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HORSE IN THE MOON by Luigi Pirandello

In September, over the African sea the melancholy countryside still
lay parched from the merciless summer sun; there is a couple, bride and
groom who will spend their honeymoon there. Nino and Ida was the bridal
pair. Ida was a daughter of an infantry colonel while Nino was very rich, the
sole heir of Bernardi fortune. Ida seemed so happy but not Nino. He was
really aware of their surrounding and seemed not so comfortable being
there. Ida was really excited to look around their villa and she asked Nino to
join her, but Nino refused it. Then Ida dragged Ninos arm to follow her.
When they were go around the villa, they found creature, a horse, an almost
dead horse with some ravens circling above the horse. Ida was very shocked
and she wanted to help the horse, but Nino wanted to go far away from the
horse. The argued and Ida decided to go to find some food and aid for the
horse. Nino just stayed there, questioning and thought about what happened.
Then, Nino got a vision about moon, a huge moon, coming slowly up from
behind that sea of stubble. When Ida, angry and disillusioned, came groping
her way back over the plain and calling Nino, she found Nino was dead. She
was very shocked and she doesnt believe what she saw. She went back to
the villa and calling her father to come and take her away.
This short story, Horse in the Moon was written by Luigi
Pirandello who was born in Girigenty, Sicily. He is a free-lance writer in
Rome. He wrote a large number of dramas, novels, and short stories which
were published between 1918 until 1935. He was popular with his irony and
paradox literary works. In this his prose, he proposes his idea about the
womans role in marriage and how the man follows what woman wants. He
also tries to describe the life of the sole heir to their Bernadi fortune, Nino,

who married with a daughter of an infantry colonel who is very spoiled,

cheerful and kind. In this story, there are some ironies that make the deep
meaning of the story quite interesting to find out.
The general themes of this story are womans role and authority in
marriage. We can see that from the Idas attitude towards her husband, Nino.
Ida seems so powerful and she tend to ignore Ninos affection to her. She
assume that she is an independent woman who does not need men. The
prove is when Nino try to dry Idas tears but then she refuses it. She tend to
dry her tears by herself. Also, we can see another prove when Nino wants to
be wth Ida, but Ida choose to strolling around the villa. Besides showing the
womans role and authority in household, the writer is also shows the
diffrences and also the irony in the Ida and Ninos personality.
The story is told based on third-person point of view. We can simply
know it from the way the author elaborated the words in the story. The
words He and She in every part of the paragraph, shows us that the one
who tells the story is the one who knew everything about the characters
lives. . In addition, the narrator of the story is not a character in the story;
the narrator has receded from the story. In a story whose point of view is
omniscient, the narrator relates the thoughts and feelings of many or all
characters. An omniscient narrator will present the story in a broad view and
move through different perspectives. This narrator is seemingly allknowing. It is a common style and delivers a much more panoramic view of
the story. The omniscient teller can at any time enter the mind of any or all
of the character (Barnet, 2006). For example The two stood there for a
moment gazing after it not I stood there with her for a moment.
Besides the use of omniscient narrator in the story of Horse in the
moon, this short story also has interesting setting dealing with where the
story happens (place), when it happens(time), and how the situation of the
story is(atmosphere). The location of the story takes place in the arid clayey
plain in the Sicily Island, the border region between Africa and Italy which
has few of almond trees and olive trunks. That is summer session in Sicily

