By David Galens, Joyce Moss
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Additional info for World Literature and Its Times, Volume 7: Italian Literature and Its Times
142). The narrator describes the moment when the mother learned that Enrico had died during a military operation, and a terrible storm forced her to take shelter in the cellar; the sky and wind seemed "to be seeking her, too, her, in the house" (Acquainted, p. 135). While her fear grew, "she huddled then, her eyes shut, in her final solitude," as if the hurricane had turned to ashes all she was, "a grieving spark of time," as well as all she had been, "woman, wife and mother" (Acquainted, p. 136).
For example, the novel reflects his resentment against the high value placed on owning a villa, which stretched his family's means. W O R L D ITS THE DAWN OF A CONSUMER CULTURE—DISPARAGED O wning an automobile was the highest of alt middle-class aspirations in 1930s Italy, as suggested m Acquainted with Grief when Doctor Higueroa pushes Conzate to learn how to drive. Society was becoming generally obsessed with the display of possessions/ and the gap between reality and appearances grew. Gone, thought Gadda, was the old upper-class mix of wealth with productivity and ethical values (honor, honesty, efficiency).
The visit reveals no "visible sickness," yet a sudden change takes place in the appearance and behavior of Gonzalo: he gradually sinks into an "inscrutable opacity," an alarmed, anguished, desirous state in which he rejects all words of comfort (Acquainted, p. 69). A 50-page conversation follows between Doctor Higueroa and Gonzalo, which makes its way through the entire spectrum of Gonzalo's moods. Alternately grievous and violent, the patient mumbles about his aging mother, death, and the cemetery.