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ITA 1113 Study Guide - Final Guide: Dialectical Materialism, Class Conflict

Italian Language and Culture
Course Code
ITA 1113
Study Guide

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Julia DUBÉ
Julia Dubé
Professor Ricci
ITA 1113
Due October 1st, 2014
Position Paper 4: Novecento, part 1
To facilitate the comparison, a chart comparing Alfredo and Olmo based on this
definition is appended: “everything is material and that change takes place through ‘the struggle
of opposites.’”
The first contrast, or “struggle of opposites” presented is the evident opposition of the
upper class and lower class. When the boys are shown older, Alfredo is dressed in proper, clean
attire, whereas Olmo is dressed in dirty, old looking clothes. It can then be deduced that
Alfredo’s clothes are new, and well kept, in contrast to Olmo’s, which are old, probably second
hand, and tattered. Olmo is seen in the river, in the dirty water up to his legs, and he is catching
frogs and stringing them onto his hat. Alfredo, however, stays out of the river and watches Olmo
while talking to the young girl. This seen shows how Olmo gets so dirty, and Alfredo stays clean.
After Olmo throws a frog at the little girl, Alfredo calls him a coward, so Olmo challenges him to
“follow the leader”. Olmo then does a series of “stunts” that Alfredo hesitantly copies. This
shows that where Olmo takes action, Alfredo is passive. In this first part, the two boys archetypes
are still vague, but they will become evident during the following dinner scenes.
In the first dinner scene, it displays a small space in comparison to the large
number of people in it. The scene is comparable to Bruegel’s painting “The Wedding”, a painting
of a feast following a peasant wedding. The room is crowded, people both sit at the table and on
the floor, and the cooking and cleaning are done in the same room. The peasants talk about the
hard work they do, but also laugh with each other. Someone then calls Olmo a bastard, and Leo
defends him, saying “Bastard? Who said bastard? No bastards in my house,” then explaining that
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