The House by the Medlar Tree

by Giovanni Verga

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Characters Discussed

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Padron ’Ntoni Malavoglia

Padron ’Ntoni Malavoglia (N-toh-nee mah-lah-VOHL-yee-ah), head of the once-prosperous family that lives by the medlar tree.


Bastianazzo (bah-stee-ahn-NAHZ-zoh), his son. His ambition to take black beans to Riposto to sell at a huge profit ruins the family when his boat, the Provvidenza, is wrecked.

La Longa

La Longa, Bastianazzo’s wife, who distrusts Uncle Crucifix, the moneylender, but signs over to his assignee her rights to the house when he repeatedly demands payment for his loan on the lost beans. She dies of cholera.


’Ntoni, their oldest son, who returns from military service and becomes a smuggler. Caught, he is sentenced to the galleys for five years.


Luca (LEW-kah), their second son, who is conscripted and killed in battle.


Alessio (ah-LEHS-see-oh), their youngest son, who earns the money to regain his house by the medlar tree.


Mena (MEH-nah), their oldest daughter.


Lia (LEE-ah), their youngest daughter, loved by Don Michele.

Uncle Crucifix Dumbbell

Uncle Crucifix Dumbbell, a local usurer who takes over the house after his loan to buy beans is not repaid.


Goosefoot, his assistant. Uncle Crucifix pretends to assign his loan to Goosefoot, hoping collection will thus be easier.

Don Michele

Don Michele, commander of the coast guard, who is stabbed by Ntoni.

Alfio Mosca

Alfio Mosca (ahl-FEE-oh MOHS-kah), a carter who loves Mena.

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