What does Bread and Wine suggest about the nature of Fascism and the scope of its influence within Italy by 1935?

Bread and Wine suggests that the nature of Fascism and the scope of its influence connects to the poor and their high tolerance for suffering and hardship.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Consider what Bread and Wine suggests about the nature of Fascism and the scope of its influence by looking at the main character, Pietro Spina. As someone who wants to overthrow the Fascist regime, Spina is not on the good side of Italy’s government. He has been expelled and exiled. Yet the government can’t seem to permanently rid themselves of him. Spina’s ability to elude capture and to once again infiltrate Italy indicates that Mussolini’s administration is not so sharp. Their security apparatus can't effectively extinguish a foe. Even though they are supposedly searching the countryside for him, they can’t find him.

Another way to think about the nature of Fascism and the scope of its influence is in relation to the poor people that Spina hides among. The narrator appears to argue that one key reason why the Fascists possess the power and influence that they do is because of the resignation of Italy’s peasants. These people are accustomed to suffering. Their lives have been defined by grueling labor and hardship.

In the Harvey Fergusson II translation, one of the characters quips, “Politics is a luxury reserved for the well-fed.” The peasants don’t have the privilege to think about toppling the government. They have other, more pressing concerns. In fact, in a way, the Fascists ingratiate themselves with the peasants because they give money to the mothers of soldiers fighting in Ethiopia.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial