In southern Italy in 1978, Niccolo Ammaniti’s “Im Not Scared” depicts a sense of Michele’s ethical struggles and steady move towards good in the face of evil. Some character values through the novel are disintegrated through fear, whereas Michele, rose above them because of his concern for others and loyalty. His decisions are generally the right ones. His compassion and natural sense of what is right and wrong are sure guides, despite his age, naivety and fears. Michele draws upon a naïve but heroic sense of right and wrong as he accepts responsibilities, His humanity overwhelms his fears. Paragraph 1
Fear is one of the most incapacitating and destructive emotions. To say “Im not scared” is to deny being afraid, but most of the novels characters do experience fear. Firstly Michele’s fear circulates around peer group isolation and anxiety. He fears losing and having to do the forfeit, but his realisation that there was “something dirty…something nasty” that he did not want his sister Maria to see. Skull’s forfeit to Barbara, makes Michele accept the forfeit in her place. Michele’s protection of his sister, though reluctant, is a moral duty he does and is the first sign of innate goodness, Skull’s abuse of power makes all the children live in fear. However it is how Michele is overridden by the morally correct thing to do in this situation even though he feared of not wanting to do the forfeit. Paragraph 2
As Michele learns more about Filippo Carducci, Michele’s nightmares shift into reality. Michele’s discovery of the boy in the hole and what to do is the most severe test of his moral character. Even when Michele knows he is right to be afraid, he is compelled to act by his sense of moral obligation. He knows he “must go” to see Filippo after he hears Filippo’s mothers declaration of love on the television, even though he “was scared”. His loss of innocence and world of betrayal are distressing and difficult lessons for him. “Papa was the bogeyman. By day he was good but at night he was bad.” After Michele has promised his father that he would not go and visit Filippo again, he was torn by the fact that he had also promised Filippo that he will visit him. He calls upon enormous amounts of both physical and moral courage to break his oath sworn on his father’s head, confront his own fears and overcome injuries to free Filippo. Paragraph 3
With fictional characters like the witch, it in fact replicates the horrors Michele now knows are going on in the real world. Monsters do exist after all, but they are men, and even worse, people he knows, his very own father. Having lost trust in the adults around him, Michele looked within his moral direction. It is the heroic actions that in fact conquer his fears in order to save a life of Filippo that sets him apart from others. His journey towards moral maturity compels himself to disregard vows made to his corrupt father and imperial on his own life. The adults and Michele’s parents are all frightened of feeling the physical and emotional poverty and lack material advantages of adequate food and clothing. The isolation and being stuck in Acqua Traverse “a place forgotten by god and man” and frightened by humiliation in front of others are all felt by the adults. These fears are equally alike to Michele’s, only Pino and his friends let fear override their moral convictions, unlike Michele. Children should be able to trust their parents to protect them from fears. But in Acqua Traverse, the adults have an agenda of their own. They have dug themselves into a hole where there is no way out. Their justification and vague excuses that Michele is too young to understand and demonstrate he moral difference between the child and his parents. Conclusion
Associations with the career criminals such as Sergio Materia have left Michele’s parents morally bankrupt. They have lost their humanity. They are allowing fear to override moral convictions is most clearly evident when the carabinieri circle in helicopters. The fear compels them to respond in most desperate and extreme of fashions. It was determined that self-survival can only come through murdering the helpless child. Individuals who face their fears and who can choose wisely between loyalties in difficult situation, grow to a moral maturity that rises them to heroic heights, as Michele did. Unlike his elder, Michele did encounter fear, but he never let his fear be overridden by his moral convictions. Instead he usually finds himself compelled to act by his sense of moral obligation.