Love and Intimacy
Carla and Mantini pursue a love affair. Their affection for each other is apparent in their actions and in what they say to each other. They keep their weekly appointment with each other to meet above Mantini’s shop and spend the afternoon together, making love, listening to music, and simply being with each other. Mantini is affectionate and caring toward Carla, as seen by the way he touches her, acknowledges early in their relationship that she makes him want to send flowers, and shares details of his life with her. Mantini’s love helps Carla exchange her anger for ‘‘a surge of affection’’ for things as varied as ‘‘smiling Nubian goats’’ and ‘‘the decrepit king and his palace.’’
Mantini also remembers the love he felt for Lucia, his deceased wife. ‘‘We were very much in love,’’ he tells Carla, and he remembers how possessive he felt when Ben once flirted with Lucia. The story opens with Mantini trying to decide whether or not to spend the day reminiscing about Lucia, and his household almost aches with her absence.
Memory and the Past
While the crux of the story takes place in the months just before the Six Day War, both Mantini and Carla spend time remembering past events. Mantini thinks about his wife almost constantly before he falls for Carla, and Carla remembers her life with Ben in the United States, when their life seemed normal. Wetzel writes, ‘‘She...
(The entire section is 1271 words.)
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