Nature vs Nurture Mario Puzo - Peter Cary

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Nature Vs. Nurture
Mario Puzo's, Omerta, reflects the theory of Thomas Hobbes In the state of nature, where the theory states, that in the state of nature"…no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."(The Modern Age: Ideas In Western Civilization, Page 37-30) In Peter Cary's, True History of the Kelly Gang, which conveys the theory of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they. How did this change come about? I do not know. What can make it legitimate? That question I think I can answer…human beings were good in the state of nature and that in civilization there is the basis of corruption." (The Modern Age: Ideas In Western Civilization, Page 35- 38) Mario Puzo's, Omerta, suggests the theory of Hobbes, that the state of human society is based on human nature and genetics, whereas Peter Carey suggests the theory of Rousseau in his novel, True History of the Kelly Gang, nurture is the main influence, and that geography and human government control future human development, where every subject is or can be subject to change. In Omerta, Don Raymond Aprile adopted Astorre, who had the genetics of a great Mafia Don. In the novel True History of the Kelly Gang, Ned Kelly loses his father at the age of 12 and is left to be raised by his mother and small extended family. In Omerta, Astorre has two brothers and one sister who have little influence on his decisions, whereas in True History of the Kelly Gang, Ned also has siblings but they play a far more significant role in his upbringing, mainly because they can not care for themselves and need his help to survive. In Omerta, Astorre grows up around violence and illegal activities and has a natural talent for being a leader. Ned Kelly, on the opposite end of the spectrum, has grown up in a remote area with a corrupt judicial system, and he commits his crimes because of the constant changes in his life. Omerta begins with the assassination of a retired mob boss, Don Raymond Aprile. The novel then flashes back into the history of Raymond Aprile. This is where the main character of the novel, Astorre Zeno, is introduced as a baby. He is the son of a great Mafioso Don from Italy, who, on his deathbed, leaves his only son to the care of Raymond Aprile. He shows great potential as a future boss in the eyes of Don Raymond Aprile. After returning to America with this, "fiery-eyed baby," Raymond realizes that he is too inept to care for a child at this time. So he leaves the child to the care of Frank Viola, a personal friend. Eventually the friendship between Raymond and Frank sours, as Frank wants to succeed Raymond as Don. Three years after Raymond Aprile left the child in Frank Violas care, Frank turns up dead. He had "committed suicide in the trunk of his car"(Page 24). Now with Frank dead, Don Raymond Aprile resumes care of Astorre Zeno. It was said in the book that during Astorre's child hood […] the Don arranged to have Nicole, Valerius and Marcantonio sent to private boarding schools. He never let them into his personal life. They came home for the holidays, when he played the role of a caring but distant father, but they never became a part of his world (Puzo 23).

Puzo also wrote "Astorre was the Don's Favorite, even above his own children"(Puzo 29). Astorre is the only exception in the Don's personal life: he looks up to the Don and goes with him everywhere. After Don Zeno's death, Don Raymond Aprile makes it a point to return to Italy at least once a year, and takes Astorre with him. While on a walk though the countryside, the Don and Astorre are abducted by an Italian Cosca. During the incarceration of the Don and Astorre, Astorre enjoys the company of the kidnappers. Upon rescue, Raymond is faced with the...
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