Italo Calvino's Intentions in "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller"

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Upon opening the book, and beginning to read the first chapter, it felt as though the author was introducing me to the book as if in real life. The author spoke as if he wasn't telling the story, but instead preparing you for the story. The fact of the matter, is that he was doing both. Calvino was preparing the reader for the first story of the book by listing the best ways to read a book by removing any distractions and getting comfortable. Reading this was very hard going, as the first chapter to me it read like a set of stereo instructions and it made me think I don't need to be told the best way read a book, as the best way to read a book is all down to personal preference. However, in reflection it is quite amusing, as at first we don't really realise that we are playing an active role in the book. Calvino at this point is describing the reader in second person despite him describing you as the reader. The "you" is the "reader" which is the main protagonist of the book. This is made clear in chapter eight of the book where we are reading the diary of Silas Flannery who is the villain of the book.

The book is very thought provoking in the sense that it raises various issues in life and in the readers' own thoughts that the reader didn't know existed or was aware of these thoughts but denied thinking them. The final page of chapter one talks about the unmistakeable tone of the author, but then contradicts itself by saying that this tone is unrecognisable. The reason behind this is because we all read books in a certain tone in our head that we unconsciously presume to be the storyteller but is in reality our own conscience reading the book. This is quite amusing in itself because of the truth of it, but it is also serious...

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... in the book, which is that the hero must pass all tests put before him, then he is either to die or to live happily ever after with his female companion. This makes me wonder if the world of film makers' minds is too shallow, but the truth is that the formula is the key formula to making a successful story.

So, in response to the question, `How comic and how serious are Italo Calvino's intentions in, "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller"?', my conclusion is that Calvino's intentions can only be as comic or as serious as the reader makes them out to be. When I was reading the book, it was a mixture of both serious and comic. But the overall message that I think Calvino is trying to get across to the reader, is that life is one big joke and often predictable, and no matter how serious you take things in life, always see the funny side because you will be happier.
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