Presentation Title

Piccolo ma Forte: The Child Narrator’s Role in Cultural Collective Processing of Historical Events

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Italy, Africa, child narrator, film, short stories

Department

International Studies and Languages

Major

Intercultural Communication & Italian

Abstract

Whether dealing with genocide, organized crime or economic deprivation, the use of a child protagonist in film and literature allows for an unfiltered look at traumatic history that contributes to a broader collective healing process. In recollections of violent African events, painful Italian history and more recent happenings in Syria, artists use the child protagonist to introduce the perspective of a marginalized population into a historical reality, invoke sympathy from motivated audiences, and call attention to the universal and unifying human experience of suffering. This paper, firstly, compares the strategic use of the child narrator across cultures in short stories of African atrocities and Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful" (1997), according to Pamela Kroll's six tools for understanding. Secondly, this paper demonstrates, in contrast to Giacomo Lichtner's 2012 article regarding child narratives in Italian Holocaust films, that the adoption of a child's perspective is not willing submission to ignorance, but a cathartic exercise to purge a population of an evil past.

Faculty Mentor

Fiona Stewart

Funding Source or Research Program

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative

Presentation Session

Session C

Location

Plaza Classroom 188

Start Date

24-3-2017 4:45 PM

End Date

24-3-2017 5:00 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 24th, 4:45 PM Mar 24th, 5:00 PM

Piccolo ma Forte: The Child Narrator’s Role in Cultural Collective Processing of Historical Events

Plaza Classroom 188

Whether dealing with genocide, organized crime or economic deprivation, the use of a child protagonist in film and literature allows for an unfiltered look at traumatic history that contributes to a broader collective healing process. In recollections of violent African events, painful Italian history and more recent happenings in Syria, artists use the child protagonist to introduce the perspective of a marginalized population into a historical reality, invoke sympathy from motivated audiences, and call attention to the universal and unifying human experience of suffering. This paper, firstly, compares the strategic use of the child narrator across cultures in short stories of African atrocities and Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful" (1997), according to Pamela Kroll's six tools for understanding. Secondly, this paper demonstrates, in contrast to Giacomo Lichtner's 2012 article regarding child narratives in Italian Holocaust films, that the adoption of a child's perspective is not willing submission to ignorance, but a cathartic exercise to purge a population of an evil past.