Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“The style of the twentieth century expresses but does not explain. It is a neverending revelation of inner life, manifesting it in moments when the subject of the story is the link between reality and imagination.” These words from Pavese’s diary hold the key to the author’s style in “Suicides.” It is objective, rather than descriptive or moralistic, in nature. The narrator’s views on love and Carlotta as a symbol of all women are seen through his actions, which reflect his inner thoughts. It is his actions, the solitary walks or the cruel words to Carlotta, that reveal his pessimistic ideas on the human condition.

The manner in which the protagonist treats Carlotta also reflects the author’s opinion of the impossibility of communication, of any sincere human relationship. Pavese does not treat the problem of the inability to communicate from a philosophical point of view; he describes what he sees around him, in the atmosphere and social surroundings. Thus the introspective nature of the narrator in “Suicides,” his lack of participation in the life of others, conveys a basic division between self and the world, between individual and society. This expresses in painful clarity the crises and despair of modern humanity.