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Character Profiles and Analysis

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1 Character Profiles and Analysis
I’m Not Scared Character Profiles and Analysis

2 Michele - Overview Protagonist – we see the events of the book through Michele’s eyes. Due to his young age, and his innocence, there are often gaps between what he understands and what the reader understands. Overall, he is the moral backbone of the novel.

3 Michele - Loyalty Michele is very loyal and the novel highlights the tension between these loyalties. He is loyal to: Parents – constant excuses and sympathy for their blatant wrongdoing Maria – acts as the Big Brother figure Filippo – he can’t leave him alone, especially after he promises he’ll come back His innately loyal nature is why he compares himself to Judas when he betrays Filippo to Salvatore.

4 Michele - Compassion Michele displays compassion to those he considers vulnerable. For example, Returning to help his sister during the race up the hill, despite fear of being last (p.4) Overcoming his initial revulsion of Filippo (p.112) Ignores his pain to get Filippo out of the hole (p.212) The desire to tell Filippo that his mother loves him (p.95)

5 Michele - Morality Unlike the adults (and some of the children), Michele maintains a strong sense of personal integrity and justice. For example: Completes the forfeit in place of Barbara as an act of chivalry “There was something dirty, something...I don’t know. Something nasty that’s all. And I didn’t like my sister being there.” (p. 19)

6 Michele - Imaginative Michele has an active imagination that informs his perceptions of the world. He creates narratives by infusing fantasy with reality. His imagination is the thing that both fuels and eases his fears. For example: Uses mythical creatures, such as Tiger Jack and the monsters entering the bus, to overcome his fears (p ) Uses analogies to explain situations, cat cruelly taunting the lizard (p.184)

7 Michele - Courageous Michele has very little confidence in himself yet will always stand up against his fear, not only to protect himself but other people For example: Standing up for Barbara in the forfeit, despite being afraid of Skull (p.20) Compares himself to Tiger Jack (p.44-45) Michele defends his mother and throws himself at Felice to protect her (p.152) Michele sneaks out to find Filippo when he knows they are coming to murder him (p.195) He tells his father to “run for it”, even though he is shot and dying in the hole (p.215)

8 Michele - Innocence Michele’s innocent nature is most striking when looking at how he deals with his fears, and the reference points he uses to understand situations. At first he was afraid of ogres and witches, explaining that the boy was down the hole because “he had been caught by an ogre” (p.39). The form of his shape and fears is fantasy but his ability to sense the presence of evil is not. As he is confronted with ever-increasing traumatic situations from the adult world, he slowly begins to accept the horrible truth that “monsters don’t exist...It’s men you should be afraid of, not monsters...” (p.49)

9 Michele- Innocence (cont.)
For example: In the beginning he is too young to understand kidnapping or grasp the implications. However, he is later afraid that Sergio will “take me away” (p.94). This shows he has an instinctual understanding. Originally viewed Filippos as a prize (p.29) - Michele believed Filippo was being tortured by witches and ogres (p.56) - Admits to being naive as to why Barbara was always picked on: “I don’t know but even then I knew that someone always gets the bad luck” (p.18)

10 Michele – Innocence (cont.)
Makes up story about the half-brother to excuse his father’s involvement (p.67) Consequences are centred on parental discipline. He wanted to save Filippo from being shot but needed to get home before his parents found him missing (p.207) Material possessions, in the beginning, were highly valued: for example, Subbuteo team (p ). His rejection of the Red Dragon bike at the end indicates a shift in his values and perspectives (p ) His reference-points to explain situations are very child-like, for example, when Sergio threatens Felice he describes it as being like ‘one-two-three-star’ (p.194)

11 Michele – Intelligent and Perceptive
Michele has the ability to use knowledge from other situations to quickly come upon a conclusion. He uses this intelligence to calm his fears. For example: - While doing the forfeit, he overcomes his fear by remembering from a book that lizards use perfect weight distribution to climb walls (p.25) Draws the link between the saucepan in the house and his own (p.61) While searching for Filippo, he uses his knowledge of the owl to discover him (p. 207) Notices specifics of how Filippo is being treated poorly (p.108)

