanity is present and we see how, at their base, humans can coexist and can find a pleasing middle ground, concepts such as duty, nationality, war, and ideology can rip apart what could be completely positive.
Resistance is a 2007 alternative history novel by Welsh poet and author Owen Sheers. The plot centres on the inhabitants of a valley near Abergavenny in Wales in 1944–45, shortly after the failure of Operation Overlord and a successful German counter invasion of Great Britain.
A group of German Wehrmacht soldiers stay there after men leave to serve in the covert British Resistance. The novel follows abandoned farmer’s wife Sarah Lewis and German commanding officer Albrecht Wolfram, as they form an unlikely relationship in spite of their backgrounds and political standings.