I’m Not Scared
“I’m Not Scared” by Niccolo Ammaniti is a dramatic thriller in which the author portrays the contrasting themes of loyalty and betrayal with the use of symbolism and characterisation. “I’m Not Scared” is a dramatic tale set in a small Italian hamlet written in first person narrative. The protagonist in this novel is Michele, a 9 year old boy who accidentally stumbles upon a young boy who is being held ransom. Throughout the novel Michele visits and as the story progresses Michele finds out that his ‘Papa’ and all the adults in Acqua Traverse are holding the young boy ransom. As Michele develops as a character we see the contrast of loyalty and betrayal. We are shown this particularly at the novels climax as Michele’s loyalty to the young boy is entwined with the betrayal of his father. The themes of loyalty and betrayal are effectively conveyed through the use of the ‘matches’ as a symbolic object. Michele and his younger sister, Maria are arguing over who has to fetch the water and as there is no fair solution, Michele’s father comes up with the soldiers draw idea:- “Do you know the soldier’s draw?...
You take three matches,...
Whoever draws the headless
Match goes to get the water.
Pick one, come on”
The use of the matches in this case show the reader that papa is trying to be fair and be a loyal and loving father to his children. He doesn’t want either of them feeling as if he favours one or the other. As mama is pestering Michele to do it, it can clearly be seen that the use of the matches symbolises fairness. Papa recounts the anecdote of the soldier’s using matches to make important decisions. Matches are also indicative of fire and fire suggests danger, fear and risk.
However, towards the novel’s climax the matches are used in a more serious, surprising and sinister manner. Michele overhears all of the adults talking downstairs about who is going to kill the young kidnapped boy, Fillipo and it is once again papa who comes up with...
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