Realism and Neorealist

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Updated: Jun 29, 2022
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Italy’s first postcolonial novel and the end of (neo)realism article by Lucia Re discusses the literary work of Ennio Flaiano’s Tempo di uccidere (A Time to Kill). Lucia Re discusses how the novel is about the connection between Italian colonialism in Africa and the aftermath of postcolonialism. However, the text points out how Flaiano’s intentionally leaves out details so that the novel can be generalized beyond colonialism. Bringing attention to the individual’s dilemma of following the rules or what’s ethically human.

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The novel can be dissected into four perspectives. The first is the literal level where the reader goes on a journey with the Lt. through the lens of the Italian army in Ethiopia during Italy’s colonization of Ethiopia. The historical and political view of the novel is the second perspective which is through the legal lense. The third perspective is existential and moral where the reader can interpret the ethical questions and injustices.

There is also a philosophical piece where the reader experiences the rationality, of understanding the human mind. This article describes the novel as a mode of realism and/or neorealist representation, examining the “lack of positive hero”. The question arises as to why the novel is not well received in Italy at the time that it was published. Does the novel reflect the perils of colonialism for which Italy is embarrassed, the lack of individual thought to stand up for what is right or wrong, or could an individual sift through the impact of Fascism. Lucia Re connects A Time to Kill with Dante’s Comedy, exploring the similarities between the character from both texts not able to coincide with one another. Also, she connects the idea of the forgiveness and convenient fictions making a character into the protagonist.

The characters assume a larger symbolic role. An interesting cause and effect are when the Lieutenant contracts the plague because of his actions of rape and murder. The symbolism behind these events is interesting. Re mentions the plague stands for the wrongdoing of the Lt. morals and for is ethical actions which signifies failure. She explains how the novel and film make it challenging for the reader to separate from the protagonist and recognize the irony of jumping to conclusions, and making the situation about oneself instead of looking at the full picture. The song that is included reflects the power of propaganda, and the blurred lines of reality, and a political agenda for control.

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Realism And Neorealist. (2022, Jun 28). Retrieved from