Plot summary[ edit ] The novel is set during the Allied occupation of the fictional Italian coastal town of Adano based on the real city of Licata. The main character, Major Victor Joppolo, is the temporary administrator of the town during the occupation and is often referred to by the people of Adano as Mister Major. Joppolo is an idealistic Italian-American who wants to bring justice and compassion to Adano, which has been hardened by the authoritarian Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. When Major Joppolo arrives at Adano, he immediately asks the people of the town what they need the most. The first spokesman of the town tells Joppolo that they are in great need of food for some people have not eaten in days.
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Plot summary[ edit ] The novel is set during the Allied occupation of the fictional Italian coastal town of Adano based on the real city of Licata. The main character, Major Victor Joppolo, is the temporary administrator of the town during the occupation and is often referred to by the people of Adano as Mister Major.
Joppolo is an idealistic Italian-American who wants to bring justice and compassion to Adano, which has been hardened by the authoritarian Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. When Major Joppolo arrives at Adano, he immediately asks the people of the town what they need the most. The first spokesman of the town tells Joppolo that they are in great need of food for some people have not eaten in days.
Joppolo is touched by the story of a year-old bell that was taken away from the town by the Fascists. Mussolini had ordered that the bell be removed from the town and be melted to make weapons for the war. The people were greatly attached to the bell. To them, the bell was a source of pride and unity. Joppolo immediately sees the importance of the bell and makes persistent attempts to locate the bell.
In addition to finding the bell, Joppolo spends time trying to supply the town with food and other necessities. He soon discovers that the town has no fish because the fishermen have not gone out in months. Joppolo tells Tomasino that he will not have to pay any bribes or extra taxes to the Americans for fishing. At first, Tomasino is convinced that Joppolo is lying to him and that it is some sort of cruel trick. Tomasino hates persons of authority because he believes that they are all power-hungry and corrupt.
Joppolo is faced with another problem in which he had to countermand the order of General Marvin in order to do what was best for the town. General Marvin is an army general who happens to pass through Adano. All day his armored car has been slowed down by mule carts that are blocking the road. Finally, on the road to Adano, he loses his temper and orders that his men shoot a mule that refuses to move from the center of the road.
When General Marvin arrived at Adano, he orders Major Joppolo to keep all mule carts out of the town. Joppolo is disheartened but complies with the order.
Immediately, he calls for a meeting with all the officials of the town and tells them of the new order, but also that he is prepared to find a solution. Later in the novel, Joppolo gains the admiration of Lieutenant Livingston, who invites Joppolo to come have a drink with some of his navy buddies. The arrival of the bell to the town coincides with a party that the town is hosting for Joppolo to express their gratitude for all of his great doings.
Although the bell has arrived at the town, the engineers say that it will take them until the next morning to install it. Sergeant Borth tells Joppolo that he has been relieved from duty while they are at the party and hands Joppolo the order.
The next morning, Joppolo leaves Adano, but does not say goodbye to anyone because he does not think he could. As the jeep is driving away, he tells the driver to stop for a moment. They hear the clear sound of a loud bell.
Characters[ edit ] Major Victor Joppolo: The protagonist of the story, is the interim mayor of the Italian coastal town of Adano. He orders that all carts stay out of Adano and relieves Major Joppolo of his position when he discovers that the major countermanded his order. Tina: The daughter of Tomasino, Major Joppolo develops an affinity for her over the course of the novel, even though it may be because she wants the major to find out whether her sweetheart is still alive. Tomasino: The leader of the fishermen.
Tomasino, though skeptical at first, is thrilled when Major Joppolo allows him and his men to go out and fish. Cacopardo: A rich man, he owns the sulfur refinery of Adano. His chiasmus seen throughout the book: "Cacopardo is sulphur and sulphur is Cacopardo. Gargano: Chief of the police in Adano.
Mayor Nasta: Former fascist mayor of Adano, he comes back to the town and is ridiculed by all. The novel achieved huge popularity and was hailed as a classic war novel. Many[ who? The book is rich in characterization, and it is recognized[ by whom? Another possible reason it was so well received was that the novel portrays the American army in a positive light and shows how democracy is inherently superior to Fascism.
At the conclusion of World War II , the American people were anxious to believe that they had made the right decision to go to war, and then to occupy Italy. John Hersey visited Toscani for four or five days during the war and created Victor Joppolo from him, noting that he held a job as a civilian clerk in the New York City Sanitation Department.
A Bell for Adano
A BELL FOR ADANO (1945) - Film in het Nederlands