Study Guide

The Leopard Chapter 5

By Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Chapter 5

  • Remember Father Pirrone? Well this chapter might as well be a side plot entitled, "The Totally Unrelated Adventures of Father Pirrone" because they don't have much to do with the rest of the book.
  • Father Pirrone leaves the Salinas to travel to his home village of San Cono. Once there, he hugs his mother and catches up on recent news. He's immediately transported back to his youth when he looks around his old house. Some old friends come over for dinner and he chats with them, finding that they haven't changed much.
  • One friend stays later than the others and asks Pirrone what Prince Fabrizio thinks of all the changes that have been going on in Sicily. Pirrone gives him a way more philosophical answer than he'd bargained for, one that delves into the mentality of Sicilian aristocrats (like Fabrizio's speech to Chevalley did in the previous chapter). Pirrone talks especially about how aristocrats take certain small things very seriously because they don't have any real problems to worry about.
  • Father Pirrone notices that his neighbor has fallen asleep during his speech, but he keeps talking because he feels like he needs to get things off his chest. He goes on about the generosity of the Salinas, which comes directly from the fact that they've never had to worry about money.
  • Eventually, Pirrone's mother comes in and tells him that his friend is asleep. Pirrone wakes him and walks him home.
  • The next day, Pirrone finds his sister Sarina crying in the kitchen. And it's not just because she's chopping onions. Turns out that she has an adolescent daughter named Angelina who has become pregnant with the child of her teenage lover. Sarina's husband is a notorious hothead, and Sarina is terrified that he'll murder their daughter out of honor if he finds out about the pregnancy. We're not sure how that counts as honor, but it seems to make sense to everyone in the book.
  • And here's the worst part of Angelina's story: the father of the child is Angelina's cousin, Santino. This story goes wayyyy back to Father Pirrone's father's generation. It turns out that that Sarina and Father Pirrone's family have a major beef with their uncle's side of the family because of some old property that went to one son and not another way back in the day. Sarina is convinced that Santino Pirrone got her daughter Angelina pregnant out of spite in order to ruin her. His father Turi (Father Pirrone's uncle) was probably the guy who put him up to it, because he's never gotten over losing his inheritance to Father Pirrone's dad. Although it's hard to imagine an old man ordering his son to go get his cousin pregnant, land or not.
  • Father Pirrone insists that Turi will force Santino to marry Angelina if they give him his half of the family inheritance as a dowry. Sarina doesn't want to, but she knows she has no choice.
  • Pirrone pays a visit to Turi and congratulates him on his son's engagement to Angelina. Turi calls his son into the house and yells at him, since he's heard nothing about any engagement. Neither has his son, apparently. Now we're really seeing Pirrone's sneaky side.
  • When Pirrone reveals that Turi is going to get his inheritance as part of the arrangement, Turi orders his son to go through with the marriage just as planned.
  • Pirrone gets back to his house and finds his brother-in-law Vincenzino (Angelina's father) home from a trip. He tells the man about the marriage. The guy is angry about losing half his land in the dowry, but Pirrone promises to hand over his own inheritance to help offset the cost. The tactic works, and two days later, Pirrone returns to Palermo knowing that he's saved his niece.