The scarlet sky symbolizes the oppressive nature of living under Nazism. Despite appearing in the title of the book, the phrase “the scarlet, threatening sky” only appears once in the novel itself. In the first chapter, Pino, Mimo, and Carletto, stroll around Milan. Meanwhile, a storm rolls in, and in the distance, the sky looks scarlet. Notably, scarlet (along with black) is the color most associated with Nazi imagery, including most iterations of the swastika. In other words, the storm in Chapter 1 is being compared to the Nazi occupation of Italy. Throughout the first half of the novel, the Nazis steadily take over Milan and assert their rule over its citizens. Like the storm, they come on gradually and make everyone and everything around them bend to their will. The sky half of the symbol is also important. It illustrates the all-encompassing nature of the Nazi’s rule; like the sky, the Nazis in the novel are everywhere and impossible to escape.
The Scarlet Sky Quotes in Beneath a Scarlet Sky
“I am going to meet a beautiful girl today,” Pino said, wagging his finger at the scarlet, threatening sky. “And we are going to fall in mad, tragic love and go on grand adventures with music and food and wine and intrigue every day, all day long.”