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The Last Chapter


I don’t know about you, but to me Zeno is the most selfish, ignorant, untruthful man that anyone ever written about. However, the last chapter changed the whole meaning of the book. There was a good connection between the last chapter and the whole book itself. Throughout the whole book, Zeno has been trying to find a woman, who he belongs with. Looking for the right profession. Trying to forget all the mistakes that he has done in the past. But after he finished his memoirs, Zeno starts thinking of a way to leave the past, and “banish the hateful present”. Unfortunately, that was not possible for him. His doctor made him realize that he has the same disease as “Sophocles drew up long ago for poor Oedipus”. The last chapter, made the whole book worth reading. That last part of the book, when he was with the soldiers, was the climax of the whole story. That’s when Zeno actually faced a real problem, which he could not get out of.


“Confessions of Zeno” would not be a good book if it weren’t for the description of life as an incurable disease. “Life is neither good nor bad; it is original.” (p.1) When Zeno said that life was original; he did not know what he was talking about. He just mentioned it, just to sound intelligent. After his analysis, however, he began to compare life with a disease.


“Life is a little like disease, with its crises and periods of quiescence, its daily improvements and setbacks. But unlike other diseases life is always mortal. It admits of no cure. It would be like trying to stop up the holes in our body, thinking them to be wounds. We should die of suffocation almost before we were cured.”


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No matter how “smart” he sounded when talking to Guido, the second idea is incomparable.


In the beginning of the last chapter, Zeno was denying of even having the disease. But after bringing his mind back to childhood, he began to remember events that he believed gave birth to this disease. He remembered the time that he was jealous of his brother for sitting home, while he had to attend school. He remembered the time that Catina called him a “little Jew” for trying to get a piece of sugar from his brother. And the most memorable moment was when he was playing with marbles and accidentally threw everything off the table, while trying to get up to invite his mother to join the game. His father of coarse punished him for it, and that’s when he began to have hate toward his father. Of coarse he wasn’t actually violent, but psychological hate definitely existed.


By Zeno realizing his problem, every thought, or action that was made before that, suddenly made sense. The reason why he couldn’t let Augusta go was because she was kind and caring like his mother. The reason why he had mistresses was because they were beautiful like his mother. When reading the last chapter, Zeno doesn’t seem like the same person. He totally has a different attitude toward people. He becomes more polite, understanding and faithful, after realizing that he was cured. For some reason I believe that him finding out his disease made him much wiser. Now, not only he is a better person, but also he is smart in life.


He showed how much he cared for his family when the soldiers took him. They asked him where he was heading to, he simply answered that he was supposed to meet his wife for some caffelatte. Zeno could not think of anything else but his wife that was waiting for him there. The only time that he actually calmed himself down was when he was sure that his family was safe. That’s when he realized that he does not hate the life that he leads.


Lastly, it is certain that the book “Confessions of Zeno” would not be readable if it weren’t linked with the last chapter. Zeno’s change of attitude showed that writing his memoirs was not useless and had a great effect on the main character. Through his whole journey in life he did not suspect that the origin of his problem was from the disease that “poor Oedipus” had. After realizing his problem, he took some time to recover, and fortunately he was successful. After his success he began looking at life at a totally different point of view. He believed life to be an incurable disease, that we should not try to get rid of, but we should try as hard as we can to make each day better. I believe that it is a much better understanding of life, than the quote that he motioned before. In each book, the main character grows and becomes a smarter person. We can definitely say that Zeno evolved into a good man. Too bad he did not see the shrink earlier, maybe things in his life would go differently for him.





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