Chapter 13:Delirium • Summary: • Pelagia and her father, Dr. Iannis, return from the All Saints feast. Both are drunk. The Doctor falls fast asleep, while Pelagia remains awake, thinking over and over the fact that Mandras has proposed to him. She has sweet dreams about his dearly beloved, however, a looming doubt appears: Was she really in love? If she was to be married, would Mandras make a good husband? She analyses marriage in her village, and decides that it is one of the most important steps in life, apart from having children. • The next morning she gives herself chores nearby the road that takes to her house as to see Mandras as soon as he approached. However, he does not appear at all, to the unrest of the young lady’s soul. She finds Lemoni, a small girl of six, who plays in the forest. She has a brief conversation with her, and, later returns to her home. She finds her father and talk about her possible marriage. He tells her that Mandras is still too young and is not as skilled as she is. They talk about possibly moving to another country, but soon drop this issue to talk about the breaking war. Dr. Iannis gives her daughter as gun to defend herself whenever she is threatened. She keeps it under her pillow. • The next day Mandras is still not seen, and Pelagia’s despair grows, as she tells herself that Mandras is cruel. On the third day after the feast, Pelagia goes down to the sea. She thinks Mandras deserves to be put in the same sentence as dictators, because of his indifference. She finds a naked fisherman in the sea. She is hypnotised by this figure. She then finds out is Mandras. She is perplexed by his beauty, and feels fortunate to see what is hers before the marriage. She compares her fiancé with a sea nymph, and remembers a myth that tells that watching sea nymphs drove women to delirium. Mandras is feeding three dolphins. Pelagia returns home, waiting for Mandras, who finally appears. He brings fish to her. He excuses himself for not coming before because in the first day he was sick, and the next day he had to go to Argostoli. He confesses to his love that he is going out to war, and she cries and tells him to decline. They embrace, as Pelagia thinks that watching sea nymphs not only bring delirium, but, at times, death.
Chapter 14:Grazzi • Summary: • This chapter offers the view of the Italian ambassador to Greece on the events leading to the war. He begins his story by saying that he regrets the fact that people often lead themselves towards the disapproval of history, against his own will and nature. He tells us that he and general Mondini were uninformed by Mussolini, Ciano and Badoglio. The ambassador is much disconcerted with the position of his country, he feels embarrassed. He tells us that he kept attending parties and cocktails despite the fact that his country would be declaring war to Greece. In one occasion, He and Mondini were surprised by telegrams when they were in the middle of an opera. He feels cheated by his government and is concerned by what will happen to Greeks and fellow Italians in the country. The surprising thing in this chapter is that the ambassador, whose name is not revealed, is like confessing to the reader what his feelings were at the moment. This occurs especially during his interview with Prime Minister Metaxas. • Metaxas receives the ambassador. The Greek minister is worn out and is described as a little man, who was feeble and exhausted. The ambassador almost felt sorry for him. Their dialogue is in French. The ambassador gives the ultimatum to let Italian troops into strategic points in Greece, or else be invaded. They both know the last command will be done. The ambassador is almost moved by the courage displayed by the minister. He refers this to be Greece’s finest hour, and the most dishonourable one of Italy. He finishes by saying: “There it is. I hope you are satisfied”.
Chapter 15:L’Ommosessuale (4) • Summary: • Carlo Guercio talks about the terrible hardships Italian soldiers had to endure during their initial campaign in Greece. He and Francesco felt mutual isolation and everyone felt sad at the front because they had just started a war. They received medals for their actions, but Carlo still felt betrayed by the Italian army. The only reason he remained a soldier was because of his love to Francesco. Carlo and Francesco were given a week to train a hundred Albanians, to their consternation and disbelief. Carlo mocks about the simplicity and dumbness of his subordinates. The war finally broke out as Italians dressed as Greeks, as to have an excuse for Italian aggression destroyed more Italian posts. • Then Carlo starts his journal about what happened during the first days of the invasion. The Italians are hopeful, sing hymns, and say they will be in Athens in two weeks. However, the weather gets cold and it rains. They are soaked and their advance is slower. There is still no attack from the Greeks and Carlo wonders if they had chickened out. He complains about puttees. The landscape becomes mountainous and the conditions worsen. Francesco says: “Athens in two months”. On November 1st, the Greeks kill their corporal and bomb their position. It was a trap. Desperation spreads. Francesco now says: “ Athens in two years”. Italian troops now eat their dead horses. Their supply lines have been cut off. Their situation is unbearable and start the retreat to Konitsa. Carlo curses Mussolini and calls him an incandescent fart. They return to their starting point having lost a fifth of their 10,000 squad. Although they are praised for their bravery as being from marble, Francesco asks if marble in the Golgotha (the hill where Christ was crucified) bleeds, with the sorrow and near-madness of the defeated army.
Chapter 16:Letters to Mandras at the front • Summary: • In this chapter, Pelagia writes three letters to Mandras at the front. • In the first one, the girl is deeply concerned about Mandras not answering back her letters. She feels hopeless with each passing day and no answer. She asks if he is not nostalgic about her and the sea and the dolphins. She tells him that they are running short of some things like kerosene or flour because of the war. She comments on how desolated is the village without the young men and is terrified at the thought of losing him. She tells him about the gun her father gave her. She has been going to Church quite a lot. She talks about how the British are the greatest empire the world has seen and how they will help Greece win the war. She even despises the US, France and Russia. She feels Greece will win the war because of the good news coming from the front. She tells everyone praises Metaxas great leadership and valour. Her father offered to be a doctor at the front, but was turned down because he was an illegal doctor with no papers. She comments about the fortune –telling going on since the outbreak of war and what has happened to Italians in Greece. She says that Psipsina and the goat are well, and she has started her dowry. She has begun to crochet the cover for their bed and a waistcoat for him. She is concerned about the Italian bombing of Corfu and that he has not written to his mother, as well. She tells him to write to her because his mother is suffering from his absence. Their Christmas was sad and poor. She finishes the letter by expressing her love. She says that Mandras absence is as though she has lost a limb. • The second letter is shorter. Mandras has yet to write. It is St. Basil’s Day. She received a book of poetry from her father. She gave him a clasp knife. She has restarted the bedcover because she has done it wrong. She does not know what has happened to her recently. She talks about Greece’s success at the front and the concern over the bad health of Metaxas. She comments on the new war poster of the Virgin helping a Greek soldier. Dr. Iannis has made his moustache larger to feel more patriotic. She finishes by suggesting Mandras to write to his mother. • The third letter is even shorter. She expresses her uncertainty over the lack of answer from her love. She tells Mandras that her neighbour Kokolios has lost two sons and her father has shaved off his moustache because he thinks it is similar to Hitler’s. Everyone is saddened by Metaxas death, but are sure Papagos will lead them to victory. Easter will be meagre as they do not have any of the usual ingredients of this feast. She says that the bedcover was dirtied by Psipsina and half-eaten by the goat, so it had to be unpicked again. She hopes him the best of luck and to remain cheerful.