Pelagia stops taking pride in being Greek. She sees Drosoula mistreated for being a widow and herself scorned as a witch for trying to heal. She pretends that she's Italian and raises Antonia to speak Italian. Right after the civil war, Pelagia buys a radio that only picks up Italian stations and listens to it every chance she gets. She often waits to hear the songs that La Scala used to sing. One afternoon she feels she catches the final bars of "Pelagia's March," but reasons that it's impossible since Corelli is dead.
Pelagia's decision to act like an Italian shows her attempting to lean on anything that will allow her to escape from the horrors of the Greek Civil War. Remember that in much of Dr. Iannis's history he talks only about the invaders of the Greek islands. This suggests that Pelagia was raised believing her own people weren't going to turn on her.
One morning, Pelagia is in awe when she finds the water at the top of the well, though it quickly disappears. Dr. Iannis discovers his screwdriver is suddenly magnetic, and Antonia finds hedgehogs, owls, and other animals in plain sight outside. Dogs bay, things inexplicably fall over, and Drosoula feels ill. Antonia also suffers a headache but laughs as the cat races around. Antonia bursts into tears, cries that she has to get out, and runs outside. Suddenly, the earth starts to plunge and shake. Dr. Iannis yells for Pelagia and Drosoula to get out and they struggle for the door. They reach the door as the roof caves in.
The lead-up to the earthquake suggests that people shouldn't necessarily trust strange happenings to be benign; the possibility of easy water or seeing elusive wild animals is likely a clue that something horrible is about to happen. When Dr. Iannis yells for Drosoula and Pelagia to get out of the house and seems to not save himself, it shows that his final act is to make sure that his family will go on to be able to care for each other.
Drosoula and Pelagia watch the olive tree split in half and boulders start to roll down the hill. Everything falls silent. The priest runs through the streets cursing God, but another aftershock strikes. Finally, Drosoula, Pelagia, and Antonia stand outside and look at what's left of the house. Dr. Iannis is crushed inside.
The earthquake throws the war into perspective: while humans can certainly fight for power, the earth will always be able to put them in their place by displaying its own capacity to bring death and destruction.