Nedda and La via ferrata, the analyzes by Verga and Pascoli for the first test of maturity 2022

Nedda and La via ferrata, the analyzes by Verga and Pascoli for the first test of maturity 2022

Nedda and La via ferrata

Poetry The via ferrata and a passage from the short story Nedda are at the center of this year's literary analysis. The first test of maturity 2022, after two years of absence due to Covid, is back in all its feared articulation. The same for all institutions of any address, it is faced by over 520 thousand students throughout Italy. It essentially consists in the drafting of the so-called "theme" which is divided into three types: that of the analysis of a literary text, that of an argumentative type and that of reflection on a topical issue.

In particular, the first type among these is the one that triggers conflicting feelings, because on the one hand it requires to be prepared on authors studied (hopefully) during the year, on the other it can favor those who manage to stick to the text literary proposed to build reflections and analyzes. The two writers chosen for the first test this year, Giovanni Pascoli and Giovanni Verga, were both in some way highly anticipated and two of the most studied authors in the fifth year of high school.

Maturity 2022, guide to the traces of the first test The exam for high schools opens with the classic "theme": here are the traces and some suggestions Pascoli and The via ferrata Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912) is considered one of the greatest Italian poets, and was also an academic and literary critic. Given his existence marked by grief and uncertainty, Pascoli developed an impressionistic style that led him to be considered one of the main exponents of decadence in Italy, thus approaching a movement that opposed bourgeois positivist domination to reflect on humanity in crisis , on the internal disagreements, on the effect that the most alive, wild and powerful nature has on the human being. Pascoli in particular elaborated what was later called the poetics of the Child, from the title of one of his manifesto-articles of 1897, in which he essentially expounded his intimate conception of poetic sentiment, all aimed at an observation of the everyday, of the minute, in a primordial and infantile recovery of life.

All this translates into a liberating and imaginative use of poetic language, which gets rid of the heavy structures of tradition to marry sound fabric and evocative images: his compositions proceed through symbols, images, flashes that appear and they disappear, juxtaposed scenes to create a more sketchy narrative than meticulously reconstructed. Onomatopoeia, synaesthesia, alliteration, repetition are some of his favorite rhetorical tools, which are accompanied by an extensive use of metaphor, as a means of visualizing reality in unexpected and revealing ways.

All this is certainly found in La via ferrata, the composition proposed in this examination: it is taken from Myricae, one of his most famous collections of poems, published in various revisions between 1891 and 1903, in which articulates the dialogue between the poet's ego and natural reality, in which the humble language of objects is combined with luminous and instantaneous fragments, extremely metaphorical and symbolic, which contribute to the mythicization of a natural “small world”. Initially composed for the wedding of a friend, La via ferrata then flows into Myricae in the section The Last Walk, a kind of poem in nine compositions that crosses a natural landscape with its contrasts and changes. This is the text:

Among the embankments on which cows graze quietly -

mind, brunette spreads out

the via ferrata that shines far away;

and in the pearl sky straight, equal,

with their weft of the aerial rows

the poles descend in fleeting order.

Which of moans and roaring howls

grows and disappears feminine lament?

The metal wires when and when

ring, immense sonorous harp, in the wind.

From the formal point of view The via ferrata looks like a madrigal (this is how the short poems of popular and pastoral inspiration are defined) in hendecasyllable verses and divided into two triplets and a quatrain characterized by the ABA rhyming scheme , CBC, DEDE. As for the theme, the poet finds himself observing a countryside landscape in which the cows "graze" (graze) placidly along the railway "that far shines", while in the gray sky ("pearl") the poles stand out. of the telegraph (and the telegraph was originally called the poem), another sign of modernity.

The contrast between animal nature and technical progress is not exaggerated, but the juxtaposition of the two elements gives rise to a doubt in the poet which becomes almost existential: she wonders where, in fact, this “feminine lament” comes from, which arrives and disappears just as quickly. The passage of the train disturbs the environment above all at the sound level ("of moans and roaring howls", "The metal wires ... / they ring, immense sonorous harp"), but it is only a momentary disturbance, underlined by precise alliterations. Pascoli can only photograph the arrival of technology as a fact, on which he does not express an explicit judgment even if it is once again nature that brings all the images back to itself.

Maturity 2022: Giorgio Parisi, the Nobel, the speech to Parliament and what complex systems are In the outline of the argumentative theme of the first test we start from the cue of the speech in the Chamber of the Italian physicist awarded the Nobel Prize 2021 for the important contribution to the understanding of the complex systems Verga and Nedda The alternative to Pascoli in this maturity comes from Giovanni Verga (1840-1922), in some way a name given a lot for papabile given his disappearance exactly one hundred years ago. Of noble origins, the Sicilian writer, narrator and playwright is considered as the father of Italian realism, that literary movement that at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, influenced by positivism and by the faith in the infallible objectivity of science, intends to observe reality in an external and scrupulous way, also scrupulously photographing its social and economic mechanisms. After more passionate beginnings such as Storia di una capinera, who moved from Sicily to Florence and then to Milan, Verga defines the realist canons with masterpieces such as I Malavoglia and Mastro-don Gesualdo.

