Beneath a Scarlet Sky


Mark Sullivan

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Beneath a Scarlet Sky: Chapter 34 Summary & Analysis

Pino decides not to shoot Leyers and the two of them return to the car. Before long, they get fired upon once again, this time by Germans. However, before Pino needs to do anything drastic, an American fighter pilot clears the way for him. After this exchange, Pino nears the rendezvous point. However, there is still one last hurdle left: Tito. On the road to their destination, Pino comes across Tito and six other men, all aiming weapons directly at their car.
Still, Pino’s dramatic journey is not over, as the last leg of his journey reads like an action movie. However, the story also contains dramatic weight as it ties up one of its last loose ends: Tito.
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Tito recognizes Pino and tells him that he plans to kill him. Tito comes up to the side of the car and Pino slams his door into him. In response, Carletto and Leyers open fire on the rest of Tito’s men. Leyers kills Tito and Carletto handles the rest of Tito’s men. After, Carletto is shocked by what he has done and starts to come apart at the seams. However, Pino comforts him by telling him he only did what was necessary. Additionally, Leyers tells Pino that now they are even.
Of all the major characters in Beneath a Scarlet Sky, Tito is one of the most repulsive. Yet even his death is not celebrated. Instead, the focus shifts to Carletto, who is traumatized by the act he’s just committed in order to save his own life. Additionally, Leyers sees this moment as him paying back the favor he owes Pino. This is important to Leyers, who likes to be the man who is owed something rather than the other way around.
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Finally, Leyers, Pino, and Carletto arrive at their destination: the Austrian border. There, they find American soldiers who are waiting to take Leyers. Pino asks the Americans why they would want to help someone like Leyers, but no one can give him a straight answer. Before Leyers departs, he shakes hands with Pino and whispers, “Now you understand, Observer.” Pino is stunned that Leyers knows his code name and wonders how much he has known all along. After Leyers departs, Carletto tells Pino that the war has ended. In response, Pino says to Carletto that, for him, the war will never end.
The final moments of the novel throw everything from the moment Pino met Leyers into question. How long did Leyers know the truth? Did Leyers take Pino to certain locations intentionally? Did Leyers act as he did to help the Allies or to save his own skin? Even if Leyers was helping the Allies all along, were his actions morally justified? None of these questions have easy answers, but they speak to the concerns at the heart of the novel regarding difficult moral decisions during wartime. Additionally, Pino’s final words speak to how much he’s suffered and how much he will continue to suffer because of what he’s been through.
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