Michele's compassion is his most prominent characteristic that makes him appealing to the reader. Throughout the novel, he exhibits empathy well beyond his years, often making readers forget that he is just nine. This can be seen clearly in three main instances. First, when he goes after his sister when she has fallen over (pg. 4) despite his own fears. Secondly, offering to complete the forfeit in place of Barbra when Skull forces her to complete an embarrassing forfeit. Finally, and most evidently, when he takes care of Filippo. This makes for a positive contrast with the rest of Acqua Traverse who seem to lack any compassion. When describing places and characters he reveals his unique way of viewing things that demonstrates his childlike imagination and innocence. He often combines reality and fantasy, such as when describing the Wicked Witch' (pg. 89) to Maria.
Michele is a hero in many ways. He exhibits all the characteristics and actions of someone who would certainly be considered a hero. He is compassionate for those who are weaker and more vulnerable, and helps them in spite of his fears for his own safety. His actions in the case of Filippo set his apart from others, as a hero. Michele defies his parent's wishes and, with the knowledge he would be in trouble, he returns to Filippo to honor his promise. However, it is his actions in the end of the text that define him as a hero. When saving Filippo from the hole, and taking his place he is risking his life and is He is a hero to Maria, who he protects from all the problems and conflicts in the Amitrano family.
Towards the end of the text, Michele's happiness is evident. When he finds Filippo alive, he is overwhelmed and bursts out in tears (pg. 208). He seems to have achieved what he wanted all along, to free Filippo.
In the end of the novel, Michele has matured. Initially when he meets Filippo he is repulsed by the notion of touching him, however in the end of the text Michele embraces Filippo when they are both shivering with cold' (pg. 211).
It is clear that Pino is annoyed by his family's life in Acqua Traverse. It becomes evident that he justifies his actions to himself by making himself believe they are necessary to improve their lives. Don't you want to get away from Acqua Traverse?' questions Pino when Michele asks why they have put Filippo in a hole (pg. 157). Pino evidently sees Filippo as a means of getting his family out of Acqua Traverse, and in a way, Filippo signifies everything that the Amitrano family does not have, namely, wealth.
Throughout the novel, Pino's rough exterior is clear. However, in places he reveals small amounts of empathy. The most obvious of this is when he plea's on the final night let's give him back to her' (pg. 192). The most apparent reason for this would be him being able to relate to the mother of Filippo. It is his nature as a parent that prevents him from leaving his son at the end of the novel.
Mama (Teresa Amitrano)
When the adults argue loudly in the next room Michele and Maria wake up. It becomes obvious that Teresa is having trouble coping with the situation when she becomes desperate and places pillows on the heads of Michele and Maria to stop them talking and hearing the arguments (pg. 190).
Maria is important in the text to establish Michele's characteristics and how the develop. Her presence draws on Michele's compassion. She is also important in showing Michele's perception of his father. Whilst telling Maria a fictional story, Michele mixes reality with imagination, showing many of his real feelings that he does not express at any other time. In this sense, Maria is simply fulfilling the function of a means of demonstrating Michele's deeper feelings for his family, and exhibiting his personal qualities such as compassion.
Filippo has a lot of eccentric theories as to what has happened to him. He finally comes...