12 Pino (Papa) - Overview He’s the ‘boss’ of Acqua Traverse but is eventually shown to be an incompetent criminal – a big fish in a small pond. As a truck driver he’s often away from his family, leaving him quite disconnected from his children He is not inherently evil but a victim of his own incompetence and greed Towards the end he becomes a somewhat pitiable and pathetic creature, indicative of when he loses Soldier’s Draw.

13 Pino – Cruelty While Pino isn’t as openly violent and aggressive as certain characters, his role in the kidnapping still shows his cruel nature. He believes that the downfall of others will lead to the fulfilment of his own goals and ambitions. For example: He is merciless, actively seeking revenge. Papa made the scissors sign with his fingers. “Two ears. We’ll cut off two” (p.86) Michele’s adoration begins to wain when he connects his father with the treatment of Filippo. “Papa was the bogeyman” (p.87)

14 Pino – Emotional Manipulator
Pino plays on the emotions and fears of others. Throughout the novel, he shows that he gets what he wants by toying and playing with the emotions of others. To him, people are just pawns to be played. For example: Places the safety of Filippo on Michele’s head, saying that “they” will shoot Filippo and that it would be Michele’s fault (p.156) Threatens that if Michele went back, he would be breaking his father’s oath (p.156) Tries to justify his actions by saying that “the world’s wrong”, thereby shifting the guilt and ultimate blame (p.157)

15 Pino – Emotional Manipulator (cont)
Uses gifts as a way of communicating and ‘buying’ actions. eg The Red Dragon to distract Michele from Filippo (p.163). Distorts the truth, often giving vague and fake promises. And provides misleading answers to questions, eg “they’ll shoot him” (p.156)

16 Teresa (Mother) - Overview
Stereotypical Italian housewife. Unquestioningly devoted to her husband Concerns herself with her children’s physical needs (food, safety) but is almost blind to their emotional needs She lacks any curiosity or concern about Michele’s contact with Filippo It’s interesting that as a mother, she lacks any maternal connection to the child they are torturing

17 Teresa - Powerless Teresa is weak and powerless to the evil occurring in Acqua Traverse. For example: When the adults are becoming irrational and making rash decisions, all she could do was sit and repeat to herself “Be quiet” (p ) She was able to do things in the background but remembered to do trivial things like turning off lights and housewife duties (p.84) She would attend to her children without being needed for discussion (p ).

18 Filippo - Overview The 9 year-old kidnap victim
The son of Lombard businessman Giovanni Carducci His mother describes him as “a good boy, polite, very shy” The adults have dehumanised him, seeing him as nothing more than a bargaining chip

19 Filippo – Traumatised and Abused
Filippo is both mentally and physically abused to the point where he becomes almost a shell of the person he once was. PHYSICALLY “I couldn’t see him clearly. It was dark and full of flies and the sickening smell welled up” (p.45) He is incredibly vulnerable. There are scabs on his eyes, he’s naked, won’t come out of his blanket, hasn’t eaten. “The dead boys skin was dirty and caked with mud and shit. He was naked” (p. 46) He’s become scared of physical closeness, due to being hit and the conditions he’s in: “As soon as he felt I was near him, he cowered against the wall” (p.72)

20 Filippo – Traumatised and Abused (cont.)
MENTALLY He is traumatised and lost a sense of reality: - “Outside there’s no air. Outside I’ll suffocate” (139) “the world’s a place full of holes” (110) He thinks his family is dead (109) He is obsessed with the wash bears (p.74) He creates labels / characters to describe the people in his life, such as Lord of the Worms and Guardian Angel (p.74)

