Coming of age is interrupted by committing undesirable acts. In order to help his mother get rid of the “evil eye,” Vittorio went through such extreme consequences at such a young age.“I had poured the blood, then dumped the chicken and its severed head out of the burlap bag onto the ground. The body was still flaccid, not yet stiff with death, though a black clot had hardened around its neck” (Ricci 118). This shows how Vittorio realized his mother’s acts and he did not want his mother to get into more trouble. Vittorio’s love and affection towards his mother was also emphasized which shows how he has matured in this scene of the story. He understood that him and his family were being excluded from society as Cristina was very vocal about her opinions regarding superstitious beliefs and traditions. Furthermore, the villagers mistreatment of the family and the absence of Vittorio’s father Mario, also shaped Vittorio’s journey into adulthood.
One of these events encompasses Vittorio’s classmates taking advantage of the innocent Vittorio. They were only messing around with Vittorio for fun. In this scene, the boys make fun of Vittorio’s mother’s pregnancy and frighten Vittorio by stating that the head of the baby will be of a snake and the only thing to do would be to “kill the baby the minute it’s born, and cut out it’s eyes, so the evil eye won’t follow you.(Ricci 128) Vittorio was very innocent and all he wanted was to be respected and treated equally by his friends. Unfortunately, this only unravelled him into more problems. The boys sexually assaulted him without Vittorio even being able to comprehend what was happening to him. Ricci writes: “First, you have to show us your bird, to prove you’re a man, and then if it’s big enough you can join.”(Ricci 128) Even though Vittorio is bullied by the boys, he is still eager to join because he felt isolated from society. This gave him no choice but to make bad decisions. This “initiation” was to prove if he was a man and Vittorio giving in, showed that his innocence was slowly fading away.
Therefore, Vittorio’s loss his innocence by committing undesirable acts. Likewise, Sarah’s coming of age was altered due to committing deeds that were against her own will. At one point, she was full of rage that she attacked one of the townsfolk in the community in order to protect herself. Due to a misconception, Sarah attacked one of the townspeople, thinking she was going to get hurt. “ I dragged her to the ground and raked my nails across her bland and milky face. I grabbed at her cap, pulling savagely, and parted her from clumps of her hair before Mercy came from behind and boxed my ears…. I kicked both her shins and bit the web of her hand so deeply that she carried the half-moon scar for the rest of her life.”(Kent 141-142) Hence, this represents Sarah’s loss of innocence because she defended and protected herself from a violent act. Not to mention, she performed an act that a normal eleven year old wouldn’t normally do. The incident of Sarah committing the act of heresy in order to save herself was a great event that disturbed her natural coming of age. She was only an innocent girl who had no idea of what the Salem witch trials were and why her mother was being captured and put into jail. Unfortunately, Sarah endured so much pain and suffering in prison, that it led to her mind becoming more mature and understanding.
“The judge paused some to let the clerk scratch my answers onto paper and then he asked suddenly, as if to befuddle my senses into revealing the truth, “Who made you a witch?” I looked at him, my eyes wide with fright, my lips parted to suck in the air that seemed to elude my lungs, and I could not speak….. And then I gave them the name they wanted. The name of the woman who was already imprisoned, waiting to die. I took a step off the ledge and said, “My mother.”(Kent 242-243) This quote symbolizes how her mother was willing to sacrifice her life in order to save her children’s. Consequently, this testimony released Sarah and her siblings but sent her mother to be hung at Gallows Hill. Overall, her thoughts and actions were acted out of maturity, not selfishness as she was a young girl and obeyed her mother’s instructions just like a normal child would do. By doing something that Sarah was unwilling to do, her coming of age is obstructed. That being so, both Vittorio and Sarah’s overview of the world began to change throughout the journey of their lives as they performed certain acts that were quite out of the ordinary.