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If on a winter's night a traveler

If on a winter's night a traveler


by Italo Calvino

Guide Mentor

Character Role Analysis

Professor Uzzi-Tuzii, Mr. Cavedagna, Silas Flannery

Since you (the character) are in desperate need of guidance, and since everyone in this book seems to have a grand opinion about life, there are several people who emerge as would-be mentors.

• Professor Uzzi-Tuzii attempts to teach you about the great void that lurks behind all literature, but only until he gets himself humiliated in a debate with an academic colleague.
• Mr. Cavedagna also tries to explain Ermes Marana's plot and give you the reading material you seek, but he fails in this job as well.
• And Flannery… Well, Flannery's undergoing a spiritual crisis, and while his diary contains many significant insights into your journey, he's not really stable enough to be considered a good mentor.

What you have in this book are a bunch of figures who seem promising at first, but then fail in their role as guides. Mean but true.