The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Repression or Reflection: On Finding Happiness Amongst Unhappiness 11th Grade

In The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani, the narrator is a young Jewish man living in Fascist Italy prior to World War II. As more racial laws become implemented in Italy, he develops a deeper relationship with the Finzi-Continis, an aristocratic Jewish family. He is especially enamoured with Micol, though his feelings are unrequited, and he eventually moves past his obsession of her. Bassani shows that people, through the motifs of closed environments, ought not to isolate themselves from the present nor others, and instead, as shown through the motif of light, should focus on the present in order to deal with oppression, leading readers to wonder if the narrator was truthful or disillusioned in the account of his youth.
The motif of the carriage, a closed environment, shows how when the narrator, not wishing to deal with present conflicts, isolates himself from others and ends up only feeling more insecure. The first time he encounters the Finzi-Continis’ carriage, he describes it as “never moving, not even to seek shade” (21) and how his “[nose] pressed against the crystal” (21). He is drawn to this carriage because of its firm crystal-like nature; he appreciates the unchanging, unmoving quality of the carriage...

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