Inamorata Question #4 - Finch

by Joseph Gangemi

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:47 pm

dharma_bum wrote: I never felt Gangemi justified why Martin willingly took on so much personal risk.


I think Gangemi used Martin to tell the story so perhaps we see him in situations that seem out of character? Just a thought.

BettySue, so you pronounced it Myna. I wonder if it was short for something else?
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Unread postby Bix » Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:04 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: BettySue, so you pronounced it Myna. I wonder if it was short for something else
Just to further complicate things, I worked with a woman in New York years ago whose name was Mina and she pronounced it "Mee nah". I think it is a name on its own and not short for anything, but I don't know that for sure.
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Unread postby Kittycat88 » Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:36 pm

dharma_bum wrote:I found Martin farily colorless and one-dimensional. He is honorable and conscientious and likeable, but he was the least complex and interesting character in the book for me. I think the motivations that Gangemi developed (and Liz talked about)—the desire to please McLaughlin, the goal of getting his degree and the need to earn enough money to be able to eat—were not nearly as compelling as the ones he only hinted at… class resentment and a twisted desire for Mina of a slightly Oedipal origin. I never felt Gangemi justified why Martin willingly took on so much personal risk.


I agree with you db, Finch is introduced as the hero here, the man we are supposed to identify with, and frankly I found him kind of flat. I felt his character was very predicable. I wonder how Johnny, if he plays it , will want to make him more layered.
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Unread postby gilly » Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:52 pm

I agree that he was honourable and intelligent ..a good investigator..but I also found him a little flat...I don't think he was the strongest part of the story .. He was the blank canvas that everyone else played against :cool:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:34 pm

gilly wrote: He was the blank canvas that everyone else played against


My thoughts too, gilly. He was the character used to tell the story and move it forward.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

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Unread postby QueenofKings » Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:01 am

After reading the tidbit about J. Malcolm Bird, I figured that Gangemi named his character Martin Finch taken after the real guy's name. Since I have a habit of naming some of the characters in my stories that way, I imagine lots of writers probably do it as well.

And it is an interesting thought that the name Mina could be pronounced "My-nah" and that would make that a bird name too.

And then one could extrapolate even further and bring up another bird name, Sparrow. But maybe then this post would need to be placed in the Johnny and Coincidences thread that's running elsewhere on this board.

I did find Finch a likeable kind of guy. He tried very hard to please everyone. Much to his detriment, I think. I don't know, he's like a symbol for the standard of integrity in a way. And I agree with Gilly that the story and the other characters seem to move around him, like he's a linch pin, he's steady for much of it and they are multi-layered and quirky and their intentions are questionable in varying degrees.

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Unread postby Raven » Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:19 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
gilly wrote: He was the blank canvas that everyone else played against


My thoughts too, gilly. He was the character used to tell the story and move it forward.


I agree with you ladies,
I liked him and found him smart and a man that tried his best.

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Unread postby SweetSam » Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:07 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Just one more bird related observation...I assume everyone is pronouncing "Mina" with a short "i" like the word "in". If you pronounce the other way with a long "i" like "eye" it is the name of another type of bird, one that mimics the human voice (even thought spelled differently). Okay, enough of the bird theme... :blush:


Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I thought of it as mee-na.

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Unread postby SweetSam » Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:15 am

I liked Finch, felt he was intelligent, and I liked his ability to figure things out quickly. I agree that it was understandable that as he become more emotionally involved with Mina, he slipped up a bit in unravelling clues. Yet he didn't let his feelings for her totally blind him to the possibilty that she might not be genuinely what she said she was.

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:14 am

I also thought it was pronounced Mee-na, like Mina from Dracula and that is definetly how her name is pronounced in that book.

