Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On his way to the kapheneia, Dr. Iannis runs into Lemoni again. She's prodding a dog with a stick and the dog can't seem to decide if it's a game. Dr. Iannis tiredly tells Lemoni to leave the dog alone and remembers extracting glass from the dog's paw a while ago. He thinks that his obsession with healing may be strange, but reasons it's at least constructive unlike the obsessions of Hitler or Mussolini. Lemoni declares that the pine marten should be called Psipsina, and won't listen that that's an inappropriate name--she insists she's not a lemon, and yet her name is Lemoni. Dr. Iannis says that when Lemoni was born, he wasn't sure whether she was a lemon or a baby. He leaves her looking very confused.
Remember that the name Psipsina is like the English Puss, which is why Dr. Iannis objects to the name. When he tells Lemoni this tall tale about her birth, it again shows that Dr. Iannis isn't exempt from attempting to dictate someone's reality--though he does it in jest and in a way that's relatively harmless, unlike Hitler and Mussolini. By drawing comparisons between his obsession for healing and the dictators' obsession with power, he also shows that he prioritizes humans over power or ideas.
Themes
Power, Reality, and Absurdity Theme Icon
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
At the kapheneia, Dr. Iannis sits next to Kokolios. They discuss the superiority of Cephalonia's water and Kokolios announces that when Lenin is in charge, they'll have the best life as well. Stamatis, who became suddenly aware of Kokolios's communism after the pea was extracted, curses. They exchange insults until Dr. Iannis interrupts and says that they all hold different political leanings, and yet they must care about people more than they care about the ideas. He even defends Father Arsenios when Kokolios deems him a parasite. He briefly pokes fun at Kokolios's communism before Kokolios asks about the war.
Dr. Iannis's insistence that they all must care for each other despite their differing politics again shows that what's most important is recognizing others' humanity, not clinging to one's ideals. It's also worth noting that all three men don't seem particularly enraged about the other's different politics; this is just the way that they connect. This also suggests that the focus on argument and arguing politics is something uniquely Greek.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Dr. Iannis gives a brief rundown of what the countries involved in the war are up to and then suggests they turn on the radio. They hear about an Albanian revolt against the Italian occupation but they're interrupted by Pelagia at the door. She asks her father to come home; Mandras fell out of the olive tree and has shards of pottery in his backside. Dr. Iannis grudgingly returns home, forbids Pelagia from watching the operation, and wonders how Pelagia could've possibly fallen for someone like Mandras.
The fact that Dr. Iannis returns home to care for Mandras without question again reinforces that as far as he's concerned, people are more important than politics. For him, politics will always be there, while something like Mandras's injuries require immediate attention in order for him to live and be comfortable.
Themes
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
Family, Opportunity, and Gender Dynamics Theme Icon
Dr. Iannis tells Mandras he's an idiot and asks if he's going to ask Pelagia to marry him. He insists that he's not providing a dowry, and Mandras says he's not ready to ask anyway--the war is coming and he doesn't want to leave a widow. Six hours later, after napping, chasing the goat, and feeding Psipsina, Dr. Iannis returns to the kapheneia. He knows something is wrong as soon as he enters; both Stamatis and Kokolios are crying and Father Arsenios is preaching outside. Kokolios explains that the Italians just sank the Elli and torpedoed a wharf, just as pilgrims were observing the icons at the local church. Everyone agrees when Dr. Iannis suggests they all go to the church.
When everyone agrees with Dr. Iannis to go to church, it reinforces that arguing about politics is the way that these men connect with each other. Underneath the gruff and argumentative exteriors, the men genuinely care for each other and for their country, no matter how it's governed. Similarly, Mandras's desire to not marry Pelagia yet as to not leave a widow shows that at this point, he recognizes her as a person and is willing to prioritize her future over his own desires.
Themes
War: Horror, Beauty, and Humanity Theme Icon
Politics and Friendship Theme Icon
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