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I’m Not Scared
Character Profiles and Analysis
Michele - Overview
 Protagonist – we see the events of the book through
Michele’s eyes.
 Due to his young age, and his innocence, there are often gaps
between what he understands and what the reader
 Overall, he is the moral backbone of the novel.
Michele - Loyalty
Michele is very loyal and the novel highlights the tension between
these loyalties.
He is loyal to:
Parents – constant excuses and sympathy for their blatant
Maria – acts as the Big Brother figure
Filippo – he can’t leave him alone, especially after he promises he’ll
come back
His innately loyal nature is why he compares himself to Judas when he
betrays Filippo to Salvatore.
Michele - Compassion
Michele displays compassion to those he considers vulnerable.
For example,
- Returning to help his sister during the race up the hill, despite
fear of being last (p.4)
- Overcoming his initial revulsion of Filippo (p.112)
- Ignores his pain to get Filippo out of the hole (p.212)
- The desire to tell Filippo that his mother loves him (p.95)
Michele - Morality
Unlike the adults (and some of the children), Michele maintains a
strong sense of personal integrity and justice.
For example:
- Completes the forfeit in place of Barbara as an act of chivalry
“There was something dirty, something...I don’t know. Something nasty
that’s all. And I didn’t like my sister being there.” (p. 19)
Michele - Imaginative
Michele has an active imagination that informs his perceptions
of the world.
He creates narratives by infusing fantasy with reality.
His imagination is the thing that both fuels and eases his fears.
For example:
- Uses mythical creatures, such as Tiger Jack and the monsters
entering the bus, to overcome his fears (p.114-115)
- Uses analogies to explain situations, cat cruelly taunting the
lizard (p.184)
Michele - Courageous
Michele has very little confidence in himself yet will always stand
up against his fear, not only to protect himself but other people
For example:
- Standing up for Barbara in the forfeit, despite being afraid of
Skull (p.20)
- Compares himself to Tiger Jack (p.44-45)
- Michele defends his mother and throws himself at Felice to
protect her (p.152)
- Michele sneaks out to find Filippo when he knows they are
coming to murder him (p.195)
- He tells his father to “run for it”, even though he is shot and dying
in the hole (p.215)
Michele - Innocence
Michele’s innocent nature is most striking when looking at how he
deals with his fears, and the reference points he uses to understand
At first he was afraid of ogres and witches, explaining that the boy was
down the hole because “he had been caught by an ogre” (p.39).
The form of his shape and fears is fantasy but his ability to sense the
presence of evil is not.
As he is confronted with ever-increasing traumatic situations from the
adult world, he slowly begins to accept the horrible truth that
“monsters don’t exist...It’s men you should be afraid of, not
monsters...” (p.49)
Michele- Innocence (cont.)
For example:
- In the beginning he is too young to understand kidnapping or
grasp the implications. However, he is later afraid that Sergio
will “take me away” (p.94). This shows he has an instinctual
- Originally viewed Filippos as a prize (p.29)
- Michele believed Filippo was being tortured by witches and
ogres (p.56)
- Admits to being naive as to why Barbara was always picked on:
“I don’t know but even then I knew that someone always gets
the bad luck” (p.18)
Michele – Innocence (cont.)
- Makes up story about the half-brother to excuse his father’s
involvement (p.67)
- Consequences are centred on parental discipline. He wanted to
save Filippo from being shot but needed to get home before his
parents found him missing (p.207)
- Material possessions, in the beginning, were highly valued: for
example, Subbuteo team (p. 131-132). His rejection of the Red
Dragon bike at the end indicates a shift in his values and
perspectives (p.163-165)
- His reference-points to explain situations are very child-like, for
example, when Sergio threatens Felice he describes it as being
like ‘one-two-three-star’ (p.194)
Michele – Intelligent and Perceptive
Michele has the ability to use knowledge from other situations to
quickly come upon a conclusion. He uses this intelligence to
calm his fears.
