The Broken Fountain by Thomas Belmonte is a powerful book that shows greatly the struggle and life of the poor class. It gives a strong sense of urban life through the story of a Neapolitan neighborhood. It goes beyond that, though. There is much more than a gritty street and rundown buildings. There is much more than the poor people walking by and emotion filled families. There is an underlying theme of humanity, of justice and injustice, that the reader can not help but be touched by.
The imagery is strong and brings the book to life. The reader gets a true sense of what it is like to be in the neighborhood. The description of buildings and people captivate the minds and bring a world of humanity into light. Whether it be in the streets or the homes themselves, the reader feels that they have some experience now in this awkward world even if they are so distant from its location. The setting of Naples does not distract from this either. It does not give us just a look on Italy, but rather the whole world. One could apply such hardships and feelings across the whole spectrum of mankind.
His portrayal of the people is unique and touching. He doesn’t just cast them aside as poor and give us little glimpses of their lives. He lets the reader live as one themselves and experience what is meant to be experienced in this story. From acts of thievery and abuse to pain and sorrow and plenty of fear, he captures it all so intricately in the characters and creatures an environment that the reader gets so enrapt in that they almost becomes a character themselves.
The insight and depth that the author provides is a great part to the achievement of the book. The willingness to open his soul and become one with the story allows the audience to feel that they know this person, that they have a better understanding of this life and story. The emotions, the actions, the things unsaid all bond together and bring the words to life. There is so much to the subject, and so many subjects to follow. Not only is it a book about the poor, but it is a book about family and friends, about economy and civilization, about social structure and conditions, about Italy and most importantly about humanity.
It is clear to understand from reading this how it is a classic to the study of anthropology and sociology. A classical tale of human survival and endurance, The Broken Fountain transcends beyond just a work of literature and into a tale of human depth in spirit and body. Not only do we get insight of the author and the neighborhood he brings to life, but the audience gets insight of themselves. Through this they analyze their own life and are simply touched by the pure human displayed in a book.