Alberto Moravia and Vittorio De Sica's.
In 1957, Alberto Moravia wrote Two Women, a novel that demonstrates the fallacy of the bourgeoisie's worship of money and its resultant cycle of spiritual death and resurrection through suffering. In 1960, Vittorio De Sica adapted Moravia's novel and directed Two Women, a film that filters reality through religious symbolism. De Sica created a version of neo-realism, linking the material poverty of war stricken Italy with the spiritual loneliness of its inhabitants. Both Moravia's and De Sica's artistic representations of Two Women depict lost purity and innocence, and the subsequent intense suffering of characters confronted with the reality of a world so different from that of their desires, dreams and ideals. The symbolism in these two works comes from traditional Catholic iconography (Wood 66), the understanding of which enables both readers and viewers to form a coherent narrative picture replete with imagistic representations that enhance the artists' message.
In both the novel and the film, the setting plays an integral role in defining the imagery. The "neighborhood, the house, the furniture and the personal belongings- (Cottrell13) reflect the characters' natures. It is therefore important that Cesira returns home when the food shortage becomes unbearable in Rome. She assumes that "home- will provide her with sustenance. She says, "We'll go to the country, and we'll wait there for the end of the war. They have plenty of things to eat, they have beans, they have eggs, they have pigs. Anyhow you can always find something in the country- (Moravia 14). To Cesira, Ciociaria and the entire countryside are like the Garden of Eden. Where Rome is a capitalist wasteland from which Cesira can profit, Ciociaria is a fertile land that will enable both Rosetta and Cesira to flourish. For Cesira, nature is "the sheltering setting for refugees who are able to discover human values in the midst of war (Prigozy 85).