For example:
- While doing the forfeit, he overcomes his fear by remembering
from a book that lizards use perfect weight distribution to climb
walls (p.25)
- Draws the link between the saucepan in the house and his own
- While searching for Filippo, he uses his knowledge of the owl to
discover him (p. 207)
- Notices specifics of how Filippo is being treated poorly (p.108)
Pino (Papa) - Overview
 He’s the ‘boss’ of Acqua Traverse but is eventually shown to be
an incompetent criminal – a big fish in a small pond.
 As a truck driver he’s often away from his family, leaving him
quite disconnected from his children
 He is not inherently evil but a victim of his own incompetence
and greed
 Towards the end he becomes a somewhat pitiable and pathetic
creature, indicative of when he loses Soldier’s Draw.
Pino – Cruelty
While Pino isn’t as openly violent and aggressive as certain
characters, his role in the kidnapping still shows his cruel nature.
He believes that the downfall of others will lead to the fulfilment of
his own goals and ambitions.
For example:
- He is merciless, actively seeking revenge. Papa made the scissors
sign with his fingers. “Two ears. We’ll cut off two” (p.86)
- Michele’s adoration begins to wain when he connects his father
with the treatment of Filippo. “Papa was the bogeyman” (p.87)
Pino – Emotional Manipulator
Pino plays on the emotions and fears of others. Throughout the
novel, he shows that he gets what he wants by toying and playing
with the emotions of others.
To him, people are just pawns to be played.
For example:
- Places the safety of Filippo on Michele’s head, saying that “they”
will shoot Filippo and that it would be Michele’s fault (p.156)
- Threatens that if Michele went back, he would be breaking his
father’s oath (p.156)
- Tries to justify his actions by saying that “the world’s wrong”,
thereby shifting the guilt and ultimate blame (p.157)
Pino – Emotional Manipulator (cont)
- Uses gifts as a way of communicating and ‘buying’ actions. eg
The Red Dragon to distract Michele from Filippo (p.163).
- Distorts the truth, often giving vague and fake promises. And
provides misleading answers to questions, eg “they’ll shoot
him” (p.156)
Teresa (Mother) - Overview
 Stereotypical Italian housewife.
 Unquestioningly devoted to her husband
 Concerns herself with her children’s physical needs (food, safety)
but is almost blind to their emotional needs
 She lacks any curiosity or concern about Michele’s contact with
 It’s interesting that as a mother, she lacks any maternal
connection to the child they are torturing
Teresa - Powerless
Teresa is weak and powerless to the evil occurring in Acqua
For example:
- When the adults are becoming irrational and making rash
decisions, all she could do was sit and repeat to herself “Be quiet”
- She was able to do things in the background but remembered to
do trivial things like turning off lights and housewife duties
- She would attend to her children without being needed for
discussion (p.188-191).
Filippo - Overview
 The 9 year-old kidnap victim
 The son of Lombard businessman Giovanni Carducci
 His mother describes him as “a good boy, polite, very shy”
 The adults have dehumanised him, seeing him as nothing more
than a bargaining chip
Filippo – Traumatised and Abused
Filippo is both mentally and physically abused to the point where he
becomes almost a shell of the person he once was.
- “I couldn’t see him clearly. It was dark and full of flies and the
sickening smell welled up” (p.45)
- He is incredibly vulnerable. There are scabs on his eyes, he’s
naked, won’t come out of his blanket, hasn’t eaten.
- “The dead boys skin was dirty and caked with mud and shit. He
was naked” (p. 46)
- He’s become scared of physical closeness, due to being hit and
the conditions he’s in: “As soon as he felt I was near him, he
cowered against the wall” (p.72)
Filippo – Traumatised and Abused (cont.)
He is traumatised and lost a sense of reality:
- “Outside there’s no air. Outside I’ll suffocate” (139)
- “the world’s a place full of holes” (110)
- He thinks his family is dead (109)
- He is obsessed with the wash bears (p.74)
- He creates labels / characters to describe the people in his
life, such as Lord of the Worms and Guardian Angel (p.74)
Felice - Overview
 A sadistic and cruel bully who targets children
 Skull’s 20 year-old brother
 A “tormented soul”, a loner because of his anti-social behaviour
 He had left Acqua Traverse – Michele instinctually knew Felice
was involved
 Felice’s innate immorality and violence is alluded to when the
way he looks at Teresa changes after intimate parts of her body
are exposed
Felice - Contradictory
Felice’s nature is quite contradictory – containing both elements of
‘strong’ (aggressive) and ‘weak’ (vulnerable) characteristics.
