more about Vito (& Carmela) please?
okay… i have a tiny detail that i love and want to talk about :
LET’S TALK ABOUT VITO WEARING A WEDDING RING! IN THE 1920′S??!!
at the beginning, when
you look at the very first scenes of Vito’ & Carmela’s life in
Little Italy, Vito doesn’t wear a ring. They were a young
couple with not enough money to be spent on such unecessary thing,
particularly for a man. Indeed, wedding rings for men were not the standard AT ALL back then (1910′s/1920′s)!!!
So Carmela was the only one wearing a ring. It was the norm back then: only women wore rings.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY: the wearing of wedding rings by brides has
been traced back to ancient Egypt. And, it is only in the beginning of
the 20th century that a very small minority of bridegrooms
began doing the same. Only 15% of married men during the Great
Depression (1929) decided to wear a ring. WW2 is considered a pivotal
point, as many Western men fighting overseas chose to wear wedding rings
as a comforting reminder of their families back home.The
mid-20th Century is when it becomes mainstream.
Now, about the specific sicilian world : again, it was traditionaly something for wives but not husbands (it was not until the 1950s that the Roman Catholic Church altered its liturgical ring-blessing language to reflect the exchange of two rings). Up to the time of the Second World War, for the great majority of Sicilians, like most were poor, it was unknown for husbands to wear wedding bands. it was the “Italian Miracle” of the early 1960s, a period of economic growth, that found more working-class Italian men wearing gaudy trinkets like necklaces and bracelets, and of course, wedding rings. (x) ))
…let’s go back to Vito…
as said previously, wearing a wedding ring was not the norm at all for men, particularly for Italian men before WW2. BUT, *oh surprise*, we see a golden band at Vito’s left hand and left finger during the scenes in Sicily, when he comes back for his little vendetta in 1922.
Again, a ring at this finger for a man was very unsual back then.
could be argued that his ring was a symbol of connection with the mafia.
indeed, the first appearance of this ring coincide with Vito’s new
wealth, so we can imagine it as an exterior sign of sucess and money.
But then, why wearing it at the Left Ring Finger (the finger for promises/heart) ?
when you look at the other members of the mob in the three movies, a pinky ring is worn on the little finger, a clear sign of mafia connections and sign of success (same in the tv-show The Sopranos). For example:
- Don Fanucci : a pinky ring during the 1910′s & 1920′s - it shows us that the tradition of a golden band on the little finger for members of the ‘cosa nostra’ is old and known in Italy. So definitely something Vito was aware of.
Corleone : a pinky ring again, the 1940′s - interesting to notice that
Sonny is a married man at this moment but is not wearing a ring at
his left finger. Sonny prefers to show his devotion to the ‘family business’ than to his wife (and indeed, we know about it…)
- Michael Corleone : a pinky ring, the 1970′s/80′s - Michael at the end of life as Don, an old man, just like was Vito in PART I. (Michael did wear wedding ring, before his divorce, but during the 40′s/50′s when it was more mainstream)
ANYWAY, no pinky ring for Vito.
we can assume that he decided knowingly to not wear a ring at his little finger. Maybe he didn’t want to externalize his connection with the mafia, but lbh, everybody knows who he was and what was his business in Little Italy and in NewYork. No need of ring or symbol to show where he comes from, or to express some kind of pride.
From his youth to his last years, this golden ring has always been the only ring at his hand and Vito would wear it until his death.
the only explantion : it is a wedding ring. Clear and simple. A ring likely bought in 1921/1922, before the travel in Sicily and during the rise to power of Vito –so, more money to spend. A little golden band symbolizing his bond
and fidelity to a woman (let’s not forget that in italian a wedding band
is named “fede”, literally “faith”). Just like Carmela’s ring is
an evidence of her fidelity to Vito. Loyalty and faithfulness are
probably the two greatest values Vito admire the most in his family and in his friends. He expects loyalty from them so it would be normal for him to express his own loyalty & to be an example of faithfulness. What a better way to start than a wedding ring?
It is quite remarkable tho, because Vito is known as being a very traditional Sicilian man –however, a man wearing a wedding ring during the 1920′s is something exceptional.
This ring was as well a display of wealth. A beautiful golden band but an unecessary piece of jewellery for a man back then… People probably thought when they spotted the ring: “This man is cleary married and displays it, look at his finger. AND DUDE! LOOK AT THIS HUGE GOLDEN RING??!!!!”
tl; dr:Vito, aka the most traditional Sicilian man ever, wore a wedding ring during 20′s, against the standards of the era,
because he was a devoted man and wanted to show it… and because lbh, gold looked nice on him :))