The story ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ revolves around two boys named Nicola and Jacopo who do odd jobs to earn money only to pay for their sister’s treatment who suffers from tuberculosis of the spine. A.J. Cronin has very well carved the idea of ‘selfless help’ and explained the importance of dedication towards relationships in the story.
This is a story of the strong determination and courage of two young boys of a tender age. It is the story of two young boys, who defying all challenges thrown up by adversity; face life with immense courage and fortitude. Right from the outskirts of Verona to the heart of the town they go all over with grace and dignity. Considering no work to be menial, these young boys with gentlemen-like qualities go about performing all jobs with a great sense of integrity. The story deals with the theme that it is not the span of years but the strength of character that lends finesse to the texture of life. Focusing one’s attention to the solution rather than the problem helps one get over the most challenging hardships of life.
The elder of the two brothers, Nicola is a loving, caring and responsible boy. This diligent boy takes upon himself the task of getting his sister treated for tuberculosis and also showers motherly love and care on his brother. He often lets his little brother sleep while he sells newspapers late at night. He had bitter experiences in the war but his spirit was not broken rather it has infused in him a rebellious spirit. He bears hardships and never indulges in self- pity. He does not want sympathy and keeps his problems as a guarded secret. Though deprived of all protection and guidance Nicola takes life in his stride and devotes himself to his work with such a great sense of devotion that even a stranger can see his gentleman like qualities.
Shabbily dressed like Nicola, Jacopo is the younger of the two brothers. He has almost the same qualities as his elder brother. However, this 12 year old lad is full of life. The narrator found him to be as ‘lively as a squirrel’. He has an air of seriousness too, which is way beyond his years. But he is childish and quite artless at times. Probably, it’s his honest innocence that makes him seek a favour from the narrator. This small little parentless child is as lovable as he is loving.
The narrator is a man of keen observation. Sensitive to the world around him, he tries to see beyond the apparent and identify others joys and sorrows. Though inquisitive, he doesn’t have a nosey nature. His helping attitude and friendly nature brings him closer to the two orphaned children. He admires the gentleman like qualities of these shabbily dressed boys. Considerate and kind-hearted, he drives them all the way to Poleta, thirty kilometers from Verona. A thorough gentleman himself, he never wants to intrude into the privacy of Nicola and Jacopo. Hence even after learning about their tuberculosis-ridden sister’s story, he doesn’t utter a word and gives them the pleasure that they had succeeded in keeping their secret.
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