I'm Not Scared

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I'm Not Scared written by Niccolo Ammaniti. In this book Michele Amitrano, the main character who shares his experience about the summer of 1978, lives in the tiny five-house community of Aqua Traverse located in rural Italy. While the adults shelter indoors, six children risk out on their bikes across the scorched, deserted countryside. Nine-year-old Michele Amitrano discovers a secret so momentous, so terrible that it compels him to cross forbidden territory. As he enters into the corrupt world of adults, he feels vulnerable and slowly begins to lose his childhood innocence facing challenges and being forced to make adult decisions in order to do the right thing. "To come to terms with what he finds, he will have to draw strength from his own imagination and sense of humanity"The starting point of Michele's loss of childhood innocence can be marked by his first intervention with the boy when he explores the abandoned farmhouse.

He discovers a hole in the backyard which the boy is in. "I was tempted to run away, run to the others, but I couldn't. I had to have another look first" At this point Michele does not know if the boy is dead or alive and he could have ran to his friends feeling frightened, thinking about his safety but instead his conscience and sense of curiosity induce him to take another look. He decides to keep this a secret to himself, "I wasn't going to say anything to anyone. 'Finders keepers,' Skull had decided. If that was so, the boy at the bottom of the hole was mine" Skull is one of Michele's friends to whom he decides not to reveal the appalling discovery because he does not want Skull or any of his friends to claim it. This exposes a bit of Michele's selfishness, as he is not thinking about the seriousness of the matter, instead, he is thinking about getting the credit for the discovery. This is when Michele first enters adulthood - the forbidden territory- losing a bit of his innocence due to the decision he makes.

A second point in the novel which is significant to Michele's loss of innocence is his first visit after discovering the boy. His sense of curiosity and adventure propels Michele to go back to the farmhouse and explore further. On his way to the deserted house he is having mixed emotions; he feels afraid and apprehensive causing him to contemplate whether he should go or not; "Was I out of my mind?" Michele wants to be strong but his age must be taken into consideration. He is just a nine-year-old boy and should not be getting involved in a case like this at all. "What would Tiger Jack do in my place? He wouldn't turn back even if Manitou in person told him to". Michele looks up to Tiger Jack and strives to be brave, therefore he tries to follow in his footsteps. It is the only way he can build up the courage and strength within him to visit the boy. When Michele reaches the location of the hole, he still does not know whether the boy is dead or alive so he decides to go inside the hole to find out. "Finally, tentatively, I stretched out my arm and with two fingers took hold of one edge of the blanket and I was trying to lift it off his face when the dead boy bent his leg". Michele is petrified at the sight of this and charges out of the hole, pedaling his bicycle as fast as he can in the direction of his home. His return to the farmhouse was only due to the fact that he was inquisitive about whether Filippo, the boy, was alive or not. Michele is able to face his fear which shows that he is shifting from his childhood innocence and growing up.

Although Michele now knows that Filippo is infact alive, he continues to visit him wanting to investigate further and gets deeper involved into the corrupt world of adults. Soon his father finds out that Michele has been talking to Filippo and forbids him from going back there; "If you go back there again those people will shoot him in the head". This is shocking news for Michele but he promises his father that he will not go back as he does not want anything to happen to Filippo especially if Michele is to blame for his death. "I swear on your head that I won't go back there again" Michele seems like he understands the importance of the matter and assures his father that he will stay out.

Ammaniti, Niccolo. I'm Not Scared. New York: Penguin, 1964