The title of the novel is ‘I’m Not Scared’. It is ironic since the title means a denial of fear but is contradicted by experiences of the characters, especially Michele. Michele tells himself “I’m not scared of anything” (p.46) when in fact, he is scared of many things, a number of which are imaginary (ogres, monsters, witches and so on). At first his fear at the abandoned house circulates around these superstitious beliefs, such as the possibility of dead people coming back to life, but later, when he finds out why Filipo is in the hole and who put him there, Michele’s fear gains a more reasonable basis. However, even though Michele knows he is right to be afraid, he is compelled or forced to act by his sense of moral obligation (an obligation arising out of considerations of right and wrong). He knows he ‘must go’ to see Filipo after he hears Filipo’s mother’s declaration of love on the television, even though he ‘was scared’ (p.95). Also after Michele has promised his father not to visit Filipo, he is torn by the fact that he has also promised Filipo that he will visit him. It is this double promise that has the most force, since Michele knows that he ‘wouldn’t be doing anything wrong’ (p.161) and that without him Filipo has no-one to provide company or kindness. This sense of obligation is stronger than Michele’s fear of what his father might say or do.
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