A Man's Blessing Questions and Answers
by Leonardo Sciascia

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Who represents the mafia, and how significant is it to the story in A Man's Blessing?

In A Man's Blessing, it can be argued that the significance of the mafia is tied to Rosello. Rosello’s strong link to the government and big business shows how both politicians and large corporations behave in ways similar to the mafia. Like the mafia, Rosello engages in murder and deceit.

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In Leonardo Sciascia’s compact murder mystery, the subject of the mafia comes up when Laurana talks to his coworker’s brother Don Benito about the hitman Ragana. If you go back to this scene, you’ll notice Laurana uses the terms “big mafia” and “little mafia.”

It appears as if Benito explains how "big mafia" and "little mafia" work, using the example of a dam. Benito tells how the government allowed a dam to be constructed above an area filled with people. They know the dam poses a risk to the people, but they don’t do anything about it. The inaction leads to the death of two thousand people or, as Benito claims, “as many people as all the Raganas who flourish around here liquidate in ten years.”

Considering the above, you could contend that in Sciascia’s novel the mafia is signified by the government and big business.

Rosello is a powerful lawyer with ties to large corporations and the government. He’s a provisional councilor with a lot of sway. Yet Rosello is also the adulterous, murderous villain. He’s the criminal. He’s, perhaps, a symbol for the mafia.

Remember, unlike the “little mafia,” Rosello’s visible activities aren’t illegal. He’s not a hitman. His appointments and various jobs are legitimized by the government. Taking that into consideration, you could be more specific and say that Rosello signifies the presence of the “big mafia.” He represents the corruption and criminality of politicians and corporations.

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