I’m not scared reveals how poverty and ignorance can lead to the erosion of moral values.
Niccolo Ammaniti’s coming of age novel examines how poverty and ignorance can lead to the erosion of moral values, yet also shows how people can act with compassion and love. The kidnapping of Filippo is cruel and inhumane brought about by desperation, poor choices and a lack of thought about the consequences. Many adults act in ways that are ‘immoral’ yet Michele’s moral development, independent to his father, demonstrates that despite poverty and loyalty, compassion and love towards others is still possible.
Through the poverty in the town of Acqua traverse, the small hamlet in southern Italy where the story is set, the adults were forced into desperate measures to provide for their families. They resorted to a quick way to make money by kidnapping a boy named Filippo and holding him for ransom. He is held in a dark damp hole for weeks on end. This shows how cruel and inhumane people can be in dire situations. One of the worst examples comes from Pino, one of the leaders from the kidnapping group, or the “…bogeyman. By day he was good, but at night he was bad.” He threatens to cut off Filippo’s ears when watching the plea by the boy’s mother showing how cruel he has become.
Another character that is corrupted by the poverty of the region is Skull, the cruel leader of the children’s group. His ignorance to the consequences made by his decisions makes him a bad leader. He makes the children who lose his competitions do horrible thing, either extremely embarrassing or dangerous. He only ever picks competitions he knows he will win as he is the oldest at 12, and by far the strongest. After a rock throwing contest he made the loser, Barbara, the only girl in the group, show her breasts to everyone. That was a punishment for everyone else as much as her because they had to look at her breasts which looked like “…the rolls of fat on her stomach.” He is also twisted in...
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