“The Distance of the Moon”, written by Italo Calvino in the year 1923, is a story which consists of the scientific knowledge as well as fiction which when combined together produce a very captivating tale for its readers. The reader has taken into consideration the different shapes of the Moon. He is fascinated by the various kinds of eclipses that take place in which the Earth, the Moon are blocked by one another.
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The author also believes that when high tides appear due to the gravitational pull of the Moon, are so high that one can literally climb onto the Moon with the help of a ladder. He adds fiction when he says that the sea weeds and the planktons with the other water animals like octopus and the fish came up to the surface at the time of tides. It seemed that they were being attracted by the gravitational pull of the Moon. The author talks of climbing onto the Moon while he sits in the boat and reaches the point where he can clearly see the edge of the Moon. He then includes using a ladder to finally step onto the surface of the Moon with the rest of his gang.
He says that they usually kept hanging between the Earth and the Moon and were neither able to land on the Earth or climb onto the Moon. The author along with his ‘deaf’ cousin, the captain and his wife and little Xlthlx would collect milk from the Moon which was retrieved from the crevices in the Moon. According to the author, that milk was very thick and was formed when the trees and the species in the forests fermented. As the Moon passed over them, they stuck to it and formed this milk. But, he also detested some remains that stuck along with the fermented matter like twigs, leaves, small insects, etc. He along with his group, climbed to the Moon almost every night to collect milk.
The ‘deaf’ cousin was an expert in extracting milk with spoon and even sometimes with the toe of his foot and knew where he could find it. Due to his exceptional quality and even though he was ‘deaf’, the captain’s wife, Mrs. Vhd Vhd had a liking for him. She liked the way he could find milk from places which they could have never thought of. On the other hand, the author liked Mrs.Vhd Vhd very much. But, this ‘love triangle’ was unknown to the captain. The captain’s wife never took notice of the author and was always interested in playing her harp. This made the author very frustrated and angry. He started envying his ‘deaf’ cousin. This love triangle, contributed a lot to the theme of the story.
In the end of the story, the author says that the moon had started drifting away from the Earth and at that point of time, Mrs. Vhd Vhd was left on the Moon along with the author because she could not land back on the Earth like everybody had done. Once when the author was left alone on the Moon with her, his exact words were- “I should have been happy; as I had dreamed; I was alone with her, that intimacy with the Moon I have so often envied my cousin and with Mrs. Vhd Vhd was now my exclusive prerogative……”
The author might have treated the captain’s wife as the Moon and when she had eyes for his brother than for him, might suggest that the Moon was very far away from the author, i.e. the woman he loved was not near him and was drifting away from him every moment. This made him sad and at times he also felt that he might have done something wrong or maybe he should not have even thought about her in these terms. The author’s cousin was not even aware of all this.
He never laid eyes on the captain’s wife. He was only interested in scooping milk from the crevices of the Moon with his exceptional ability to find the correct places. In the end, when Mrs. Vhd Vhd was left all alone on the Moon which had started drifting from the Earth, the author felt a sharp pang of pain and guilt. He felt that he had left her all alone on the Moon and now she has to stay for another month until the Moon comes back to the same position as was before. He truly missed her though.
He was utterly mesmerized by her physical appearance. He had often come across her beautiful physical structure and was moved by the way god had made her. He also feared whether the captain had ever come to know of the author’s intentions. Nevertheless, he made it a point to attract the attention of the captain’s wife and keep her off from admiring his ‘deaf’ cousin.
This ‘love triangle’ has been surmounted on a fiction filled tale which deals with the drifting away of the Moon from the Earth. The distance of the Moon from the Earth keeps on changing from time to time. This is because of the changing positions of the Moon. Sometimes it is a full moon, while at other times it resembles a set of sharp horns. According when the moon is full, it is easier to climb it. The ‘love triangle’ involving the ‘deaf’ cousin, the captain’s wife and the author himself is beautifully and interestingly related to the theme of the story ‘The Distance of the Moon’.
Works Cited Page
Italo Calvino.”Cosmicomics”.The Distance of the Moon. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book, 1976, 61.