Beneath a Scarlet Sky


Mark Sullivan

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Beneath a Scarlet Sky: Chapter 32 Summary & Analysis

Pino breaks down when he sees Anna’s body. He cleans her up the best he can and tells his father and uncle that he wants to take her with him. They tell Pino that he will do no such thing; the partisans are checking to see who claims the bodies. If they find Pino with Anna’s body, they will likely kill him. Pino eventually sees that his father and uncle are right and decides to abandon Anna’s body. That night, Pino is wracked with even more guilt. By leaving Anna in the cemetery alone, he feels as though he’s failed her twice. Angry with himself, he gets up out of bed in the middle of the night and marches back to the cemetery. He goes to the spot where he last saw Anna’s body, only to find that it is no longer there.
Anna was Pino’s one light in the darkness of the war and now she is dead. All that he fought and sacrificed for is gone and now he doesn’t know what to do with himself. His return to the cemetery represents his need for closure, but closure is something that he never gets. The war will always be with him, as will the memory of Anna’s death. As much as Pino has matured throughout the novel, nothing could prepare him for this unfortunate outcome.
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After departing from the cemetery, Pino goes to the Hotel Diana where he sees Major Knebel. Pino asks Knebel if he can talk to him about something. The major is happy to lend an ear, but before their conversation can progress any further, a young man enters the hotel and tells everyone that Mussolini’s body is being put on display at Piazzale Loreto. Pino and Knebel follow the young man to Piazzale Loreto and witness a gruesome sight. Along with Mussolini’s body, 15 others are spread across the Piazzale. Many have gathered around to mutilate and defecate on the bodies, particularly those of Mussolini and his mistress.
Pino never gets a chance to talk to Major Knebel about whatever it is he came for, though it’s fair to assume that it relates to Anna. Instead, Pino and Knebel witness a horrific scene that draws on real-life accounts of what was done to Mussolini’s body after his death. Once again, the novel shows the moral messiness of war. Though Mussolini was a fascist and a tyrant, the actions of the Milanese people are also difficult to stomach and hard to morally justify.
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Both Pino and Knebel are horrified by what they see and quickly leave. The two men walk away and end up outside the Beltramini shop where they find Carletto. Knebel asks Pino and Carletto if they will perform a dangerous task to help America. Both agree to help. Knebel tells them to come to the Hotel Diana early in the morning two days later and he will give them the details of their mission.
Although the war is almost over, there is still one more mysterious task for Pino and Carletto to complete. Both men feel like they need the job. Pino needs something to distract himself and Carletto wants to serve his country after feeling as though he sat out the war.
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