The Knife


This short story contains the most common aspects of issues and themes such as racism, life, family and death.


There are 3 main characters in this story and they are Plinio a simple Italian boy who is friendly, caring, non-violent and a “lone wonderer in an unknown land” he was brought up in a poor family that is why he is forced to migrate to Australia because he has to support his family. Maddelena is Plinio’s mother she is the hard worker of the family always wanting the best for her children, also hardworking. Tommy Lawler is the boy in his youth, tall, strong and does not like Italians because of his grandfather; he told him that Italians took peoples jobs and farms because they worked harder, this made Tommy angry so when he saw Plinio he decided to put him down and beat him, but to his surprise he was stabbed.


The place this short story is set is mainly in Australia at a café called café Millano, the stabbing incident occurs in the back streets close to the café near a milk bar where Plinio comes into contact with Tommy’s group of youths, in the first half of this story is set in Italy were Plinio’s father dies and his family is.


The attitudes and values that are brought to the readers’ attention is most probably discrimination against others, this occurs when Tommy Lawler calls Plinio “dago” slang for Italians, another attitude or value can be underestimation because Tommy was not expecting for Plinio to pull out a knife.


The title the knife tells the reader basically what the story the knife is about, basically it is a boy named Plinio and his father owned the knife that was handed down from generations before, this knife was used for basically everything form carving wooden cutlery, fixing chairs, cutting food and even art. Plinio’s father dies this makes Plinio the man of the house therefore is forced to look for work, to support his family in doing so Plinio receives his fathers knife from his mother this is a sign of independence for Plinio because this means he is a man and takes it with him to Australia were he does not make it as much use only for cutting bread and the odd sausage, eventually Plinio is introduced to metal cutlery and hardly ever needs the use of the knife only at the end when Tommy Lawler hits Plinio, he realizes that only his parents were allowed to his him because if anyone else did it was a sign of disrespect and that’s how Plinio takes it so he pulls the knife and stabs Tommy.