Olivia Newton
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Coni He made money with black market during WWII... Quite common in Italy at the times, not only in Naples; during the war you could't freely buy food, but you were allowed to acquire only a fixed and small amount of items that you had on a card. Someones had some secret stash of butter, sugar, dry meat, salt, coffee, probably stolen from the American Army. They sold those to poor people at 10 time the real value. So someone that before WWII was a mere little thief, often after the war become a rich shop or land owner and had a lot of money made on other people suffering. Every little town or neighborhood in Italy had its own black marketer. I believe that Don Achille was one of them, and that is why the people of the district hated him. And probably there was also some kind of affiliation to the camorra and he surely was a loan-shark.
Mary Gunderson And Marcello's family is cut from the same stripe. I am gobsmacked by how Ferrante weaves these characters together, none without blemish, none saintly, and brings this community to me so intimately. The narration is superb, too!
The Bookish Gardener He may have kept the dolls that fell through the grate, but he also gave the girls money to buy new ones when they confronted him. It was like he rewarded tough people who were prepared to work within his limits. I also love the name Achille. hehe. They found his heel!
Laura Corna He is a usurer. That's why he is hated.
Jade F. They hated him not so much for the fact that he made money by exploiting the most basic needs - and desires - of people, but because he embodied the perpetuation of the brute ignorance all poor people are born into and rarely can escape. From father to son, mother to daughter, one generation after the other, the poor end up reliving the same miseries of their ancestors, because they are kept in the dark of how to escape this curse (or are too scared to even try).
There's a passage where this concept is expressed extremely well. Elena is watching the clamor around her in the "rione", pondering on Lila's unwillingness at having a child with Stefano. The concept of plebe resurfaces, tied to that of mass, people who know no better than emulate others' doing, people exploited because of their very lack of understanding of what life could and should be about.
A poverty that eats away all human and beautiful: abilities, emotions, freedoms. Don Achille is the ogre who knows more, the one who uses his knowledge to thrive at the expenses of everyone around him. He embodies the brutality of poverty, its cruelty in taking everything away, even dignity and hopes.
Timothy He was linked to the Fascists and Nazis during WWII.
Boy Blue Because he is the local Camorra chief, in other words the head of the local mafia. He was also the town loan shark. A lethal combination of extortion.
Margot What did Don Achilles do with the dolls?
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