If on a winter's night a traveler
by Italo Calvino
If on a winter's night a traveler Theme of Gender
The men in If on a winter's night a traveler love them some sexy women. The dynamic of male desire for a female sex object is actually present in every one of the ten phony first chapters Calvino writes into his book. And as a matter of fact, they become increasingly explicit and aggressive as the novel goes on. There's no question about it: for Calvino, there's a major connection between the pleasure of reading and the pleasure guys get from chasing women.
Questions About Gender
- Do you think that Calvino gives a fair portrayal of women in this book? Why do you think he chose to have only male protagonists for all ten of his fictional novels?
- Do you feel like you have a good general idea of what kind of person Ludmilla is, based on what the book gives you?
- Is Calvino's overall depiction of Lotaria, the angry feminist, downright sexist? Why or why not?
- What connection do you see between the male desire to possess and penetrate women, and the Reader's desire to have a final and definitive ending to a book? How is a sense of closure connected to both of them?
Chew on This
Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler, both through its general depiction of women and specific depiction of Lotaria, is a sexist book.
In this book, the Reader's final scene with Ludmilla shows that the man has overcome his desire to possess women and books as objects.