But for many it is precisely with Nedda ( Sicilian sketch), a short story published in 1874 and proposed for examination this year, which the author makes his turn towards realism, even if for some critics this "conversion" is actually more nuanced and gradual. The story centers on Nedda Di Gaudio, known as "la Varannisa", a humble olive harvester who wanders from farm to farm looking for work to support her ailing and dying mother. The girl falls in love with Janu, a farmer suffering from malaria who dies falling from a tree leaving her pregnant with a child who is also born "stunted and struggling". When even the child dies of hardship, Nedda will only be able to invoke Our Lady, giving voice to all her resignation: "Oh, blessed are you, Holy Virgin! - she exclaimed - that you have taken away my creature from me so as not to make her suffer like me! ". This is the proposed passage:

“she was a dark girl, poorly dressed; she had that shy and rough attitude that gives misery and isolation. Perhaps she would have been beautiful, if her hardships and fatigue had not profoundly altered not only the gentle features of the woman, but I would also say her human form. Her hair was black, thick, tousled, barely knotted with string; she had teeth as white as ivory, and a certain coarse beauty of features that made her smile attractive. The eyes were black, large, swimming in a blue fluid, such as a queen would have envied them for that poor daughter curled up on the bottom rung of the human ladder, had they not been clouded by the shadowy shyness of misery, or had not looked stupid for a sad and continuous resignation. Her limbs crushed by enormous weights, or developed violently by painful exertion, had become coarse, without being robust. She was a laborer, when she did not have to carry stones in the lands that were being plowed, or she carried loads into the city on behalf of others, or she did those other harder jobs that in that part were considered inferior to the man's task. . The grape harvest, the harvest, the olive harvest were for her feasts, days of revelry, a pastime, rather than an effort. It is true, however, that she yielded just half of a good summer day as a laborer, which gave 13 good money! The overlapping rags in the form of robes made grotesque what should have been her delicate feminine beauty. The liveliest imagination could not have imagined that those hands forced to a bitter everyday toil, to scrape through the frost, or the scorching earth, or the brambles and crevasses, that those feet accustomed to going naked on the snow and on the rocks fired by the sun, lacerated on the thorns, or hardened on the stones, could have been beautiful. No one could have said how old this human creature was; her misery had crushed her as a child with all the hardships that deform and harden her body, soul and intelligence. - So it had been with her as her mother, so with her grandmother, so it would have been with her daughter. (…)

Three days later she heard a great chatter in the street. She looked out over the low wall, and saw in the midst of a group of peasants and wives Janu lying on a ladder, pale as a washed rag, and with his head wrapped in a handkerchief all stained with blood. Along the via dolorosa that she had to make of her before reaching his cottage, he, holding her hand, told her how, finding himself so weak from fevers, he had fallen from a high peak, way. - Your heart told you! he murmured with a sad smile. She listened to him with her big eyes wide open, pale like him, and holding him by the hand. The next day he died. (…) Now, when she was looking for work, they laughed in her face, not to mock the guilty girl, but because the poor mother could no longer work like she did before. After the first refusals and the first laughs she dared not look any further than her, and she shut herself up in her hut, like a wounded bird going to curl up in her nest. The little money collected at the bottom of the stocking went one after the other, and behind the money the beautiful new dress, and the beautiful silk handkerchief. Uncle Giovanni helped her as little as she could, with that indulgent and restorative charity without which the curate's morality is unjust and sterile, and thus prevented her from dying of hunger. She gave birth to a stunted and struggling girl: when they told her it was not a boy she cried as she cried on the evening when she closed the door of the cottage and found herself without her mother, but she did not want them to throw her at the wheel. ”.

The story, like others of Verga's production, is a crude and detached examination of an economic world in which the last ones are crushed in desperation by social mechanisms that are as invisible as they are inscrutable. After describing the worn aspect of the girl, almost Lombrosian described in her misery, the oppression of poverty is presented in a cyclical way ("So it had been with her mother, so with her grandmother, so it would have been with her daughter") and there is also room for a consideration of gender, since the fate of women at the time may have been even more ominous than that of men ("when they told her it was not a boy she cried"). The effect is made even more dramatic and objective by Verga's use of the external narrator, an observer completely unrelated to the facts he tells, to increase objectivity and precision. The passage, however, ends with a strenuous attachment to humanity, because the young girl, although desperate, "did not want them to throw her at the Wheel", that is, she did not want the child to be abandoned and entrusted to some charitable institution, the last extreme rootedness to a semblance of attachment to vitality.

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