Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Pelagia sits in the privy, she watches the clouds and thinks of them as spies who saw her kissing Mandras. She notices that her period is due soon and thinks of a poor young girl who was never told about menstruation--she thought she had a secret disease when she started bleeding and committed suicide. As Mandras loads nets onto his boat, he hopes for a good day in which he can catch fish for Dr. Iannis and Pelagia. He imagines his conversations with Dr. Iannis later and thinks about touching Pelagia's foot with his own under the table, and thinks it'll hurt if he gets saltwater on the cuts in his backside.
The story about the poor young girl shows the dire consequences of not giving women the tools to think or know things. Her suicide could've been easily prevented if someone had explained menstruation to her and not created the environment in which she was able to keep such a secret. This illustrates the dire consequences of denying women knowledge.
Themes
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
Later, as Pelagia draws water from the well, she thinks that Dr. Iannis believes that Mandras will always have terracotta specks on his backside. She thinks of how magnificent Mandras's backside is and is glad that nobody can read her thoughts. She reasons, though, that all women are like this--when the men are at the kapheneia, the women talk about the men's penises. Pelagia thinks it's stupid that women have to carry water when men are stronger, and feels ready to kill her father for denying her a dowry. He believes it's obscene to treat women like property, but Pelagia thinks she can't possibly go to Mandras's house with only clothes and her goat.
Pelagia shows here that she places a great deal of importance on tradition, even if it doesn't necessarily elevate her position as a woman. As far as she's concerned, a dowry will actually make her more powerful in her married home, not less. This situation does show, however, that Dr. Iannis has a great dal of power over Pelagia, even if he doesn't abuse it like Stamatis abuses his power over his wife.
Themes
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
When Mandras rows out of the harbor, he sings a song to call the dolphins. He wonders what people will say about Dr. Iannis not providing a dowry. Mandras thinks that he likes Pelagia, but he can't be himself around her: he's very serious, but he does stupid things to impress her. He believes women aren't interested in politics. Mandras thinks that he won't be a real man until he's done something important, and this is why he wants the war to come so he can prove himself. His dolphin friends Kosmas, Nionios, and Krystal arrive, so Mandras strips and jumps into the water with them.
It's certainly a red flag that Mandras doesn't feel like he can be himself around Pelagia, as it opens the door for him to either become dissatisfied with her or to try to become someone else. This shows how, when one's relationships aren't entirely solid, it can begin to push someone towards leaning more heavily on their politics or, in this case, the war to gain a sense of purpose.
Themes
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
As Pelagia naps, she grouses that it's too hot. Psipsina settles herself on Pelagia's chest, making her even hotter. Pelagia thinks of Dr. Iannis saying that Mandras had a backside like a classical statue and wonders when he'll ask her to marry. She admits that she has doubts about him, as he's not very serious. Pelagia doesn't want there to be a war and admits she's tired of Mandras's fish.
Pelagia's assessment of Mandras as not being very serious begins to expose the cracks in their relationship for the reader, as neither one is entirely happy with the other. However, because of the impending war, it means that both of them are forced to put their true feelings aside.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
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Mandras mends his nets and thinks of the war. Father Arsenios helped Mandras get the paperwork together to join the army. He vows to ask Pelagia to marry him before he leaves, and thinks that he'll fight for Pelagia as much as Greece.
The fact that Father Arsenios helped Mandras with his paperwork is a clue that Mandras isn't as educated as Pelagia might assume.
Themes
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Pelagia takes bread from the communal oven and wonders where Mandras is. She promises she won't give her fish to Psipsina if Mandras comes for dinner.
Pelagia's promise to not give her fish away shows that even as a relatively empowered woman, she's still powerless to dictate when Mandras shows up.
Themes
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon