The Role Of Laurana As A Surveyor Into Sicilian Culture In Leonardo Sciascia's To Each His Own

1301 words - 6 pages

Dishonesty is an evil of various forms. More often than not, it sullies understanding in the form of a simple lie: short, deliberate, yet easily enough deductible. However, say the lie is taken into acceptance. Say the lie garners a foothold and establishes roots; thus, growing like a weed in persistence, say the lie institutes a sort of ‘myth.’ A myth, although unrealistic, becomes indulgently persuasive. In To Each His Own, Leonardo Sciascia weighs the battle for integrity in an ethically empty society against the oppression of falsehood within a Christ figure whose faith in morality likens to madness. Laurana is challenged not only by the lies of certain individuals, but more importantly by the myth his trust succumbs to in the wake of those lies. As one transcends beyond the novella’s simple plotline and into an underlying critique on Sicilian chivalry, Sciascia provides a social commentary on the ethos of a culture, it’s self-indulgent permittance of corruption, and the brutal demeaning of those who stand in opposition to it.

Sciascia, an Italian politician and French-enlightenment writer, utilizes Laurana as an impartial looking-glass; a means for analyzing and assessing “the insular, mafia-saturated culture of Sicily–which [Sciascia] believed to be a metaphor of the world,” (Sciascia III). Laurana, principled as a symbol of innocence, yields a detached atmosphere regarding his acquaintances: “it was something opaque, dense, almost repressed” (Sciascia 43). Sciascia’s use of contrast, subtly established by these shallow observations, introduces the driving force behind the investigation in conjunction with Laurana’s tragic flaw: purblind trust.

Laurana believes in the “supremacy of reason and candor over irrationality and silence," (Sciascia VIII) despite being isolated within a society that epitomises the opposite. People "who have every interest in working to keep the impunity coefficient high," (Sciascia 57) strive to sustain a status quo of spurious seemliness in Sicilian society. Truth is purposely obscured in the eye of the law for the sake of privileged knowledge and gossip.

The township offers impassivity towards the perpetrator whom they know, as a result of their proclivity to gossip, must be Rosello. The murders of two well-meaning, agreeable men gradually triggered an excited commotion of unfounded accusations throughout the town, alleging that Manno was having an affair. Roscio’s death is concluded to be the result of being “caught in the middle” (Sciascia 17). However, these rumors merely veil the reality of the situation, which is passed on discreetly throughout the township; “Roscio had discovered his wife’s infidelity with [Rosello]... I knew right away because the maid at the Roscio’s is the mother of my Aunt Clotilda’s maid” (Sciascia 154). Roscio, still in love with his wife, conspired to get rid of Rosello, but in a twist of fate, became but the subject of silent complicity. Laurana, a pedagogue of reasonable...

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