Niccolo Ammanitis ‘I’m not scared’, illustrates the life of a young boy named Michele Amitrano who has to deal with issues that are not a common occurrence for a 10-year-old boy. Throughout the story we witness Michele journey from childhood innocence into a maturity beyond his years. This is evident through Michele’s ability to stand up to his fears in order to support what he believes in. Throughout I’m not scared, Michele has to face many fears, both childish and real in order to stand for what he believes is right and Just.
The first real fear that Michele has to face is standing up to Skull, the leader of the gang who is a younger, but still malevolent version of his older brother Felice. When he considered the forfeit given to Barbara to be unnecessary and harsh, he offered to take her place and pay a forfeit instead. His actions demonstrate kindness and compassion as well as courage to do what was correct and honourable thing to do. When Michele stands up to Skull it is the first real time that he has had the guts to do so, this event gives Michele the confidence to face other fears later in the story and prepares the reader for what is to come.
Later on in the novel Michele has to face is being responsible for Filippos death if he is caught visiting him again. Yet Michele’s moral judgements tell him that he needs to keep his promise to Fillipo and visit him even though the fear of his father and his words are in the back of his mind. Belonging to an Italian family meant strict rule, high regard for respect, parents with short fuses and, in the case of the Amitranos, poverty. All these aspects of life were designed to make children listen to their parents through the fear of being beaten.
Mama spanking “… the living daylights of… ” Michele shows that the Amitranos were a typical poor family. “If you go back there I’ll give you the thrashing of your life. If you go back there again those people will shoot him in the head… And it’ll be your fault! ” Thus, a defining moment in the novel is when Michele breaks his father’s oath by returning to save Filippo from a hellish fate. An act of extreme courage in the face of exceptional adversity, Michele illustrates how the actions of the adults are born of greed and not necessity.
Moreover, how anyone even a kid can ‘muster up’ the courage to do what is just and fair. Before sleeping, he imagines himself tricking and trapping and of the worst and scariest monsters of his vivid imagination, thus he is able to sleep peacefully. Michele also has to face many childish fears such as not wanting to ride through the night because of the fear of being eaten by monsters. “I’m not scared of anything, I whispered to myself, but my legs were wobbly and a voice in my brain said not to go? At the end of the novel in order to save Fillipo, Michele has to face the fears of falling to death in the Gravina and the fear of meeting his father at the hole. The evolution of Michele from a little boy at the start of the story who was scared of riding at night because of monsters to a boy who risks his life at the end shows that Michele as a character matures throughout the story. The title of the novel is quite ironic in that there are many incidences of Michele being frightened. However, these fears and qualms shape and define his actions as he struggles to please his conscience and his parents at the same time.