Bread and Wine is a timeless story of the struggle of one man in a changing country. The Country is Italy. The time is the 1930's, however the struggle is against fascism. To understand where the book is coming from, one must first understand where the author himself was coming from. Ignazio Silone can be closely related to the main character in the book; Pietro Spina. He was born early in May in the year 1900. Living in a small village in the region of Abruzzi, something caught the eye of the young Silone. That something, was the promise of a better life. That something, was the hope of a socialist Italy. Since 15 years old Ignazio Silone tried desperately, doing what was in his power to help the cause, and overcome the odds of fascism. It is his life that ignited his writing career, and that career which ignited the beginning of this book.
The opening of the book begins to set up the novel, and describe the setting. It is Don Benedetto's birthday, and he is expecting guests. The beginning of the attitudes of the surrounding villagers begin to show light, as the book explains because of his solitary state on the hill most in the village think of him as somewhat of a simpleton. As the guests arrive by car, the buffoonery of the locals shines through again as the shepherd blocking the car refuses to move, his only defense is that they should have said they were visiting Don Benedetto. The author must have put these few signs in the beginning of the book to give readers a quick sense of the local population of being very ignorant, so it has room to escalate during the duration of the novel. The guests are to stay for a while reminiscing of past times, and talking of old friends, until one particular person is brought up. Don Benedetto's favorite student. A one Pietro Spina. Pietro was an especially unique student. Although very bright, he was troublesome, and restless. These are among the first descriptions of the...