when we could find sea of stubble. In addition, the wedding of Nino and Ida
is held in a deserted villa in Sicily. The place setting in this story gives us
the images of the dry situations in Sicily at that time. The story occurs in the
September around the year 1920s. At that time, Sicily was under the power
of the mafia and bandits. The fascism regime began a stronger military
action against the mafia, seems like the colonel and the government could
not control the country in such a way. Consequently, it influences the
writers perspective in building the illustration of the story.
Based on the story, some conflicts then happen because of Idas
dictator personality. Moreover, there are some ironies drawn by the author in
the story. First, the young fresh vivacious girl should marry a man who
looks like a madmans. Meanwhile, she could marry someone better. Next,
the daughter of a colonel should marry a man whose family and society are
a little bit better than the savages. There is also an irony in which a husband
should be controlled by his wife which is contradictive with the moral value
at that time. Then, the biggest irony in this story is the happy moment such
as a wedding should end with the scary scene of death.
The story also contains symbolism. The first symbolism is the horse.
Horse is a strong animal and also symbolizing strength, power of a man and
freedom. Here the almost dead horse symbolized weak and powerless man
compared to woman. It shown by the Ninos role as a husband who is not
appreciated enough by his wife. Nino seems to follow everything that Ida
wants without any power to refuse it. The almost dead horse indicates the
falls of man power towards woman. Another symbolism is the bell listened
by Nino while he dies. The bell seems like a sign marking his ending. The
last symbolism is the moon. Moon is symbol of womans beauty and power.
The powerful beauty and strength that can shine bright even that amazed
and weaken mans power at the same time.
Horse in the moon mainly talks about marriage and womans
position in the household. Pirandello creates a figure showing that woman
has powerful control and strength in a marriage. Ida, the main character in

Horse in the moon, perfectly portrays how women control the men in the
household. In the story, after the marriage, Ida refuses Ninos help to dry her
tears and embrace her. Instead of letting his husband comfort her, Ida shows
her independence and dries her eyes by her own. Implicitly, her action states
that she is independent and there is no need to rely on her husband.
On the other side, the man figure in Pirandellos work is very
different from the common value of man in the society. Nino, Idas husband,
is a weak man who seems like suffering from particular disease causing him
trembling, exhausted, and powerless. This man has no power to refuse what
Ida says and ask him to do. Nino is captured as a weak figure. He has no
authority to take a decision in his household. Thus, anyone could easily
notice how Ida controls their marriage and Nino could do nothing instead of
following his wife. Why does Nino let Ida controlling him in the marriage
and household? The simple answer for this question is that he loves Ida. The
first sentence of the third paragraph is the evidence showing that Nino is
absolutely madly in love with Ida. He needs her love, sympathy, and care.
We could see from his denial to help the horse and his willingness to sit
down with Ida with his arm on her waist when they go to the hilltop that
Nino needs affection for her woman. Men, in Pirandello perspectives, need
love, sympathy, and affection. Those are what make them depending on
women. Consequently, their power is lower and weaker than women.
Based on the explana
If we compared Pirandellos value of roles in household and
marriage through Italian societys value, actually, Italian society at that era
follows and believes in patriarchy social values. Thus, commonly, man as a
husband should be the one who control the marriage. Men, in Italian social
value, should be responsible for every crucial thing including in directing
their marriage. Meanwhile, womens role in the society is limited only as
daughter, wife, and mother. Italian women at that time are drawn as
meekness women and their duty is to follow the order of their father or

However, Pirandello argues different value of woman and marriage

through his works. Horse in the moon is one of his works empowering
women rather than man. His characterization of Ida shows his denial of the
common value of the society. Pirandello believes that women have their
power in the marriage. Woman figure in his works reflects his believes as
the one who has the authority in the marriage. Woman in Pirandellos work
shows independence and strength to control man. Pirandello also portrays
that actually the weak figure in the household is the man. We could see in
the story of Horse in the moon that Nino angrily shows his mind when Ida
shows her sympathy for the horse rather than for him. In this case, we could
see the illustration on how actually men need women in their lives. Men
need to be sympathized and loved by women. Men need to be cared by
women. Those highlight how weak actually the men are compared to
women who are independent, strong, and powerful. Pirandello figures in the
Horse in the moon offers different new perspectives of womens role in
marriage and household compared to the common social value follows by
Italian society.
Compared to Indonesian society, the value portrayed by Pirandello in
his novel is very different. Indonesian societies mainly follow the patriarchy
value which emphasizes men as the center in the family. Although some
issue of emancipation has already risen, but in some situations men are
prioritized from the women. However, some ethnics in Indonesia believe in
matriarchy value which follows the mother line instead of father line.
To conclude, horse in the moon mainly talks about womans power
towards man in marriage. The strength and power of man is empowered by
the beauty and affection of the woman. Lets pay attention to the title of this
short story, Horse in The Moon. The horse symbolizing mans power is
weaken in the beauty and affection of woman symbolized by the moon.

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