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Niccolo Ammaniti’s novel ‘I’m not scared’ Essay

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Topic two: “The character and morality of Michele are underestimated by the adults of Aqua Traverse.”

Niccolo Ammaniti’s novel ‘I’m not scared’ is based on fear that is within the characters of Aqua Traverse. Fear can cause people to respond in an irresponsible manner and forget about morality. Throughout this novel, the adults of Aqua Traverse did not only lose their humanity but they also underestimated Michele’s character and morality. It caused them to forget the love of their children and each other.

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This fear was caused by the feeling of poverty and not being able to leave Aqua Traverse. It has been stated many times throughout the novel, for example Teresa had pleaded to Michele: “When you grow up, you must go and never come back.” This fear forced them to kidnap the 9-year old boy Phillipo. This vague idea of living a better life left the adults emotionally bankrupt.

However, this novel proved that morality is not only in wise and old people but within everyone. It is based on the individual’s character, as Michele did encounter fear just like the rest of the adults, but he did not let fear override his morality.

Michele had lost trust in everyone surrounding him, including his own true friend Salvatore; this forced him to look within his moral directions. All children must trust their parents in order to be protected from any form of fear that they may interact with. But in this novel, the adults had focused on their own fears and believed Michele would always be too young to understand anything.

Michele’s parents are blinded by the crime, that they don’t take any notice of Michele’s maturity level. They don’t realize they are destroying his innocence at such a young age.

Michele’s father, Pino is the main cause for the other adults to forget about Michele’s true character and independence. Pino is one of the major characters in the novel. He portrays being the villain and bringing his son in the face of evil, not realizing this is causing him to lose his innocence.

At the beginning of the novel, Pino was described as a caring and loving father. He cherished every moment that he spent with the family, as he brought the children gifts and insisted on fetching the water instead of the kids. Later on, his affection was drawn out when he refused to listen to Michele’s excuse as to why he was late and instead told him to ‘get out’. Pino’s evil character was further exposed when he blackmailed Michele into believing that he will be the blame for Phillipo’s death if he visits him again, as he had stated: “If you go back, these people will kill him and it’ll be your fault.” This left Michele with a heavy amount of weight being put on his shoulders; it also caused him to increase his anxiety.

Pino proved his na�ve thinking about Michele by purchasing him a new bike in order to buy his silence or gain his peace, in which Michele was not about to hand over whatsoever. He was the main person who underestimated Michele’s main character, which lead him to not shoot Phillipo in the end of the novel, but instead his own son, Michele.

It wasn’t only Michele’s father that had underestimated his character, but also his very own mother.

Teresa was busy with her own agendas and was overcome by her fear of having to live in Aqua Traverse for the rest of her life and the children’s life. She appears to be strong as described by Ammaniti, but she is weak from within and her strength is dying gradually. She demonstrated her strength when Felice injured Michele; as she attacked him with all her might and then threatened her husband Pino: “If he touches Michele again I’ll kill him and then I’ll kill you.” It was unexpected to believe that she was involved in the kidnap of a boy that’s the same age as her own son. However, she is very obedient towards her husband which forces her to not rebel against any evil acts. At the end of the novel Teresa becomes very emotional and stressed that she doesn’t take any notice of Michele’s character from within.

This novel only proved that a person does not have to be wise and old in order to have true morality. Michele was a good example of this. He motivated himself with his imaginations and brought a heroic character inside of him. Despite the fact the adults never took any notice of him, it only brought him to take higher risks and chances no other child would take, such as disobeying his father’s rules. He understood the adults were too busy with their own criminal minds and that he must take action to help free Phillipo and take him back to his family. Niccolo Ammaniti truly explored this novel throughout a child’s mind in the face of evil.

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