Lives Of The Saints Essay

1592 words - 7 pages

Lives of the Saints Lives of the Saints is a story that examines the complexities and tribulations of everyday life in a small town. Throughout the novel, we discover that even the most trustworthy and caring individuals live secret lives behind closed doors, and that the surface appearance of minor communities can be very deceptive. Some people spend their entire adult-lives trying to knock down these doors and discover the truth, but perhaps they are overlooking the key to the lock… our children.Vittorio Innocente is a young boy who has not always lived up to his name. 'My attendance at school had not been very regular-it had somehow fallen out that I'd spent much of class time ...view middle of the document...

'…A veil seemed to have fallen between us, and for a while I had nursed this estrangement like a precious wound I could somehow turn to advantage; but the passing days brought only a growing awkwardness, as if my mother and I had suddenly become strangers, with no words now to bridge the silence between us' (74). Vittorio's 'safety-goggles' also help him when the gang of boys invite him up to the mountain. He cannot see the danger that has befallen him. Luckily, his friend Fabrizio saves him just in time, and proves that he is a true friend.Unfortunately, to every advantage there are a few disadvantages. When Fabrizio saves Vitto on the mountain, he doesn't understand what has happened. '…I felt myself flush with anger and hate, hate for Fabrizio, my only friend, who seemed suddenly stupid and useless beyond all bearing' (127). Eventually, as Vittorio makes his progression towards maturity, he realizes that he had underestimated his friend, and they become closer because of it. As the old saying goes, "ignorance is bliss." But perhaps in the case of this young boy, it isn't. Maybe if he had been able to understand the severity of the problem his family was in, he would have acted differently.Lives of the Saints also deals with the contrast of good and evil, something that Vittorio comes across on numerous occasions throughout the story. (There are far more characters in this story then I could mention on these pages, so I will write about the people who had the greatest effect on Vittorio). His encounter with Luciano of Rocca Secca is one of the key elements in the book. For his seventh birthday, Vittorio and his mother travel to Rocca Secca to buy him some birthday presents. On their way towards the market, Cristina meets a tall, muscular man that Vittorio has never seen. The man (Luciano) carries him piggyback down to a secluded area of town, and takes a large one-lira coin out of his pocket. Luciano tells him the story of how he picked it up during the war, and how it saved his life. Vittorio is surprised when Luciano gives him the coin as a birthday present, and tells Vitto that it will bring him good luck.For years, La Maestra had been a name that struck fear into the hearts of children in Valle del Sole. She had a particular dislike for Vittorio because of his behaviour in class, along with his constant absences. But when his mother's affair becomes common knowledge around the town, La Maestra feels pity for the young boy. Knowing that the older boys are after him, she asks him to stay after school and sweep the floors or do other chores in the classroom. Eventually, their silent friendship grows to that of a mother-son relationship. Seeing that Vittorio has changed his classroom habits, La Maestra begins reading him stories from a book called Lives of the Saints. It is filled with the stories of many saints and the good deeds they had done. Vittorio likes the book so much that he brings it home with him sometimes, fascinated...

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