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"He wasn't just another hero, was he? He was more complicated. Poor Carlo."What is your response to the presentation of Carlo in light of Pelagia's final comment?

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"He wasn't just another hero, was he? He was more complicated. Poor Carlo." What is your response to the presentation of Carlo in light of Pelagia's final comment? Carlo Guercio is perhaps one of Louis de Bernieres most complex characters. From the second he is introduced to the novel the reader is presented with a character that breaks stereotypes, asks us to question our morals and indeed evokes a huge amount of emotion within us. In Carlo, de Bernieres presents us with the theme of transformation, "I would know that I was dross which some inscrutable alchemy had transmuted in to gold." It is around these words that I feel the story of Carlo revolves. Carlo Guercio is introduced to us in chapter 4, "L' Omosessuale". It is in this chapter that Carlo begins his journey in the novel. Carlo tells us of him being a homosexual and his reasons for joining the army. Carlo is a character who de Bernieres uses to break the stereotypes of this time. The first being that Carlo is not only homosexual, but that he is a 'giant' as well. A modern day reader might expect a comical and rather camp portrayal of a homosexual character, but feel that de Bernieres specifically chooses to create a serious character out of Carlo in order to make the later portrayal of him all the more poignant. ...read more.


The use of the literary technique is prolific in de Bernieres work. It allows the reader to feel great empathy for a character, it is personal and it seems almost as though you are diving into someone's deepest and darkest thoughts. De Bernieres uses this technique with Carlo to present to the reader the idea that Carlo has two sides, similar to the two sides of a Greek that Dr Iannis tells Captain Corelli about later on in the novel. The first of his two sides is the one presented to fellow army members, the one that Corelli see's and believes to be true. This side is the typical hero, follows orders and acts like a man of war. The second side is the one that appears in the letters that Carlo writes, the 'true' side to Carlo. He is sensitive, scared, has low self-esteem and is homosexual and 'different'. De Bernieres is an incredibly skilled writer and the use of these two sides induces the complex character of Carlo within the confines of the novel. Carlo's character is developed throughout the novel and comes to a climax in chapter 56; "The Good Nazi" This chapter is the one prior to the massacre. ...read more.


In the chapter "Surgery and Obsequy" the reader is shown the return of Carlo's body to the doctor and his daughter. They then bury him in their back garden. The fact that although Carlo is 'technically' and enemy and yet they still choose to bury him with all the dignity they would have given one of their own people shows the love and admiration that people had for Carlo. Carlo is a character evokes emotion and questions our principles; he is honourable, brave, passionate, loving, intelligent and above all a true hero. Although society defined what a hero was, and Carlo didn't really fit the mould, de Bernieres breaks the mould of many ideas using Carlo, so why not this? Carlo is a gigantic gay, a gentle soldier and a kind hero! He doesn't believe in the war, or his leaders but he believes that what he is doing will make himself a better person. He is an admirable character who acquires the admiration of many throughout the novel, and who, in death will be remembered fondly and with great admiration. A hero is defined by the person and not the leader, had Carlo followed the norm he may well have ended up a brutal rapist, however he is a character who defines himself through his actions and through this becomes a true hero. ...read more.

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