The Godfather | Study Guide

Mario Puzo

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The Godfather | Book 6, Chapter 24 | Summary

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Summary

The locale of Book 6, Chapter 24 of The Godfather is Sicily, where Michael Corleone prepares to move with his pregnant wife, Apollonia, to a new hiding place. Don Tommasino worries that Michael's marriage has brought him into the open. Calo and Fabrizzio plan to accompany Michael as he drives to the new location. Fabrizzio asks if Apollonia will be coming also. Michael says she's going to visit her family first and then join him. Fabrizzio hurries away, looking furtively over his shoulder. Michael sees Apollonia in the car in the villa's driveway and Calo standing nearby. She motions for Michael to stay by the villa; she wants to drive the car to where he stands. Michael wonders where Fabrizzio went and suddenly gets a sense of impending danger. He screams to his wife, "No! No!" but the warning is too late. Apollonia turns on the ignition and the car explodes. The blast knocks Michael unconscious.

After a week, Michael regains consciousness in a remote hut, where Tommasino has hidden him. Most people think Michael is dead because he has disappeared from sight. Michael remembers the explosion and knows that Apollonia and Calo are dead. Michael tells Tommasino, "Tell my father to get me home ... I wish to be his son." Michael recovers for another month, and two months later leaves for America.

Analysis

Book 6, Chapter 24 focuses mainly on the theme of loyalty versus treachery. Fabrizzio betrays Michael by arranging for him to be blown up in his car. However, the plan backfires when Apollonia starts the car and gets killed in the blast. Puzo uses situational irony with this incident. Situational irony occurs when there is a difference between what is expected to happen and what does happen. Michael gets married to Apollonia, whom he loves deeply. He wants to protect her more than anyone in the world. Despite this, Apollonia is the person who gets killed, and Michael survives. Michael's attempt to salvage a loving relationship in his world of deception and treachery is destroyed by that world.

This incident can be seen as the final step as Michael merges into his father's world, a process that began when Michael visited his father in the hospital. Because of his devotion to his father, Michael protects him. He gets drawn into the Mafia because of love. After McCluskey breaks Michael's jaw, he feels the desire to get vengeance on the cop. Michael also feels pressure to fulfill the role of a man in the patriarchal system of his father. Because of all these reasons, Michael kills Sollozzo and McCluskey and goes into hiding in Sicily. However, Michael still has some qualms about being involved in the Mafia, which he sees as a cancerous organization. He tries to save something of the life he originally planned to have with Kay, by having a loving marriage with children. When this last hope is destroyed by the car explosion, the split within Michael divides even more. Puzo shows this when Michael smiles in a chilling way after he thinks of his wife's murderer, Fabrizzio. This smiles seems inappropriate and is similar to the Don's chilling smile when he talks about murderous activities in Chapter 14. Like the Don, Michael has divided into a cunningly reasonable side and a side filled with cold hatred. As a result, Michael tells Tommasino, "Tell my father I wish to be his son."

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