The Importance Of Friendship In My Brilliant Friend

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The novel, My Brilliant Friend, is renowned for its portrayal of strong female friendship. This work, set in 1950s Naples, follows the lives of two young girls, Lila and Elena. Told from the point of view of Elena, a well-behaved studious girl, the story follows the girls from elementary school to rebellious Lila’s wedding day. It explores numerous themes, from social class to femininity. But, one aspect of the girls’ friendship that stands out is Elena’s dependence on Lila. Throughout the novel she is devoted to her friend, basing her successes and failures on Lila’s response to her actions. Indeed, from her point of view, their friendship often seems unrequited and Elena habitually feels that Lila is leaving her behind. However, while it …show more content…
When she departs for Ischia, she misses her friend from the start. “I spent the time on the terrace, dressed, writing a letter to Lila every day, each one filled with questions, clever remarks, lively descriptions of the island…. I waited for letters from Lila, we had promised when we said goodbye, but none came.” (Ferrante 209-210). Unfortunately, Elena interprets this silence as Lila abandoning her, leaving her behind. However, Lila’s silence can also be interpreted the other way around: Lila feels as though Elena is leaving her behind. While Elena is off enjoying a vacation on the beach with an English speaking family, Lila is trapped in the same neighborhood she has always lived in, being forced into a marriage that she doesn’t want. In an attempt to hide her desperation, Lila does not respond to Elena’s letters, unsure how to hide her own jealousy and fear about the future. Indeed, it is clear when Lila finally writes Elena that she is desperate for her friend to return, and she expresses as much upon Elena’s arrival: “it’s something I can only do with you, thank goodness you’ve come back. I thought I’d have to wait till September.” (Ferrante 234). This quote refers to Lila and Stefano’s plan to get married, and though it can be argued that Elena was just a pawn in Lila …show more content…
Elena was privy to Stefano’s proposal, many of their disagreements, and Lila’s innermost feelings for Stefano. Moreover, Elena was also a major influence on the wedding preparations. Though most aspects of Lila’s life come easy to her, getting along with her in-laws is not one of them. Due to this fact, she begs Elena to join her and her future in-laws while wedding dress shopping. While Lila disagrees with every dress that her in-laws select for her, Elena manages to convince everyone to agree on the same wedding dress, one that even Lila adores. Afterwards, Lila is so impressed by Elena’s abilities at peacekeeping that she asks Elena to continue helping with her wedding plans. “So do me the favor of coming with us whenever I ask you.” (Ferrante 294). While Elena to some extent sees this as being used by her friend, Lila doesn’t appear to have that intent. Instead, she seems to genuinely need her friend’s help in planning this wedding, and perhaps in going on to the next stage in her life. Feeling ostracized by her future husband’s family and unsure of how to plan a wedding, she leans on her more educated and worldly friend. She even depends on Elena when the wedding falls apart. Indeed, Lila is enraged when Stefano decides to let Silvio Solara give a toast at their wedding. She locks herself in her room and refuses to emerge, despite the pleas of her family. Unable to

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