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“I’m Not Scared” by Niccolo Amminiti

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The title of the novel is ironic because it means a denial of fear, but is contradicted by experiences of characters, especially Michele. Michele says “I’m not scared of anything”. When in fact he is scared of many things. Most of which are imaginary such as ogres, monster, witches and so on. When he finds Filippo in the hole and who put him there, Michele’s fear gain a more realistic basis. However, even though Michele know he has a right to be afraid, he is compelled by his sense of moral obligation. After seeing Filippo’s mother plead of television he knew he must go back to see Filippo. Michele looks upon his parents to be loving and caring parents and this shapes how he understands what it means “to the right thing”. However this has been contradicted by events during this novel. Even though he was held down by his weighted responsibilities, he thought his parents were doing the right thing by him.

He refers to his father as the boss of Aqua Traverse, this plays a major role in Michele not seeing the truth earlier. As Michele learns more about “the boy in the hole” he continuously covers up the fact that his father is doing something very wrong. Michele placed all his trust in the adults of Aqua Traverse and that trust was betrayed even by his own parents. Michele knows what it is like to be betrayed and lonely and that’s what drove Michele to help Filippo and go against his father’s word, when he goes back to visit Filippo, even though he is under strict order not to. As Michele gets to know Filippo better, he continues to lose what faith that was left in his father, when he discovers that Filippo is just a normal kid like himself and Filippo’s parents are worried about him. Just like Michele’s parents would have been worried about him.

Filippo is in a position where it would be hard to trust anybody, but Michele demonstrates persistence with Filippo continuing to go back to visit and build up trust. Michele learns that trust and loyalty is the greatest virtue that someone could have. The Amitrano’s are a poor family and can only supply the bare minimum of what Michele needs to sustain his growing body. Only once per week he gets the lowest quality meat and very rarely he gets a toy to entertain him. Salvatore, Michele’s best friend however, is a quite wealthy family, and can afford many popular Subbuteo soccer teams that that Michele’s family are not capable of supplying. Ammaniti explains that Salvatore is “stingy” and won’t let Michele have one of his numerous teams.

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