Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Pelagia hauls a jar of water into the house. She's finally feeling strong and whole again. She stops abruptly when she finds a strange, stinking man at the table. She's terrified and tells him that Dr. Iannis is out. The man says he's glad she's happy and says he'll never be warm again. His voice is phlegmy and he sounds sick. The man continues to ramble on about being cold in the mountains and when Pelagia asks him to leave, he says he has no boots. Psipsina comes inside, races to the man, and finds a scrap of cheese in his pocket. Pelagia realizes the man is Mandras.
Mandras's state shows that even if the Greeks were winning in the mountains where Carlo and Francisco were, it was still a gruesome experience for them. The fact that Pelagia fears Mandras right now indicates that she's somewhat unwilling to see him as Mandras because of his appearance; in other words, she's dehumanizing him out of fear.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Mandras asks Pelagia for coffee and says he stinks. Pelagia feels helpless and accuses Mandras of not writing. He admits he can't write or read, but pulls out the letters and asks her to read them to him. Pelagia is horrified--Mandras doesn't know how cold her letters became at the end. He admits he thought only of Pelagia at all times and begins to cry. Pelagia puts her hands on his shoulders and discovers he's bony and infested with lice.
Pelagia's fear that Mandras will have to find out now that she's falling out of love with him indicates that she still knows that Mandras has a great deal of power over her and in his state, might be more willing to use it. He, on the other hand, has become even more in love with her thanks to the horrors of the war.
Themes
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon