Unspeakable Women Essay, Research Paper
Robin Pickering-Iazzi’s book Unspeakable Women is a collection of selected short stories written by Italian women during Fascism. Each story relates to us a different aspect of Italian life under the fascist autocracy. This book is entertaining and useful because there is not very much information written about Italian women during this time. Most writing done in Italy during the 1920’s and ’30’s was fascist propaganda portraying women as homemakers and men as breadwinners. This book, however, is free from fascist propaganda. It gives us a glimpse into the lives of these women and how they perceived fascist life to be.
Unspeakable Women is a collection of short stories written by Italian women during fascism. Each story gives us insight into a part of Italian life under fascism. I would like to focus now on Marinella Lodi’s short story entitled “Man and Death.” This story really stood out to me as the most enjoyable of the short stories, as well as the most insightful. The girl’s experiences with man and death are a representation of how mankind views man and death. Man is thought of as inherently evil, greedy, and even slimy-always having an alternate motive. In “Man and Death” the girl says, “I still felt his manly warmth and smell-so new to me, and repulsive”(35). Here she is showing how her first contact with man was an awful one. She perceived mankind to be typical of this man-and was instantly repulsed. Just as we are often disgusted by what man can do, the atrocities that man has done. “My only instinct was to move away”(35). To get away from mankind on this earth would be idealistic. The only trued way to escape the horrors of man is through death. The girl shows us that she learned this to be true in her short story. She seeks refuge in the dead man who “inspired peacefulness and almost drew me near him”(36). The girl is describing the dead man as being peaceful and inviting; like a place of refuge from the incessant evils of mankind. In the story “Man and Death,” the girl’s ideas about life had changed. She is no longer ignorant about life; she had “come to know man and death, and had immediately preferred the latter”(32).
The book Unspeakable Women by Robin Pickering-Iazzi, gives us a good representation of Italian life for women under the Fascist regime. Pickering-Iazzi does this by showing us a handful of selected short stories from the time period. These short stories give us a good look into how life was during Fascist Italy. I wrote my research paper on Italian Fascism, so I had a good idea of what to expect from this book. This was almost entirely true. The book, for the most part, only had details that alluded to being under a fascist state, but the subtleties were there. It did not focus on fascism directly, but rather on the lives of women during fascism, and how they were affected. I thought that this was a good strategy, which helped the book immensely. Although I did not like all of the stories, they were mostly enjoyable, and did a good job in depicting the life of women during Italian fascism.