Presentation on theme: "Flora & Fauna in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Introduction This very small slide show gives you some information on the plants and animals that appear in."— Presentation transcript:
Flora & Fauna in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Introduction This very small slide show gives you some information on the plants and animals that appear in Louis de Berniére’ s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, as well as some guidance on their importance in the book. We hope you find this site useful. Thanks for your visit !
Psipsina, the pine marten Pine Marten is a carnivorous mammal widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere and valued for its thick fur. Martens are long and graceful animals, with short legs, and toes armed with sharp claws. Martens live in hollows of trees when they are not in search of the rodents, birds, and birds' eggs that constitute their food. The common American species is the American marten, which is about 60 to 90 cm (about 12 to 36 in) in total length, with a tail about 20 cm (about 8 in) long. The animal is yellowish-chestnut in general body color, with darker feet, and orange or white on the throat and chest. Psipsina is the animal that appears more often in the book. It is Pelagia’s most beloved pet. Pine martens are to the Greek villagers what cats are to us. Psipsina is there whenever its master wants. It is there when she is betrayed by Mandras, when she falls in love with the young Italian officer Antonio Corelli, when the German invaders attack the village, whenever she feels happy, sad, angry or joyful. It represents the companionship between owner and pet perfectly. The pine marten takes the role of the brother or sister, or even mother, Pelagia never had. That is why it is so important for the family’s stability. Psipsina cleans the house from undesirable rats and pests, and, in return, Dr. Iannis and his daughter feed and care for it. This shows how animals can become adapted to human circumstances and how they suffer from these (Psipsina dies by a crushing blow from a German soldier).
Mario, the mouse Mouse (rodent), common name for any small member of three families of rodents; large species of one of the families to which mice belong are known as rats (see Rat). The word mouse has no exact meaning in classification systems. Mice are numerous throughout most of the world, but for convenience they are often grouped as the Eurasian mice and the American mice. Fields and human habitations serve as homes for these animals. Mice, like rats, consume and damage large quantities of food and spread diseases. The common house mouse is the most frequently observed species and is the ancestor of the white mice that are raised for scientific experimentation. In its wild state the house mouse is slightly less than 17 cm (less than 6.5 in) long including the tail, which is slightly more than 8 cm (more than 3 in) long; domestic mice, because of better nutrition, are often considerably larger. The house mouse is yellowish-gray above, sometimes streaked with black, and lighter grey beneath. It breeds every 10 to 17 weeks throughout the year, producing five to ten young in a litter. Mario is the pet of Francesco, the love of Carlo Guercio (l’ommosessuale). Francesco takes Mario to the war because he wants to be accompanied by something, by someone who is totally foreign to the horrible experience he is going through. Francesco takes excellent care of Mario, even though he doesn’t have enough to eat himself. Mario was kept in the pockets of Francesco’s or Carlo’s jackets. It gives them hope and joy in the midst of all the terrible events. We can say that Mario represents in a way how small felt Francesco in the war, as though he had no choice, but to be there against his will. The fact that when Francesco dies, he wants to embrace Mario, shows how much love he had for his little pet, and how he manages to squeeze the life out of him in a symbol of complete complementation. When Francesco dies, Mario dies with him, and with it, the human spirit feels irreconcilable against the treacherous war.
Pelagia’s Goat Goat, common name for any of eight species of cloven-hoofed, horned mammals closely related to the sheep. The two differ in that the goat's tail is shorter and the hollow horns are long and directed upward, backward, and outward, while those of the sheep are spirally twisted. The male goats have beards, unlike sheep, and differ further by the characteristic strong odor they give off in the rutting season. The female goat, or doe, which has smaller horns than the male, in ordinary usage is often termed goat or nanny goat. The young are called kids. The male goat is called buck, or, colloquially, billy goat. Pelagia has two pets: Psipsina, the pine marten and her goat. The goat is a common animal in Greece and many people have them as pets in their own backyards. In Pelagia’s rural village, goats form an important part of society. They bring food, milk and fur for their masters when needed. But Pelagia treats her goat in another way, as is if it were a friend. She talks to the goat about what happens with her life, brush its woolly hair, take away the ticks from her skin, spend hours looking at her graze. The goat gives the family the security that life pushes on through no matter what. The goat is part of the family and is free to roam wherever it may want. Sometimes, however, Pelagia takes it on her when she is angry at her loves. She is robbed by the Italian soldiers. Corelli promises Pelagia another goat, a promise that will be kept through the rest of their years. When he returns to the village, forty years later, he brings with him another goat to replace the missed goat. This is a symbol of the eternal love between the couple.
The Olive Tree The olive tree is cultivated largely for its edible fruit, although other olive species are grown for their foliage and wood. This species produces minute white flowers with an immature green, edible fruit that turns bluish or purplish when ripe. Both the immature and ripe fruit can be quite acidic and must be properly prepared for human consumption. Oil is extracted from the fruit and used for cooking and other purposes. The olive tree outside Dr. Iannis house is the main plant found in the book. Olive trees are common in Greece, being the olive a precious delicacy for the Greeks. There are olive trees in the entire village. This shows the importance of its cultivation in the area. The olive tree is mainly used for tying the goat with. Pelagia spends hours in her yard, beneath the tree, to find comfort and security under its shadow. Dr. Iannis is like the olive tree in that both bring confidence and protection to Pelagia whenever she is in need of care. The olive tree stands tall and undaunted throughout the war, as if stating that the soul of the island remains indomitable.
Other Animal appearances The cat appears in chapter 2. Mussolini is afraid of cats, so he shots down one when he sees one in his office. He then feels sick about it. This shows the impotence of the Italian ruler and the innocence these animals have. Psipsina is for Pelagia, what a cat is for us. The dolphins have been adored since the ancient times as part of the Greek mythology. They appear whenever Mandras is at the sea. This shows the strong relationship between the young man and nature. He is almost like a sea semi-god. Dolphins are the best friends Mandras has because they comprehend the solitude and simplicity of Mandras’ soul. That is why they even bring Mandras’ body to the shore when he is drowned. This is a symbol of the fidelity and compassion that nature has with man, although man exploits it indiscriminately.