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"Mothers like me? We should be burned alive. We should be fed to the pigs, mothers like me." This was the sound of an agitated mother, Pina (Brid Brennan) lamenting over her behavior in the society, which had made virtually everyone uncomfortable. The tale is about a mother and a father who had given physical attractions to each other priority over the responsibilities they had over their daughter, hence their inability to raise her into what the society expected. This they did ignoring all the teachings of the Bible and the church on the right ways to bring up their daughter, which led them to regret their daughter's disastrous behavior. According to her, she had failed in bringing her daughter up, in raising her to be what the society required. She had the chance to make her daughter a better person but she did not. She further regrets that her daughters love affairs had led her into tragedy, a result that she did not like at all and had not wished it would befall her daughter.
The story La Lupa by Giovanni Verga is a passionate tale that engages the reader in a passionate feeling concerning a woman who considers every man that she meets her potential conquest, a fact that has made the society uncomfortable over her love affairs which are almost affecting every member of the society. Even worse, she at one point finds it difficult to keep away from her daughter's husband and friend when she is attracted to him and takes him away from her daughter, an act that receives all-round condemnation in the society. This also brings unending differences and fight between her and her daughter that threatens to blow up into a tragedy. According to the story, she was a beautiful woman whom no man would resist and even the rest of the women knew this. She had taken away their husbands and sons and so her behaviour was increasingly unbearable. At the same time, Pina would not be stopped by anything to get what she wanted or desired, she was so determined to fulfill the desires of her heart at all costs and so this made her difficult to resist. In addition, the story presents Pina as a cunning woman who had no morals and was selfish enough not to care about anyone else except herself only. She would go to any length to get her desires fulfilled irrespective of the effect that such would have on others. This story portrays the unstable family ties existing in modern society as depicted by the relationship and the happenings between mother and daughter. Pina does not show the respect and responsibility that she should show her daughter as her mother and parent. This illustrates a decline in the family status that should be, a serious decline in the respect that should be maintained in a family.
According to Verga, "The women were the cross when they saw her go, only as a mutt, that going with stray and suspicious of the hungry wolf, she is more depleted their sons and their husbands in the blink of an eye, with her red lips, and if they pulled behind the skirt only to look at them with eyes of Satan, had been before the altar of St. Agrippina" (1). This was common knowledge to all and the people of Sicily knew it so well, that every man that she met was a potential conquest to her. Her name was Pina, a name that brought many different memories to the people of Sicily especially women, to many memories of danger, eminent trouble. She was able to lure any man with her beauty, the very asset that she had one that cost many their sons if not their husbands and so this had become a thorn in the flesh for the people of Sicily, the village of wolf. According to the story, "She was tall, thin, had only one breast to be firm and strong brown - and also was no longer young - she was pale as if he were always on malaria, and that two big eyes so pale, and lips red and fresh, you ate" (Verga and Lan 1). This is the same beauty that she uses to charm men into her lustrous desires. She never gets enough of them a fact that leads into her even desiring her daughter's husband. This is evident when she gets attracted to a young man.
In addition, she would not be stopped by anything to get what she wanted or desired, she was so determined to fulfill the desires of her heart at all costs and so this made her difficult for every man to resist. At one point, she even threatens to kill her daughter if she refuses to will "If you do not take it, I'll kill you!" (Verga and Lan 4). This shows her unquenchable determination in making sure that she gets whatever that she desires regardless of the consequences and so this makes her go all the way to satisfy her desires. Pina could stop at nothing to ensure that she gets everything that she desired. She is even not scared by death and she at one point dares her lover to kill her after an argument with him about whether she really needed him that much. In addition, despite the fact that she is a widow and approaching "horrible" old age, she still manages to go on with her promiscuousness. This shows her unending determination in making sure that she achieves her goals. In this regard, when she falls for her daughter's husband and friend despite the fact that he belongs to her daughter, this does not stop her and she goes ahead to get him. She even promises to give him everything her husband left just to win him. After disagreeing with her daughter over who should keep her husband, she is eventually thrown out of that household. However, this does not deter her, not when there is a whole village full of bachelors, ripe for plucking.
Finally, the story portrays a sharp decline in the family as the basic unit of a society through the happenings that bombard the family of Miss Pina and her only 'dear' daughter, Mara. According to the story, "Maricchia, poor, good, good girl, weeping in secret, because she was the daughter of the wolf, and no one would have taken a wife, although there had better stuff in his chest, and his good earth to the sun, like every other girl the village"(Verga and Lan 3). In this regard, there exists no respect at all in a family and instead there is a decline in the morals that should be upheld in a family and which should reflect the society and its system of beliefs. This is hardly the case among the people of Sicily in that there is no sign of respect at all in the family. A good example is seen when Pinna admires her daughter's husband who, as a result of the declining family values, gives in to her advances despite the fact that he had married her daughter. Similarly, being her mother, she is not able to take her responsibility and therefore this slowly creeps into the rest of the society since a family is understood to be the basic unit of every society.
In conclusion, the short story La Lupa" by Giovanni Verga's is a reflection of the life that goes on in the modern society. This reflects the declining levels of responsibility, affection and moral values. There exists a greedy and selfish brood of people just like Miss Pina who will not stop at anything to quench their evil desires. This negatively impacts on the values and belief systems of the society. People have been left to blame each other and so this has led into decay in the morals which should stitch a society together. The story is a wake up call towards the restoration of the very good in a society an understanding and institution of social welfare amongst the members of the society.