Michele's experiences see him journey from an innocent child to a perceptive, wiser and more intelligent young man. The systematic destruction of his childhood innocence is a direct result of the cruel actions and betrayals by the people around him. With each action and betrayal more damaging than the last. It is not until the final moments that whatever remains of Michele's innocence is finally destroyed by the cruelty of his very own father. The one person he trusted and loved the most, the man he believed "Was the boss of Acqua Traverse." (p.84)
Michele's innocence is present with the certain thought that the only real threats to children were creatures of dreams and his imagination, as he says "I knew witches met at night in abandoned houses and had parties and if you joined in you went mad and that ogres ate children." (p.43) His interpretation of his mothers warning "Be careful, Michele, you mustn't go out at night. When it's dark the bogeyman comes out and takes the children away and sells them to the gypsies," (p.87) was the innocent belief that "Gypsies were elf-like creatures that moved very quickly, with foxes' ears and chickens' feet." (p.87)
The destruction of Michele's innocence begins when his perceptions of his father are seriously challenged; he says "I felt as I'd been stabbed in the side. Nobody had ever talked to papa like that. Papa was the boss of Acqua Traverse." (p.84) Even more shattering was the realisation that his father was actually one of those "men" he had warned him about, "It's men you should be afraid of, not monsters" (p.49) and that; "It had been papa and the others who had taken the boy away from that lady on television." (p.87) Michele soon realises his innocent belief that gypsies were elf-like creatures was not true and that in fact "They were really just ordinary people." (p.87) Michele also perceives that "Papa was the bogeyman. By day he was good, but at night he was bad," and that "All the others...
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