What is the theme of the chapter "Sulfur" in The Periodic Table by Primo Levi?

One could argue that the theme of the chapter "Sulfur" in The Periodic Table by Primo Levi is the primacy of mind over matter. In the story, an Italian worker remains calm and composed while trying to prevent a massive industrial boiler from exploding. That he's able to save the day is a testament to the power of mind over matter.

Expert Answers

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

In "Sulfur," an Italian boiler-man by the name of Lanza saves his factory from exploding by figuring out what's wrong with an overheating boiler. Without his hard work, scientific know-how, and ingenuity, the place would have been blown to smithereens, If the explosion hadn't been prevented, it would have represented a huge victory for matter in its never-ending war with mind.

It's fair to say that most people in Lanza's situation would've...

(The entire section contains 228 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Already a member? Log in here.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on