It is often considered a great feat when an author is successful in capturing the reader's attention through a character's personality. Alberto Moravia, the pseudonym of Alberto Pincherle, was one such author, since he was widely known for pulling his readers' attention and interest into his stories, ultimately captivating their entire being His lively way with words, his vivid descriptions, as well as his colorful imagination all contributed to his amazing writings. Moravia's story "The Secret" is no exception.
In "The Secret," Moravia focuses on the psychology of the main character, Gino. He lets the reader into Gino's head with each and every paragraph. The character's behavior is interesting and, at times, amusing, as a result of Moravia's great descriptive ability. The opening to the story is enough to draw the reader into Gino's world, with the main character exclaiming, "Don't talk to me about secrets! I had one-and it was the kind that weighs on your conscience like a nightmare" (221).
The psychological aspect of Gino's character focuses on his behavior, a direct result of his actions on the day his life forever changes. A truck driver in Italy, Gino strikes and kills a man riding a motorbike while passing a car on the wrong side of the road. Then, in a moment of weakness, horror, and cowardice, "lowering my head, I stepped down hard on the gas. I tore down the road to Rome and dropped my load at the yard" (222). Gino informs the reader of the utter embarrassment he endures as a result of his cowardice, which is labeled as such in all of the local newspapers' reports: "The hit-and-run driver had fled the scene of the accident like a coward...like ...
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...is did not let him off the hook as he hoped she would, so he will be saddled with this secret always. She is not to blame for her reaction since the secret is Gino's burden only, and he is wrong to think that someone else can lighten his load.
. Through Alberto Moravia's emphasis on the psychology of the main character, the reader is virtually sucked into the life, as well as the heartbreaking tale, of this fictitious man. As a result of Gino's hardships, it becomes clear that, not only does behavior have dominance over life's events, but one action, no matter how simple, can forever alter a life.
Moravia, Alberto. "The Secret." Trans. Helene Cantarella. Angles of Vision Reading, Writing, and the Study of Literature. Ed. Arthur W. Biddle, and Toby Fulwiler. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1992. 221-225.
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