The novel Lives of the saints succeeded in rebuilding the role of Italian women in the 1960s. Lately, society always judges and recognizes women according to a standard. The author of the novel built Cristina as an example of a woman’s position.
Cristina is defined as a special character in the novel when she goes against the flow, as well as denying the standards and views of society for women. She herself acted uniquely from everyone, along with her strong, independent and courageous personality; therefore some people do not like her.
First of all, one of Cristina’s outstanding features is strong. This is shown when she never showing fear or resistance to pain. To be clear, at the beginning of the novel the author talks about Cristina’s affair. While having the affair, she has no feeling of sin or even just thinking for your husband just a second.
At the same time, a special event happened, which was the time when Cristina was bitten by a snake. Her emotions showed the audience that, she was a strong person without yelling or panicking in contrast the stillness is seen. On the way to the hospital to handle Cristina’s snakebite, her father asked her a lot of questions in case she could faint at any time. Cristina was not frightened and comfortably answered each question.
There was a quote when she answered her father: “on my ankle” (Ricco 15). “She showed that she was not worried about the snake bite at the time. Earlier, Vittorio helped his mother by using his shirt to tie her mother’s wounds, preventing the snake’s poison from spreading. The skin around the snakebite becomes white. This shows that snake toxin is spreading. Snake poison can make your legs swell and hurt strongly, but in this case; Crisina still doesn’t show everyone her feelings.
There is a quotation in the novel: “but my mother did not wince or grimace”. (Ricci 16) Cristina is a strong woman and a strong woman can take the pain. One of the quotes in the book is: ” in the village, Vittorio’s mother was famous for her indifference to pain…”(Ricci 17). The author’s description mentions Cristina’s extraordinary strength, she is more special than the villagers because of that. Cristina does not need to mention her strength, but the view and feeling of people around her already give the audience a sense of her strength.
Since her husband was no longer at home, she had to take care of her father, raising and educating her son. Cannot avoid being lonely, but she always expressed herself as an independent woman to everyone. In particular, it is very difficult to be alone to raise her son and take care of her father. Not only mentally, a person to share but also financially.
Cristina’s husband works far away so he cannot help physically but he still sends money to financially support his wife. Acting to rip the envelope that her husband sent, she showed everyone that she didn’t need money from her husband and refused to accept it. An excerpt from the pee when Cristina said: “Tell Mario, that she doesn’t need his money”.(Ricci 96)
Cristina is completely confident in her ability to live without financial support from her husband even when her husband is far away. Vittorio and her father will be perfectly fine with her and do not need any other help. Further, Cristina’s father leg was hurt because of a table fall on to his leg and injured his leg.
He could not move on his own and needed the support of others. Virginio, Pastore and Father Nick come to help but later Cristine said, “go back to their suppers” (Ricci 149) to deny help. Cristina thought all of these actions because she had an affair, so she was cursed. She wanted to be responsible for what she did herself.
The company comes over to her house for the first time and she has to serve the drink and wash the glasses by her. At the moment, all the women ask Cristina if she needs help to pass out the drink but she ” refused them each time, with the same tired smile…”(Ricci 143). She covered her exhaustion and did all the work to help the company and her father willingly.
The most normal actions that happen every day can see Cristina as a brave person. She shows a difference from acting to dressing, as she confidently walks through the village with her tight clothes. There is a quote in the book describing the clothes when worn to the church:” in a white blouse and a black skirt – which fit tight around her wrist…”(Ricci 138).
Her confidence overwhelmed everyone’s gazes and gossip. She didn’t care about other people’s words and did whatever she wanted. Another event happened when Vittorio was beaten by his classmate, Cristina was a mother so when she heard that her child was beaten, she was very angry. The feeling for motherhood with her heart to rising, Cristina came to Maria’s house and told her: “If Vincenzo lays another finger on my lips, I will tear out your eyes…” (109). She was strong because she came to Maria’s house without hesitating or thinking about what would happen.
Next, after she and her father quarrelled because the company left her house, her father had a table on his leg and caused injuries. Although she had just quarrelled with her father, she still came and helped her father. Cristina has no angry attitude or alienates her father and she immediately tells Vittorio: “Go get De Lucci … and tell him to bring the rack from the church (Ricci 145)”. Even her father was upset, but she still bravely came to help her without fear.
Through the novel, the author described Cristine honestly as the woman’s role. Clearly, the audience can see the strength, independence, and courage that she displays. Cristina shrewdly showed everyone her true identity without ostentation.