1. An inspirational and touching story of Jacopo and Nicola, two brothers aged 12 and 13 who do odd jobs and live a hard life in the city of Verona, Italy.

2. A J Cronin uses the title of William Shakespeare’s famous play, ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’ in an ironic manner

3. His portrayal of these modern “gentlemen” of Verona re-defines the concept of what it means to be a gentleman

4. The two brothers wage a daily fight against extreme poverty, and deprivation, to sustain and treat their elder sister Lucia who is suffering from tuberculosis of the spine.

 5. Cronin shows us that one may polish boots or sell newspapers, but it is the magnanimity of the heart, and the nobleness of purpose, that actually determines whether one is a true “gentleman”.

6. Written in the first person it presents a humanist point of view where; the strength and nobility of the human spirit, the effervescence and innocence of youth are symbolised through the characters of Nicola and Jacopo.

7. Unperturbed by the ragged nature of their appearance; impressed by their sincerity and willingness to work hard, the man engages the two boys to run errands for him.

8. Once, he chances upon them at night, sitting on a pavement, waiting to board a bus to sell the last lot of their newspapers.

9. Seeing their distraught appearance he offers his help, and the younger one asks him if they could be dropped to a village in the countryside.

10. On visiting the village he witnesses a poignant scene between the two brothers and their ailing sister Lucia.

11. He is amazed by their unfazed childish faith in themselves and their hope of securing a happy future for their family.


1. Verona, Italy

2. Poleta – 30 KMs from Verona where Lucia’s hospital is situated.


1. Nicola and Jacopo are children of 13 & 12 years of age respectively.

2. They have gentlemen-like qualities.

3. They consider no work to be menial.

4. They do all sorts of odd jobs to meet the expenses of their sister’s treatment.

5. They do all jobs with great sense of integrity.

6. It is the magnanimity of heart and the nobleness of purpose that actually determines whether one is a true “gentleman”.

7. Title matches one of Shakespeare’s early plays which makes this story sounds all the more important.

Standard Xth Literature: Two Gentlemen of Verona by A. J. Cronin