Uno, nessuno, centomila

The novel is divided into eight books, which contain other sub-chapters, each with its own title. In this way Pirandello creates a fragmented but strongly cohesive structure, a set of small units that connect to each other and form the whole of the novel, in the same way that many thoughts form an idea.

There is an internal narrator, who is also the protagonist, Vitangelo Moscarda. The story is told in the first person, with an internal type of focus. The protagonist shows us his point of view, tells us about his thoughts. The action takes place entirely in the past, when he tells them the facts have already happened, and the narrator-protagonist is recalling them.

Like the structure, also the style is fragmented. The writing follows the thoughts of the character, between sudden illuminations and second thoughts. It’s a fun and cheerful style, made up of engravings and interlayers. Writing is formed through streams of thought and reasoning. There are rhetorical questions and exclamations, keeping the pace of the writing alive. The narrator often inserts an imaginary interlocutor, who is the reader himself, responds to the possible objections that the reader might make and tries to convince him of his reasoning. The language is, in general, simple with many elements of speech, particularly in the dialogues. However, Pirandello combines this tendency towards orality with the use of some less common terms, which appear from time to time between the pages of the novel, terms whose meaning the reader may not understand and which refer both to learned Italian and to various popular Italian traditions (Tuscan, Roman, Sicilian).

In this novel we find all the themes dearest to Pirandello, first those of the mask and madness. Vitangelo Moscarda discovers that he does not know himself, that he is not a person, that he wears a hundred thousand masks, one for each person he knows and one for himself as well. Vitangelo is one, he is many and at the same time he is nobody. Madness then intervenes, the only way out of the tragedy and paradoxicality of life. Madness comes from awareness, from the thought that leads him to be convinced of his own theories and to want to challenge that world of a hundred thousand appearances in which he feels imprisoned.

We have here touched on the central points of One, No One and One Hundred Thousand, but in reality there is much more to this novel. We could say that in it there are one, none and a hundred thousand things to discover.

Concluding we can resume in this way:

One: because the basic concept, around which the narrator continually returns, is the fragmentation of the ego;

None: because what Vitangelo says we already know if we look deeply within ourselves;

One hundred thousand: like the nuances and paths that Pirandello undertakes around the main theme.


Viviana Galluzzo



Related Articles