Niccolo Ammaniti’s I’m Not Scared is a novel that portrays a range of human emotions, reactions and how they can affect our decision making. The common theme of the book is fear; such can be ascertained by the title. It focuses intently on the different ways characters face their fears and ultimately triumph against them or how they give in to them. People’s values are called into question throughout the book; particularly the impact fear can have in our ability to follow our morals. The main character, Michele takes the lead in looking past his fear and following his moral convictions.
1978 Southern Italy is where our story takes place; in particular a small village named Aqua Traverse is where we meet our protagonist Michele for the first time. Michele is a relatively quiet nine year old boy, however his ethics and compassion are far beyond his age. Indeed he shows much more courage and convictions in his morals than many of the adults in the story who are too blinded by lust for money and hope for a way out of Aqua Traverse to care much for morality. Michele demonstrates his understanding of right and wrong when describing Barbara’s forfeit, where Skull had ordered her to unbutton her shirt and show the group her breasts. “I felt bad as about it, the forfeit wasn’t fair.” Although he disagreed with the forfeit Michele did not speak up due to his own fear of Skull. What is important however is that he considered the right and wrong thing to do, even saying “I didn’t like my sister being there”. His protectiveness of his sister is the first sign of his wholesomeness and compassion, even in the face of bad acts.
Michele stumbles upon a terrible secret whilst completing one of Skull’s forfeits. He discovers a young, innocent boy chained up and living in the most appalling conditions. The most pressing and continuing