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Michele learns that loyalty and trust are far more valuable

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The novel ‘I’m Not Scared’ by Niccolo Ammaniti, is the story of a 9 year old boy, Michele Ammitrano, and his struggles in growing up in an era ridden with kidnappings. After discovering his own parents were involved in kidnapping an innocent boy, Michele gradually comes to the realisation that loyalty and trust are far more important than materialistic objects. Although Michele realises the importance of these traits, he himself even has trouble for filling them.

When Michele finds out that his once ‘hero’ parents are involved in the cruel kidnapping of a boy just for money, he loses his trust in them. At the start of the novel, Ammaniti is constantly using Pino and Therese in Michele’s dreams and imaginations to show how much love and admiration Michele has for his parents. As the novel goes on, these descriptions become less and less common as Michele finds out more about his parents’ secret behaviours. Although him and his family are poor, Michele shows no sympathy for their choices. When his parents find out that Michele knows about the kidnapping, they try to bribe him with a new bike.

This only makes Michele’s trust in his parents even smaller. Ammaniti uses the bike to show the trust between Michele and his parents. At first the bike temporarily repairs the trust and works to perfection, but once the excitement wears off, Michele comes to the realisation that it isn’t as good as he thought it was. When he ditches his new bike for his old one, it is a symbol of the end of his trust in his parents. These objects make Michele become aware of the importance of trust and loyalty.

Although Michele feels betrayed by his parent’s attempt to bribe him, he betrays Filippo by selling him out for a set of Subbuteo players. The temptation of a set of his favourite game was enough for Michele to tell a secret that would have deadly consequences. Ammaniti uses the game as a symbol of greed to show that even the people who have good intentions can still succumb to the promise of a gift. After Michele told the secret, he initially felt good about it but after a while grew to regret his choice. He felt guilty that he had betrayed Filippo’s trust in him for a materialistic object when he should have been thinking about how to help him. This decision would eventually come back to haunt him. By breaking Filippo’s trust in him, Michele comes to realise that trust is much more valuable in a relationship.

Once again Michele was betrayed by someone he thought he could trust, his own best friend Salvatore. When Michele told his secret for a game he thought that nothing would happen, but on that same day his secret was revealed to the whole town of Acqua Traverse. “Salvatore Scardaccione had sold me for a driving lesson” (Page 147). Michele’s heart dropped when he realised that his own best friend had betrayed him for something as little as that. Ammaniti makes Michele look like a hypocrite. From this experience, Michele learnt that it hurts a lot more to have your trust betrayed then to live without materialistic objects.

In the novel Michele grows up very quickly, learning the most important values in life. By repeatedly being betrayed by the ones he thought were closest to him makes him realise that trust and loyalty are more valuable than any amount of money or objects.

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