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ⓘ The Lady of the Wheel is a 2012 historical fiction novel by Sicilian American author Angelo F. Coniglio. The book follows the life of a girl who was abandoned a ..



The Lady of the Wheel
                                     

ⓘ The Lady of the Wheel

The Lady of the Wheel is a 2012 historical fiction novel by Sicilian American author Angelo F. Coniglio. The book follows the life of a girl who was abandoned as an infant, with the major themes of the book including poverty, exploitation and family values. Coniglios work has been compared to the verismo of Sicilian author Giovanni Verga.

                                     

1. Plot summary

A mother abandons an infant girl, placing her inside a foundling wheel to be cared for in a foundling home, and the womans husband gives up a young son as a carusu, a virtual slave in a sulfur mine; both actions intended to help the remaining family to survive in poverty-stricken Racalmuto, in late-1800s Sicily. It was common for families to give up their boys at the age of five as carusi, selling them to the mining company for life for a small price, and the parents treat it matter-of-factly as a regrettable but unavoidable decision. The plot follows the girls life as a foundling, and her brothers labors in the mine, working ten-hour days in hellish conditions, and their interactions with family and co-workers. As plot devices, the author includes examples of Napoleon-inspired recording of civil documents, and describes the Sicilian conventions for selecting the given names of a familys children.

                                     

2. Characters

  • Rosa Esposto - the protagonist, an abandoned child
  • Antonino Nino Alessi- Rosas father, a pick-man in a sulfur mine
  • Pietro Petruzzu Castiglione - the son of the mayor of Racalmuto
  • Anna di Marco - la Ruotaia, the receiver of abandoned infants left in the towns foundling wheel
  • Salvatore Toto Alessi - Rosas eldest brother, a "carusu" or mine-boy in a sulfur mine
  • Gaetano Tanuzzu Alessi - another brother of Rosas
  • Maria Rizzo - Rosas mother
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