Arturo Gerace (ahr-TEWR-oh geh-RAH-chay), the narrator of the tale, who tells the story of his life up to the age of seventeen. He was born and reared on the island of Procida, in the Bay of Naples. His father, Wilhelm Gerace, was illegitimate, the product of an affair between an immigrant Italian and a German schoolteacher. Arturo seeks affection from this moody and distant man, who is often away. Arturo’s mother died shortly after his birth. When his father returns one day with a new wife, Nunziata, Arturo is dismayed. The new wife is young, barely older than Arturo. At first, the boy dislikes her, but he gradually falls in love with her. In the end, Arturo is disillusioned by his father, who turns out to be far from the romantic, heroic person Arturo has imagined him to be.
Wilhelm Gerace, Arturo’s father, who grew up hating women and disliking the fishing folk of Procida. He inherited a house from a blind eccentric who befriended him and took his first wife there. She gave birth to Arturo at the age of eighteen and died shortly thereafter. Wilhelm seldom is home, leaving Arturo in the hands of various persons. His second wife, the youthful Nunziata, represents an attempt to recapture the image of his first wife, also a young woman. Nunziata is afraid of him. Wilhelm is attracted to a convict, Stella, who is in the...
(The entire section is 478 words.)