My Brilliant Friend

by Elena Ferrante
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In My Brilliant Friend, Lila has decided to marry. Is she in love?

Lila in My Brillinat Friend is not in love with Stefano Carracci, the man she agrees to marry. She weds him to avoid having to marry Marcello Solara. Stefano is acceptable to her, even though she feels contempt for him, because he is well-to-do and not a Solara.

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Lila agrees to marry Stefano Carracci. She is not in love with him.

Lila is very young when she agrees to this marriage. She accepts Stefano primarily because she is being pressured by her poor family to marry Marcello Solara, the son of a wealthy and powerful clan. A strong-willed and very beautiful teenager, Lila utterly despises Marcello and his family. However, her contempt only inflames Marcello's desire, and her family fears opposing the Solaras.

Lila is in a difficult situation, as her only way out of becoming a Solara is to marry into another prominent family. She accepts Stefano primarily because he is well-to-do and not a Solara. Stefano promises her not to invite the Solaras to their wedding and also not to sell them the shoes she has designed.

Stefano is utterly besotted with Lila. However, while he makes promises to her, he also decides he needs the Solaras' investment money and good will, so he invites them to the wedding and sells them the shoes, breaking both promises to Lila.

The marriage gets off on a very bad footing because of Stefano's betrayal. The wedding serves primarily to show how little power Lila has in her patriarchal culture. Having not been supported by her family in going on with her schooling past the elementary level, the very intelligent Lila has few options in life. Marriage at age sixteen is her only way out of poverty, and she makes the least bad one she can manage. However, as Stefano understands, once they are married, she is his property in the eyes of her society, and she has few options but to accept his betrayal. As the novel ends, her anger and bitterness are at a high point.

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