Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

Want to experience jealousy in If on a winter's night a traveler? Just get a lady involved. Whether it's you (the character), Silas Flannery, or Ermes Marana, someone's always feeling the envies about a girl. And of course, jealously even rears its ugly head in a few of the fictional novels that Calvino puts out in his book. If one thing's for sure, it's that it's a guy thing. The desire to read and to somehow capture meaning is connected to the desire to capture or possess a woman sexually. Reading will never be the same again.

Questions About Jealousy

  1. In a nutshell, what possible connection can the book draw between your jealousy of other men in Ludmilla's life and the fact that she likes to read many books at once?
  2. How is your jealousy as a reader connected to Silas Flannery's jealousy as a writer, or more specifically, his jealousy toward the book that gives such great pleasure to the woman he watches through a spyglass?
  3. In what way is jealousy "a kind of game that you [play] with yourself" (13.53)? Is there something enjoyable about feeling jealous? In what way can jealousy in this book be considered as a form of lying to yourself?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In If on a winter's night a traveler, feelings of jealousy are deeply connected to the male Reader's desire to possess a woman and have her all to himself.

Jealousy shows a person's desire to get between someone else and his or her book; it's basically just anger about the fact that reading is like an inside joke, filled with private meanings and secrets.

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