For example:
- Punches Sergio in the face (p. 192-193)
- Viciously attacks Teresa (p.151-152)
- Treats Filippo poorly, who he threatens to “ a worm”
- After the fight with Teresa, runs away from Papa (p. 152)
- Not being able to kill Filippo, despite all the talk (p.193)
- Sheds a tear when Sergio tries to bully him into killing (p.194)
Sergio - Overview
 Represents the ‘North’
 He has a strong sense of arrogance and superiority over the
 He comes to the South to ‘sort out the mess’ that the villagers
have made.
Sergio – Evil
There are several indications in the novel that show Sergio as a man to
be feared.
For example:
- Believing that his son’s wife was responsible for his death, he says he
dealt with it - “That bitch paid for it” (p.118)
- Fighting escalates from a fist-fight to weaponry. He takes it up a
level (p.193)
- Treats others with little respect in the way he speaks to them, eg
calling the father an imbecile (p.84)
- The way he speaks to Michele, “are you quiet. I like quiet children”
- Lazy, monopolises situations, opportunistic – evident in his
description of Brazil (p.167)
The Gang
- Brute who doesn’t like to be told he’s wrong. Evident with
Milichetti’s pigs (p.10).
- Dominates everyone: “It’s nothing to do with you, shut up”.
- He’s sadistic and perverted, evident with the forfeit he asks of
Barbara (p.19)
- Quiet and follows orders around him to make others pleased “he was
brighter that Skull and could have easily deposed him” (p.3)
- Introverted, evident with the piano lessons (p.130-131)
- Comes from a wealthy family, mother’s obnoxious with their wealth
The Gang (cont.)
- Obnoxious; she is a sheep and falls easily into orders.
- Despite initial protests, she always does the forfeit, but finds
another way for revenge. For example, telling Milichetti what Skull
had said about his pigs (p.11)
- Asks Michele to be her boyfriend (p.98), which he recoils at, but is
still polite to her.
- He is in the background but goes along with the gang.
- Youngest. Tries to follow the gang but is only there because of
Teresa’s influence.
- Looks up to Michele, always wants to do what he’s doing.
Relationships: Michele and Papa
 Michele originally idolises his father. He thinks his father can
do no wrong. As the novel progresses, Michele is exposed to
the true nature of his father’s character.
 At first he tries to rationalise his father’s actions but he
eventually can’t deny the facts.
Relationships: Michele and Filippo
 It’s a relationship of familiarity – they are the same age,
same height.
 Michele originally sees Filippo as a prize he has won.
Later, his caring nature makes him feel obliged to help
 Michele becomes Filippo’s “guardian angel”
 Filippo becomes attached to Michele, eg when he won’t
leave him (p.213)
Relationships: Michele and Salvatore
 Best friends. Do whatever they feel is in the best
interests of each other or themselves.
 Salvatore betrays Michele for a driving lesson.
 Salvatore wins back Michele’s trust by helping him win
 Salvatore ends up helping Michele find Filippo
Relationships: Michele and Felice
 Don’t like each other.
 Felice bullies Michele.
 When Felice find Michele in the hole, he beats him.
 Michele fears Felice.
Relationships: The Family
 Patriarchal family – father is the head (disciplinarian,
breadwinner), mother housewife etc
 Family is quite disconnected because of Pino’s long trips. This
is a heavy burden on Teresa.
 The children idolise the parents. While the parents look after
the fundamentals of their children’s well-being, they take no
interest in their emotional happiness.
Relationships: The Adults
 The adults don’t trust each other and are very quick to turn
and point the finger of blame.
 Vate
 Insight
 11B Class 2010
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