A comparison of character relationships in "Memed, My Hawk" and "The Leopard."

Essay by chrisquestHigh School, 12th grade November 2005

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Book: "Memed, My Hawk" and "The Leopard"

Author: Yashar Kemal (Memed, My Hawk) and Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (The Leopard)


The novels, "The Leopard" by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, and "Memed, My Hawk" by Yashar Kemal, both involve back stories of power changes, that is changes to the class systems. Yet each novel is told from a different point of view - The Leopard from that of the displaced upper-class aristocracy in southern Italy between 1860 and 1880, and Memed, My Hawk from the view point of the Turkish peasant/serf fighting for his rights. The central romantic love relationships of the two novels powerfully reflect this. Di Lampedusa's novel contains a practical relationship, that between Angelica and Tancredi which will bring status to her and money to him. By contrast Kemal's novel features true love between two devoted partners where relationship is in total opposition to all such practical considerations.

In the central scene of romance in "The Leopard", di Lampedusa writes "Tancredi did not realize, or he realized perfectly well, that he was drawing the girl into the hidden centre of the sensual cyclone" (The Leopard, p. 107), and this is nearly all that holds the couple together. We learn later that Prince Fabrizio, Tancredi's uncle and surrogate father had always known that Tancredi "would go hunting for a rich marriage ... as a predatory adventure" (The Leopard, p. 169) as a bankrupted aristocrat he had to induce this beautiful rich girl as to assure his own status. Angelica, for her part, is after Tancredi's title and the social doors it can open. The exact opposite situation occurs with Memed and Hatché, Kemal makes it plain that they have been destined for each other since childhood for their fates are intertwined.