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A practical criticism of Chapter 20 of Captain Corelli's Mandolin

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A practical criticism of Chapter 20 of Captain Corelli's Mandolin Louis de berniļæ½res wrote this chapter in the third person narrative, nonetheless, the narrator does not indicate to us who this 'wild man of the ice' actually is. We assume that he indeed does know who this man is. The opening of the chapter is quite an idyllic picture created by Pelagia with her mention of seeing, 'Her first butterfly of the year,' which gives the reader a sense of bliss as well as Pelagia. However, this idyllic picture is shattered in the second chapter as she saw, 'There was a stranger seated at the kitchen table,' she described the man as, 'A most horrible and wild stranger who looked worse than the brigands of childhood tales.' This particular sentence indicates to the reader a sense of foreboding. Although, we later find out that this man is Mandras, now neither Pelagia nor we have any idea. This then proves a scenario than many people dread and some can even relate to, coming home and finding a strange in your home. This is a nightmare situation, and although we do not have a detailed description of Pelagia's feelings, the reader would have a good idea of how she felt at that moment. ...read more.


She wants him to leave and pleads with him. This may or may not be an indication of sorrow and tearfulness. However, when she pleads for him to leave, it does seem to provoke a reaction in Mandras. This reaction is the first response that she has received from him, this could prove to Pelagia that maybe he is not a, 'Wild man,' and that he is probably a man. On the other hand, Pelagia still has no idea who he is and why he is here in her kitchen. As a result, the narrator then has decided upon the introduction of Psipsina. This is very important and is probably the turning point of the chapter. There is a sudden change in atmosphere and this is an indication of reality being restored. This is introduced by firstly, the realisation that, 'At least Psipsina remembers me.' This is a very revealing sentence as it brings Pelagia's thought to a different place. It makes her wonder who this man actually is. Pelagia knows how, 'Psipsina was afraid of strangers,' and this begged the question form her about, 'how did this ghastly ruin know her name?' Although these questions seem inconsiderate, she suddenly had a thought of maybe this was her beloved Mandras. ...read more.


This creates a sense of longing and makes us have pity toward him, but rather than Pelagia pitying him, she takes control by saying that she will read them, 'Later.' This is ironic as later Mandras forces her to read them to him, which gives he may think gives him back his control. However, the fact that Pelagia can read and he cannot still gives her the power over him. After all this has gone on Mandras simply fondles Psipsina and thinks that, 'Only the animals know me.' Yet, it seems that Pelagia does know take pity of him as she sits with him and comforts him at the end of the chapter. The way Mandras, 'Buried his face in his hands and began to rock like an injured child,' does point to a very scared and lonely position. People who want to shut themselves out form the world and live in a world of their own adopt this position. Therefore, Pelagia notices this and tries to comfort him, and maybe succeeds in letting Mandras know that she will be there for him. This would have made him feel that he is not alone and even though he is physically repulsive, Pelagia is more interested in his feelings more. Homework 16/10/2004 Serkan Mehmet ...read more.

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