The Role of Laurana as a Surveyor into Sicilian Culture in Leonardo Sciascia's To Each His Own

The Role of Laurana as a Surveyor into Sicilian Culture in Leonardo Sciascia's To Each His Own

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Dishonesty is an evil of various forms. More often than not, it sullies understanding in the form of a simple lie: short, deliberate, yet easily enough deductible. However, say the lie is taken into acceptance. Say the lie garners a foothold and establishes roots; thus, growing like a weed in persistence, say the lie institutes a sort of ‘myth.’ A myth, although unrealistic, becomes indulgently persuasive. In To Each His Own, Leonardo Sciascia weighs the battle for integrity in an ethically empty society against the oppression of falsehood within a Christ figure whose faith in morality likens to madness. Laurana is challenged not only by the lies of certain individuals, but more importantly by the myth his trust succumbs to in the wake of those lies. As one transcends beyond the novella’s simple plotline and into an underlying critique on Sicilian chivalry, Sciascia provides a social commentary on the ethos of a culture, it’s self-indulgent permittance of corruption, and the brutal demeaning of those who stand in opposition to it.

Sciascia, an Italian politician and French-enlightenment writer, utilizes Laurana as an impartial looking-glass; a means for analyzing and assessing “the insular, mafia-saturated culture of Sicily–which [Sciascia] believed to be a metaphor of the world,” (Sciascia III). Laurana, principled as a symbol of innocence, yields a detached atmosphere regarding his acquaintances: “it was something opaque, dense, almost repressed” (Sciascia 43). Sciascia’s use of contrast, subtly established by these shallow observations, introduces the driving force behind the investigation in conjunction with Laurana’s tragic flaw: purblind trust.

Laurana believes in the “supremacy of reason and candor over irrationality and...

... middle of paper ...

...limax of To Each His Own features Rosello’s integrity as a mafioso in sheep’s clothing at juxtaposition with the sleuthing Professor Laurana’s opaque complacency in disengaging his better judgment. Impaired by his loyalty and oblivious to the facade established in the semblance of friendship, he maintains this complacency even after his investigation undeviatingly points him to Rosello, Ragana, and the Branca cigar. Laurana, without comprehension of the danger he is facing. Consequently, the professor is perturbed further by the unforeseen absence of a would-be date, as opposed to the metaphoric noose his delusions of security place around his neck. Ultimately, in the all too noble quest for truth, Laurana’s ship succumbs to the abyss.

Works Cited
Sciascia, Leonardo, Adrienne W. Foulke, and W. S. Di Piero. To Each His Own. New York: New York Review, 2000. Print.

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