Back to: Karnataka Board Class 11th English Guide and Notes
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“Two Gentlemen of Verona” is a poignant yet heartening narrative about two young lads who, despite their youth, take life earnestly and with dignity. When their economic condition is bad, they undertake odd jobs to make ends meet. The boys are very enthusiastic about life. As the writer becomes increasingly interested in learning more about these passionate lads, he uncovers an even more intriguing narrative about their motivation. Lucia, their sister, is a tuberculosis patient at the hospital. The young boys, Jacopo and Nicola, show maturity above their years in their work, conduct, and mindset.
About the Author
Archibald Joseph Cronin was born on July 19, 1896, in Cardross, Dumbartonshire, Scotland. He was a Scottish author and physician whose writings blending realism and social critique drew a significant Anglo-American audience.
Anything For A Living!
On the outskirts of Verona, two little boys drew the narrator’s attention. They were selling strawberries that had been picked from the wild. Nicola, the older brother, was thirteen, and Jacopo, the younger brother, was almost twelve. Both were dressed in tatters. The author felt a very peculiar attraction to them. He was moved by the sincerity in their gaze. His chauffeur, Luigi, cautioned him not to buy strawberries from the boys, saying that they were shabby and that he might get fresher strawberries elsewhere, but the narrator went ahead and purchased them anyway.
The narrator noticed both brothers kneeling over shoe polish boxes in the public square the next morning. They were making a lot of money. They didn’t just pick fruits for a living, they also did a variety of other jobs.
They frequently took tourists on sightseeing throughout the town, including Juliet’s tomb and other interesting and historically important places. Their services came in handy for the narrator and his driver, Luigi. They could but anything, be it tickets to the opera or a packet of American cigarettes. They were known for fulfilling their commitments. To earn money, they cleaned shoes, sold fruits, vended newspapers, escorted visitors about the city, and did a number of odd jobs for others.
The narrator noticed both the boys sleeping on the pavement late one night. Jacopo’s head leaned on his older brother’s lap. He was dozing off. It was almost twelve o’clock. They were waiting for the final bus from Padua, so that they could sell newspaper to the passengers getting of the bus. The narrator assumed that they must be making a lot of money. They worked for so long, ate so little and didn’t spend any money on garments. The narrator speculated that they were putting money aside to relocate to America. The boys, on the other hand, had different ‘plans.’
The Author’s Kind Offer
On Monday, the author was scheduled to leave Verona. Before departing, he wondered if he could help the brothers in any way. Every Sunday, Jacopo said, they went to Poleta, 30 kilometres away, for a visit to the country. They usually rented bicycles to get there. They asked whether he could give them a ride, and the narrator agreed. The narrator insisted that he would drive them out personally because Luigi had taken the day off. They drove to the small scenic village the next afternoon. They pulled over at a massive red-roofed villa. They promised that they will return in an hour. The boys entered the building and immediately disappeared. The author tries to follow them.
The author found a grilled entrance. He was curious to find out what’s beyond, so he rang the bell. In the white uniform of a professional nurse, a pleasant-looking young woman arrived. She escorted him to the hospital. She halted in front of a small cubicle’s door. She requested that the narrator look through the glass wall. The two boys were sitting at a twenty-year-old girl’s bedside. She looked a lot like her brothers. She was watching them have a conversation. The narrator was ushered in by the nurse. She said that Lucia would be delighted to see him. However, the narrator didn’t want to disrupt the happy family gathering. He pleaded the nurse to tell him everything she knew about the young boys.
War, Hardships And Lucia
The three siblings, Lucia, Nicola and Jacopo were completely alone in the world. They had no one except for each other. Their father had been widowed for a long time. He was a popular singer who was killed during the war’s initial days. Their house had been bombed, and they were forced into the streets. They used the rubble to rebuild their home. They were in excruciating pain. They were starving and exposed to the harsh weather. They despised the Germans for causing all of their problems. The boys worked as underground operatives who delivered communications to freedom fighters concerning German military movements.
They returned to their dear sister once the battle was over. When they returned to her, they learned she had been afflicted with spinal TB. The two brothers did everything they could for their sick sister. They drove her to the hospital and persuaded the doctors to admit her. In the previous twelve months, she had made significant progress. It was anticipated that she might be able to walk and sing again one day. Lucia’s brothers were regular in paying their weekly bills, the nurse added.
The story of the two brothers and their sister astounded the narrator. He rushed out and waited for the boys to join him. They returned to the city. The boys sat next to him and didn’t say anything, neither did the author say anything to them. He was well aware that they preferred the feeling of having ‘safely guarded their secret’.
This story of youthful passion has a profound effect on the author. With humility and courage, they had accepted an unexpected maturity that had been imposed upon them. The teenage boys are regarded as gentlemen and superior humans for their love and devotion. They shouldered the responsibilities much like adults. We conclude that, mankind has hope as long as people are prepared to make sacrifices for the good of others.
Questions-Answers of Two Gentlemen of Verona