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Analysis

Literary Devices in If on a winter's night a traveler

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Buckle your seatbelt because your travels in If on a winter's night a traveler will take you to a chalet in Switzerland, then to South America, and then to an unnamed city that could be, well, anyw...

Narrator Point of View

If you didn't notice the shift between third-, second-, and first-person narration, well, you didn't read the book. The third-person narrator likes to butt into your reading to guide you through th...

Genre

If you thought Calvino was just being careless with all the fragmentation in plot and narration, you're just flat-out wrong. This guy—just like his trickster character, Ermes Marana—knew exactl...

Tone

In a piece for the New Yorker, John Updike described how Calvino "manages to charm and entertain the reader in the teeth of a scheme designed to frustrate all reasonable readerly expectations" (sou...

Writing Style

You know you're going to get some crazy language in a book that's all about experimentation. And sure enough, Calvino seems to enjoy showing off his writing agility, moving from short, punchy passa...

What's Up With the Title?

If you've read to the end, you'll know that If on a winter's night a traveler unfolds into a longer sentence made of other book titles. That's why it's in sentence case, without all the normal capi...

What's Up With the Ending?

Now you are man and wife, Reader and Reader. A great double bed receives your parallel readings.Ludmilla closes her book, turns off her light, puts her head back against the pillow, and says, "Turn...

Tough-o-Meter

No doubt about it. If on a winter's night a traveler is not your normal, straightforward story. It might take a good long pause to step back and realize what Calvino is doing—jumping from second-...

Plot Analysis

What the…?As far as initial situations go, this book is about as literal as it gets. The narrator actually introduces you to the story by saying that you (yes, you) are about to sit down and read...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

In Calvino's metaworld, the book literally makes a call on "you" when you sit down to read Italo Calvino's novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Your quest to continue reading this book is endl...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

You realize that "you" are the main character of this book (which is weird); then you go to the bookstore to look for If on a winter's night a traveler (which you are reading), and find out there's...

Trivia

Hey there! Wanna write a classic piece of literature? You might want to check out Italo Calvino's "14 Definitions of What Makes a Classic."  If you miss one, at least there are 13 more you can...

Steaminess Rating

Don't let the philosophical discussions and bookish nerdery fool you. There's quite a lot of sex in this book, and it gets increasingly aggressive as the story unfolds. Check out the concluding sce...

Allusions

While If on a winter's night a traveler draws from many of the philosophical trends that were popular during the time of his writing, the book itself is pretty insular, meaning that its references...
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