Both “Vendetta” and “The Schoolteacher’s Guest” deal with ideas of justice and revenge. How do you think the writers show the personal and cultural forces that lead to the characters taking their revenge? In your response you should refer closely to the texts. Both stories show a strong bond between the mother and son. The Schoolteacher’s Guest uses more dialogue and narrative to give the reader more of an understanding of what is going on whilst Vendetta starts with the description of the setting which tells the reader that this may be a bit of a harsh story.
For example, “the barren, stripped of all but a scanty covering of grass, are forever harassed by a restless wind”. They all give off a very negative energy. You are fully aware of what has happened near in the first two paragraphs. For example, in Vendetta, “One evening, Antoine Saverini was treacherously stabbed in quarrel by Nicolas Ravolati,” They both focus on family honour and blood feud and are set in very insignificant places so you wouldn’t think much would be going on. Widow Saverini doesn’t seem to show much emotion when her son is brought to her.
I think that the idea of her being a widow gives you the thought that she has already had her share of grief for her husband and she knows that crying is not going to solve anything. It is almost like she has lost all feeling and can’t even mourn for her son. “Never fear, never fear, you shall be avenge, my son… You may sleep in peace. You have your mother’s word, and you know she never breaks it”. This monologue gives you a sense of trust between the mother and son, this also shows her determined nature.
I think that she would rather be alone, isolated, because begin to think that the community knows her as a strong willed and strong minded person and she does not want to show weakness so she isolates herself. She shows signs of frustration as she knows that she is too old and feeble to complete this deed on her own. “Humbling herself before God, besought him to aid and support her”. This is a bit perplexing because she is asking God to help her commit a sin which is murder, even though she is trying to avenge her son. When the widow is training S(millante, she finally has hope because she may now have a chance of succeeding.
“The next morning the old woman brought her a bowl of water, but no food, neither soup nor bread. ” It is cruelty to the dog. She also took some old clothes from her husband and they probably still had his scent on them but I think what the widow had in mind was if the dog could get used to killing anybody, even his master then it can overcome anybody. The dog being starved would also have something to do with it since it would act in a more savage way. The widow is a very resourceful woman and will go to any ends to get what she wants.
She even “begged for two trusses of straw. ” She is a very determined woman. “The Widow Saverini went to confession and communion, in an ecstasy of devotion. ” She is driven by hatred and very devoted to her son that she is even willing to disguise herself. I think the killing was very brief, “For some moments he struggled, kicking the floor with his feet. Then he lay still, while S(millante tore his throat to shreds”, by the description this scene is very brutal and I think Maupassant wants to calm the story down since there has been a lot of suspense.
“That night she slept well. ” She can finally rest since she has achieved her goal and is satisfied. Maupassant uses a very tense atmosphere in the first paragraph he uses words and phrases such as “mean”, “broken winded”, “barren coast”, “ravaging” and “rock strewn straits”. Each one creates a dark and murky atmosphere to show that Bonifacio isn’t a nice place to be in. When a passer by brings the body to the widow, he doesn’t even give a few words of comfort on anything and just drops the body off.
This shows that the community isn’t a very supportive and just concentrates on living their lives. They play no part in her revenge. Bonificio doesn’t really have law enforcement because it like the whole community has a code, they can’t tell on others so people get away with things. “Two neighbours, seated at their doors, remembered to have seen an old beggar man… at his heels, a lean black dog,” The neighbours do notice something but they just seem to turn a blind eye. The Schoolteacher’s Guest, Ines “announced” how she had cut off the head of a guest.