Beneath a Scarlet Sky


Mark Sullivan

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Beneath a Scarlet Sky: Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Heavy rain starts coming down, so Pino and Mimo seek shelter in a nearby shop belonging to their Aunt Greta and Uncle Albert. When they enter, Pino spots a Nazi officer and watches as Albert makes a sale. When Pino moves closer, he notices the Nazi is a member of the Gestapo and Pino is unsettled by his presence. Pino goes into the back of the store to get some boxes for his uncle while still thinking about his upcoming date with Anna. When Pino returns to the front of the store, the Nazi has left. His aunt and uncle inform him that the Nazi is Walter Rauff, a Gestapo chief who is about to take charge of the Hotel Regina. Greta and Albert are annoyed by the increasing power the Nazis hold over Italy. Pino thinks the war will be over soon, but they aren’t so sure.
Here, another real historical figure is introduced: Walter Rauff. He is now known as one of the most barbaric members of the Nazi party who was responsible for the deaths of around 100,000 people. In this scene, Pino’s intuition is both good and bad. He is right to be unsettled by Rauff but is incorrect about when the war will end. Pino’s feelings about the war demonstrate a sort of youthful optimism, something that is lacking in his older relatives.
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Pino and Mimo return home. They worry their mother, Porzia, will be mad at them for staying out longer than they should have. Indeed, when Pino and Mimo enter their flat, Porzia is not happy with her sons. However, Pino manages to avoid his mother’s wrath by making an excuse about not feeling well. Porzia buys Pino’s explanation, and he is allowed to go to his room where he listens to jazz and thinks about Anna. At 6:15 p.m., Pino climbs out his window to go meet Anna. Mimo catches him doing so. Mimo laughs at his older brother and tells him Anna won’t show up to their date.
Here, Pino’s life looks nearly identical to that of a stereotypical teenager. He is chided by his mother for a minor transgression and then he sneaks out his window to go on a date. Additionally, although it is only lightly touched upon here, this is the introduction of music into the novel, which will become increasingly important as the story continues.
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Pino arrives at the theater, buys two tickets, and waits for Anna but she doesn’t show up. Instead, Pino gives the other ticket to Mimo, who followed him to the theater, and the two of them go inside together. Before the film begins, fascist propaganda plays, which Pino mocks. Then, the real film begins; it is a comedy starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth titled You Were Never Lovelier. Pino immediately falls in love with the film, but it is soon interrupted by the sound of an air raid siren.
Anna standing Pino up hurts him, although he tries not to let it show to Mimo. As is described in this scene, it was standard under Mussolini’s regime for propaganda to play before a film. The film, You Were Never Lovelier, is a romantic comedy with a happily-ever-after style ending. Of course, Pino never gets to see the ending of the film, perhaps implying that this novel will not end as happily as the film.
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