|Story Diagram PE#2
1. Synopsis of Story: A man becomes hardened by war and the acts he’s forced to commit. He returns home hoping to resume a simple, normal life in the northern mountains of Italy. Financial and personal loses force him to leave his new wife behind and emigrate to America where he meets another woman and begins a long-term affair. As WW II looms, he is prevented from sending money to his wife to support his family and because of that his family suffers greatly. After her house catches fire, his wife is accused of trying to kill her children and is locked away in an asylum. By the time he is able to get to Italy to have her released, it is too late.
2. Sketch of Central Character: Severino Cuzelli is a hard-working, good looking young man who is caring for his parent’s and their family farm. He is conscripted into the Austrian army during WW I. Being witness to, and participating in, the savagery of war, he becomes hardened and loses faith in people, especially wealthy people who do not have to experience what he has had to endure.
3. CC’s Wants Needs and Desires: Severino wants to live his life simply. He learns at an early age that the poor are at a disadvantage when it comes to doing the world’s dirty work, like fighting and dying in war.
Severino wants to be a land owner, a sign of success for his generation. He wants to have a family and provide for them so that his children will not need to experience the harshness of life. He is willing to work hard to attain what he wants, he expects nothing for free.
His strongest desire as the story moves forward is to remain in America and to have his family join him there so he can provide a decent life for them .
4. Life Changing Event: Severino experiences several life changing events. World War I exposes him to hardship and brutality that he will never forget. While serving on a mountaintop on the Italian/Austrian border he finds himself confronted by his actions…necessary, but brutal nonetheless.
While trying to start his family and make his way in the home he has always known, events unfold that cause him personal and financial hardship. He must decide whether to stay and live with the status quo, or immigrate to America and establish a life where he is able to better provide for his family.
While he lives in America his family remains in Italy because his wife does not want to move. He is involved in a long-term affair and on a visit to Italy learns that his wife is also involved in an affair with her childhood friend. He must reckon his feelings with his guilt.
Italy becomes an Axis power and the U.S. retaliates by imposing sanctions. Severino is prohibited from sending money to his wife, unable to travel to Italy, and not allowed to bring his family to America. Due to the acute poverty the sanctions create, his wife is accused of trying to kill her children after her house catches fire, and is locked away in an asylum. He cannot go to Italy to secure her release.
After the war he travels to Italy as soon as he is able, only to learn that he is too late.
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