Meaning of Nature in Deserto dei Tartari and Visconte Dimezzato Essay

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In Il Deserto dei Tartari1 and Il Visconte Dimezzato2, written respectively by Dino Buzzati and Italo Calvino, the omnipresence of nature sets its role as much more than a passive setting. Kate Rigby in Introducing Criticism at the 21st Century, defines the role of nature as being a background of images bearing symbolic meanings. Marie- Helene Caspar completes this statement by saying that: “Il paesaggio non e solo una cornice, qualcosa di esterno, senza importanza. Anzi, esso fa da complemento al personaggio, lo satura di connotazioni che concordano. E tavolta la metafora del personaggio”3. Nature in the two novels becomes the stage of the narrative through which the protagonist's psychology is forged.

The representation of nature in both novels is different. On the one hand, Buzzati's novel lacks of precise spatial indication: the narrative world is reduced to the minimum and is stricly defined by two spaces: 'la citta' on one hand, and 'la fortezza' on the other. Even though the begining of the novel takes place in the city, the narrative world is centered around the desert where the main protagonist has been sent for his first military posting. The inital outlay in the city provides a structure for the reader who finds himself automatically inserted into a familiar and realist context. However reassuring that is, the recurrence of 'la montagna', 'nebbia', 'landa disabitata', soon sets the narrative into a mysterious and captivating, yet worrying, landscape. The Fort, only known as 'la Fortezza Bastiani', is located on the highest and most inaccessible mountain range, remote from the city. Surrounded by the unhabitted desert, in which most of the narrative takes place4, like suggests the title, Buzzati compares the Fort to “un...

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...nly a mediocre fate is reserved”, whereas Terralba's failure to re-instore a 'normal life' after the stiching up of both the halves in one body, arouses the reader's consciousness on his existence.
The question of alienation is reinforced by Drogo's and Medardo's position with nature that acts as a complement ot each of their entity: forging their personalities, communicating their feelings, invading their lives. Both main characters become elements of nature rather than protagonisits entitled with a psychology of their own.
Drogo's position of alienation and dependance towards nature translates the life of a common normal being whose aspirations led him to his inevitable death. From this, the reader questions his own life and the aim of his existence.
Medardo's fate reserves the same awareness: his division in two extrem halves show the component of human nature.

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