feudal ties, social hierarchy, deference, honor, and friendshiprnare the norm.. ..rn”Conversely” to Gemeinschaft, writes Rohert Nisbet, “Gesellschaft..rn. reflects the modernization of European society…. hirnpure Gesellschaft, which . . . is symbolized by the modern economicrnenterprise and the network of legal and moral relationsrnin which it resides, we move to association that is no longer castrnin the mold of either kinship or friendship. . . . The essence ofrnGesellschaft is rationality and calculation,” an essence expressedrnin such modern organizahons as corporations . . . andrnthe formal, impersonal, legalistic, bureaucrahc organization ofrnthe modern state.rnIt is a principal thesis of The Godfather that American societyrnis a Gesellschaft at war with the Gememschaft inherent in tiiernextended families of organized crime, and it is the claim of thernnovel and even more intensely of the films that the truly natural,rnlegitimate, normal, and healthy type of societ)’ is that of therngangs. It is a claim buttressed b the savage depictions not onlyrnof the corrupt justice offered b America to Bonasera but also ofrnvirtually every character in both book and films who is not Sicilianrnand therefore is not part of the criminal Gemeinschaft:rnKay Adams herself, the liberal WASP college girl who has nornconception of the brutal forces that lie under and around herrnsmall social island; Jack Woltz, the vulgar and sex-obsessed Hollywoodrnproducer; Captain McCluske’, the crooked Irish coprnwho is in the pay of SoUozzo; Moe Greene, the Las Vegas gangsterrnbased on Bugsy Siegel; and in Part II of the film series,rnNevada Senator Pat Geary and Hyman Roth, a fictionalizedrnversion of the late Meyer Lanskv’. Roth indeed is the most articulaternand attractive of these representatives of the AmericanrnGesellschaft, and except for Kay, who is merely a child, most ofrnthem share certain characteristics. All of them are motivatedrnmainly by avarice, and the cash bond is the only one they acknowledgernor understand. Most also lack self-control; they loserntheir tempers unnecessarily and insult and try to cheat menrnwith whom they want to do business, and some are slaves to sexualrnlusts that the prudish Don Corleone considers infamia.rnLacking the natural bonds of Gemeinschaft through strongrnfamily attachments, the characters vho represent Gesellschaftrnare bound only by their personal appehtes, and it is throughrntheir appetites — greed, anger, lust, obsession with revengernserved not cold but piping hot—that fliey usually meet destruc-rnHon.rnBy contrast the Gemeinschaft of the Corleone family is embodiedrnin Don Corleone himself, well-known for his humility,rnhis caution, and his devotion to family. “A man who neverrnspends time with his family can never be a real man,” he tellsrnhis godson, Johnny Fontane, who has been unmanned by Hol-rnKvvood Gesellschaft, but the remark is really addressed to his realrnson Santino, who is preoccupied with sex. “Even the King ofrnItalv didn’t dare to meddle with the relationship of husband andrnwife,” the Don tells his own daughter when she complains thatrnher husband is beating her. Outside the bond of family andrnfriendship, outside the Gememschaft, Don Corleone believes,rnman cannot be man, and men who put their trust in the contraryrntype, represented by the yKmerican Gesellschaft, havernceased to be fully human and lack the virtii that Machiavellirncommends. “You can act like a man,” the Don roars at Eontanernwhen the singer weeps and whines in despair about his misfortunes.rnThese are beliefs deeply shared b’ Michael Corleone himself,rnthough not at the beginning of the novel, when, telling Kayrnabout his family, he says, “That’s my family, Kay. It’s not me.”rnMichael enlisted in the Marines in World War II, despite his father’srnarrangement of a draft deferment for him, to show his rejectionrnof his family and his heritage, and his ambition to go tornlaw school and marry Kay show his aspiration, the same asrnBonasera’s, to melt into the American pot. Yet blood will tell.rnThe attempted murder of his father and the attack on his familyrndraw Michael naturally back to his roots, and his exile in Sicilyrncompletes his assimilation into the Gemeinschaft and the ethnicrnheritage he had rejected… .rnA large part of the conflict in Part II reolves around the antagonismrnbetween Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft within andrnwithout the family. There is a dual conflict, one between thernCorleone familv and the Gesellschaft syndicate led by therngreedy and treacherous gangster Hyman Roth, and a second betweenrnthe forces of corruption within the Corleone family itself.rnThe logic of Michael’s power dictates that he do business withrnRoth and make tactical sacrifices of the interests of his subordinates,rnmainly his aging lieutenant Erankie Pentangeli, who isrnthe voice of pure Gemeinschaft. Pentangeli’s complaint is thatrnMichael is putting the interests of “that Jew in Miami” overrnthose of “your own blood” and that Roth and his allies are avariciousrnand untrustworthy, recruiting “spies” and “niggers” insteadrnof good Sicilian boys to run the rackets in New York. . . .rnThe picture Pentangeli paints of the Roth gang and its activitiesrnand procedures is one oiGesellschaft—an organization devotedrnpurely to material acquisition and sensor}- gratification throughrnrational, calculative enterprise, an organization contemptuousrnof the traditional bonds oi: Gemeinschaft in the forms of the deference,rnmanners, and ethnic and kinship loyalties that characterizedrnthe Corleone family in the past. Roth’s gang is midtiethnic,rnand his consigliore is a Sicilian, Johnny Ola.rnBut despite Pentangeli’s complaint, it is actually Michaelrnhimself who is desperately trying to preserve the Corleone family,rnand it is his tragedy that the process of modernization byrnwhich Gesellschaft invades and corrupts the Corleones is irresistible.rnHis sister Connie has virtually deserted her own familyrnand seeks only money from Michael. His brother Eredo is seducedrnby Roth and Johnny Ola into betraying Michael andrnjeopardizing his life. His wife Kay aborts their unborn childrnin what is an act of war against the family itself Troubled byrnthe crumbling of his family, Michael asks his mother, the widowedrnMama Corleone, “by being strong for his family, couldrnPop lose it?” To the old woman, still immersed in Gemeinschaft,rnthe question is not even meaningful. “But you can neverrnlose your family,” she answers. “Times are changing,”rnMichael replies.rnMichael’s tragedy is precisely that he is strong for his familyrnand tries to arrest the rot, an effort that meets with only hatredrnand betrayal from family members who insist on putting theirrnown gratification above that of the familv. “He said there wasrnsomething in it for me,” whines Eredo when Michael demandsrnto know why he collaborated with Johnny Ola. The contrastrnwith the Gesellschaft of Hyman Roth is powerfully clear whenrnRoth angrily explains why Michael’s questions about Roth’s attemptedrnkilling of Erank Pentangeli are out of line. Roth remindsrnMichael of Moe Greene, a man whom, “as much as anyone,”rnRoth loved as a friend, and when “someone” (namely,rnMichael) ordered Greene killed. Roth says, “I never asked whorngave the order—because this is the business we’ve chosen.” TornRoth, crime is merely business, a purely acquisitive and calcu-rn18/CHRONICLESrnrnrn