Berto is an important character in the short story “The Red Line” by Charles Higson. He is Italian, as suggested by the fact that he meets Cathy in Venice (p. 64, l. 5) and by a cassette he listens to: “It was comforting to hear an Italian voice, even if it was trying to teach him English” (p. 71, ll. 1-2). Berto cannot speak English well and is misunderstood by others, who seem to laugh at him and at the way he speaks (p. 63, ll. 34-35)
His physical description is constructed through Denise’s and the unnamed man’ perspective. Denise fears him, but thinks he is attractive: “He was dark-skinned, the man, with thick black hair. Dark eyes. A bit like some of the male models in the Next catalogue. In other circumstances she might have found him attractive” (p. 68, ll. 19-21). In contrast, Berto’s appearance disgusts the unnamed man, specifically because Berto has body hair: “He was covered in hair, he had black stubble on his cheeks, thick curls crawled out of the top of his T-shirt, even his hands were hairy. It was disgusting.” (p. 69, ll. 30-33)
In terms of his inner characterisation, throughout the story, Berto is confused and frustrated. First of all, he is disappointed to learn that Cat...