Her Secrets

Berger, John

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Autobiography

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela
  • Date of entry: Feb-08-2002


Berger writes shortly after the death of his mother. He remembers how as a child he had a morbid fear that his parents would die in the middle of the night. But his mother has lived for a long time. Now Berger reflects on his mother's secrets. She was forever stoic and had an air of mystery that Berger thinks caused him to become a writer--he had to try to fathom the mystery. On her death bed, he learns her secret-- she has had a happy life.


It is interesting to consider Berger's chapter in the context of his other work. He is best known for a book about how women are represented in art and advertising as objects of scrutiny for men. Is Berger making his mother into the same kind of object, filled with mysteries to be ferreted out? Berger does seem to give his mother more agency than this.

Primary Source

Hiding in Plain Sight: Essays in Criticism and Autobiography


Mercury House

Place Published

San Francisco




Wendy Lesser