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One of the sad irony's in the story Consolation is that none of the characters quite find consolation in the traditional sense. Arila works in the hopes that the fortune tellers prophecy will come true, that she will find happiness after a brief period of troubles. However, trouble seems to be the only thing that finds her as the fortune tellers words seem to only offer hope with no substance.
Her hope is that Forunata, her one surviving child, will marry Silvio before her husband, Manica, learns that Forunata has already been seduced by him. She knows the marriage will be difficult since they have no money for a dowry, but a glimmer of hope is seen when they invite Father Calogero to dinner. He is touched by the family and offers to pay the dowry. This doesn't lead to happiness as the marriage ends up being bad: Silvio beats his wife and spends the dowry. Fortunata does have several children who grow strong, but they just become an expense for the family as they must be fed and taken care of.
As the story ends, Arlia no longer spends the money of lottery tickets and gambling. Instead, she finds her only consolation in sneaking drinks of brandy.
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