21 Felice - Overview A sadistic and cruel bully who targets children
Skull’s 20 year-old brother A “tormented soul”, a loner because of his anti-social behaviour He had left Acqua Traverse – Michele instinctually knew Felice was involved Felice’s innate immorality and violence is alluded to when the way he looks at Teresa changes after intimate parts of her body are exposed

22 Felice - Contradictory
Felice’s nature is quite contradictory – containing both elements of ‘strong’ (aggressive) and ‘weak’ (vulnerable) characteristics. For example: Strong Punches Sergio in the face (p ) Viciously attacks Teresa (p ) Treats Filippo poorly, who he threatens to “squash...like a worm” (p.74) Weak After the fight with Teresa, runs away from Papa (p. 152) Not being able to kill Filippo, despite all the talk (p.193) Sheds a tear when Sergio tries to bully him into killing (p.194)

23 Sergio - Overview Represents the ‘North’
He has a strong sense of arrogance and superiority over the villagers He comes to the South to ‘sort out the mess’ that the villagers have made.

24 Sergio – Evil There are several indications in the novel that show Sergio as a man to be feared. For example: Believing that his son’s wife was responsible for his death, he says he dealt with it - “That bitch paid for it” (p.118) Fighting escalates from a fist-fight to weaponry. He takes it up a level (p.193) Treats others with little respect in the way he speaks to them, eg calling the father an imbecile (p.84) The way he speaks to Michele, “are you quiet. I like quiet children” (p.93) Lazy, monopolises situations, opportunistic – evident in his description of Brazil (p.167)

25 The Gang Skull Brute who doesn’t like to be told he’s wrong. Evident with Milichetti’s pigs (p.10). Dominates everyone: “It’s nothing to do with you, shut up”. - He’s sadistic and perverted, evident with the forfeit he asks of Barbara (p.19) Salvatore Quiet and follows orders around him to make others pleased “he was brighter that Skull and could have easily deposed him” (p.3) Introverted, evident with the piano lessons (p ) Comes from a wealthy family, mother’s obnoxious with their wealth (p )

26 The Gang (cont.) Barbara
Obnoxious; she is a sheep and falls easily into orders. Despite initial protests, she always does the forfeit, but finds another way for revenge. For example, telling Milichetti what Skull had said about his pigs (p.11) Asks Michele to be her boyfriend (p.98), which he recoils at, but is still polite to her. Remo He is in the background but goes along with the gang. Maria Youngest. Tries to follow the gang but is only there because of Teresa’s influence. Looks up to Michele, always wants to do what he’s doing.

27 Relationships: Michele and Papa
Michele originally idolises his father. He thinks his father can do no wrong. As the novel progresses, Michele is exposed to the true nature of his father’s character. At first he tries to rationalise his father’s actions but he eventually can’t deny the facts.

28 Relationships: Michele and Filippo
It’s a relationship of familiarity – they are the same age, same height. Michele originally sees Filippo as a prize he has won. Later, his caring nature makes him feel obliged to help him. Michele becomes Filippo’s “guardian angel” Filippo becomes attached to Michele, eg when he won’t leave him (p.213)

29 Relationships: Michele and Salvatore
Best friends. Do whatever they feel is in the best interests of each other or themselves. Salvatore betrays Michele for a driving lesson. Salvatore wins back Michele’s trust by helping him win Salvatore ends up helping Michele find Filippo

30 Relationships: Michele and Felice
Don’t like each other. Felice bullies Michele. When Felice find Michele in the hole, he beats him. Michele fears Felice.

31 Relationships: The Family
Patriarchal family – father is the head (disciplinarian, breadwinner), mother housewife etc Family is quite disconnected because of Pino’s long trips. This is a heavy burden on Teresa. The children idolise the parents. While the parents look after the fundamentals of their children’s well-being, they take no interest in their emotional happiness.

32 Relationships: The Adults
The adults don’t trust each other and are very quick to turn and point the finger of blame.

33 Vate Insight 11B Class 2010


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