Levi - Christ Stopped at Eboli A View of the Peasant Life seen by Carlo Levi In Christ Stopped at Eboli Levi showed the peasant culture in a

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Christ Stopped at Eboli A View of the Peasant Life seen by Carlo Levi In Christ Stopped at Eboli, Levi showed the peasant culture in a intimate way, his book acted as a form of history for the Lucania peasants. Levi presented their way of life, and also their views of the world at that time in history. Levi is a man of a an educated background, when he was banished to Gagliano in Lucania because of his opposition to Fascism, he was faced with a much different lifestyle and culture. In his book, he described the region he stayed at as a “stubborn poverty” that no one wanted to touch. Not the Romans, not the ancient Greeks, and not even Western Civilization's pioneers. And when a conqueror did got through the area, the peasants were exploited, this is still seen in the way the Fascist regime exploits the poor peasants. It was a shadowy land that did not know sin, there were no determined morals, so different from the “outside”. The village Levi stayed at was ridden with malaria, and many people were sick. Levi, being a doctor, had many chances to enter the peasants' dwellings when he went to check on a sick person. From these visits and other interactions and observations, Levi presented a clear image of the Southern Italian peasant life. This way of life is especially seen and reflected in the housing of the peasants as well as the environment they live in. The peasants were extremely poor, they lacked many of what the “civilized” world would consider as “modern”. They did not have access to basic everyday goods because the village did not have a shop of that sort. An everyday meal for them would just consist of bread, crushed tomatoes, and some oil and peppers. Because of this dark poverty, and compounded by rampant disease in the village, the villagers of Gagliano proclaims that “Christ did not visit Eboli, Christ stopped here.” as a way to show how far in poverty they have become. When the peasants think of success and modern, they do not think of Rome, or other major European cities. Instead, they look to America as the icon of success, rich, good living conditions, and new beginnings. Levi noted that in the peasant houses, some of the
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most common decorations are an American dollar bill, and a portrait of President Roosevelt. This shows how much they look up to America and the American Dream, even though they do not know that the American Dream is far from the truth. The peasants that make it over there, because of the language and cultural barriers, can only work in high risk and low paying jobs. Upon entering the village, Levi is immediately reminded of this place's relative isolation and poverty. The rudimentary architecture and roads all showcase the poor conditions of the peasants, at Gagliano, the road ended. Levi was not impressed by the village at all, and upon first seeing the peasants, he described their poor living conditions, and the house he lodged in had “a thousand black flies”. Because of Levi's status as a doctor, the entire village entrusted him as the local medical man.
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This note was uploaded on 03/15/2010 for the course HUM HUM199Y1 taught by Professor Giulianakatz during the Spring '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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Levi - Christ Stopped at Eboli A View of the Peasant Life seen by Carlo Levi In Christ Stopped at Eboli Levi showed the peasant culture in a

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