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Unread postby suec » Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:15 am

DIDHOT,
I have a book about symbolism, which I have just checked. It doesn't mention finches specifically, but there are several pages about the symbolism of birds in general. It makes references to a whole number of religions and cultures, and there is too much to type up now, but here are some extracts from it, which I think are kind of interesting.
"The flight of birds leads them, naturally, to serve as symbols of the links between Heaven and Earth. In Greek, the word itself could be used a s a synonym for forewarning and for a message from Heaven. In Taoism, they carry the same meaning, while the Immortals take on the shapes of birds to signify their ‘lightness’ and their freedom from terrestrial ‘heaviness’. Those who offer sacrifice, or ritual dancers, are often described in the Brahmanas as ‘birds flying skywards’. From the same point of view, the bird represents the soul escaping from the body, or to a lesser degree, the intellect – ‘intelligence’, according to the Rig-Veda, is ‘the swiftest of winged creatures. Cave paintings from Altamira and Lascaux showing bird-men may be taken in a similar sense, either as the flight of the soul or the ‘spirit-flight’ of the shaman.
The bird stands in opposition to the serpent as a symbol of Heaven as opposed to Earth.
Again, in a more generalized sense, birds symbolize spiritual states, angels and higher forms of being…
It is often the case that the very lightness of birds carries with it a negative aspect, and St John of the Cross saw them as ‘symbols of the workings of the imagination’, especially in terms of their volatility, flitting hither and thither without aim or purpose: what Buddhism would call ‘distraction’ or worse, ‘diversion’.
It is in this sense, perhaps, that the Taoists invested the Barbarians with the shape of birds, to indicate their violent, uncontrollable primordial wilfulness…

Later epic poetry was to extol the faithfulness of the bird Jatayu, which gave its life trying to stop the demon, Ravana, from carrying off Sita. The mystical interpretation of this story sees the friendship of the gods in the guise of a bird striving to preserve the soul from the diabolical assaults of the spirit of evil…

In the Celtic world, birds were in general regarded as the assistants or the messengers of the gods or the underworld…(swans, cranes and herons, geese, crows, wrens, and chickens).., the Celtic world as a whole held birds in profound veneration…
In the Koran, the word ‘bird’ is often synonymous with ‘fate’…
In Muslim tradition ‘green bird’ is an epithet applied to a number of saints, and the Archangel Gabriel has a pair of green wings. Souls of martyrs fly to Paradise as green birds.
It is a common belief that birds have a language…
Hopi Indians also attribute to birds the magical power of communicating with the gods. They are often depicted with their heads surrounded by clouds, symbols of the rain which is one of the gifts of the gods who make the soil fertile, and haloed with a broken circle, which represents creation and life as well as the opening of the gate, the symbol of communication….
In Kurdistan, both the Yezidi and the Ahl-I-Haqq regard the symbol of the bird as originating with the spiritual world."

The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols

To return to the name Finch, what strikes me is that finches are kept as pets, which may or may not be significant.

Dharma-bum,
I really liked your point about the Oedipal attraction. It hadn't occurred to me at all, reading the book, but I think you are right. It kind of shows through very early when he instructs Halliday's girl to kiss him. So many of the characters - pretty much all - seem to have darker motives. It seems to me to be fair enough that he does as well, though he also stands as the figure of truth and honour overall. I see him as quite a nondescript figure though, but I did like him.
He is someone who is out of his depth and destined to fail. Reading it, I wondered why he had the same initials as Malcolm Fox. Coincidence maybe. But one possible interpretation is that in the end, he is not much more successful than Fox, for all his intelligence.
I also assumed Mina was pronounced Meena, as in Dracula. But then, it seems to be that there are a number of echoes of that book in this one. Perhaps this isn't the thread to be discussing that?
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Unread postby Endora » Sun Feb 05, 2006 10:40 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
gilly wrote: He was the blank canvas that everyone else played against


My thoughts too, gilly. He was the character used to tell the story and move it forward.


But he still could have been written better. His motives are not clear at all. I felt, but wasn't sure, that he was a conscientious man who was rather an innocent. He thought that those who supported science, practiced scientific method, would work honestly, and that finding the truth would be to them the most important thing they could do, but he found them to be as petty and self centred as everyone else in that they were biassed by their own desires.
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Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:07 am

suec wrote: From the same point of view, the bird represents the soul escaping from the body,

Cave paintings from Altamira and Lascaux showing bird-men may be taken in a similar sense, either as the flight of the soul or the ‘spirit-flight’ of the shaman.

The bird stands in opposition to the serpent as a symbol of Heaven as opposed to Earth.

Again, in a more generalized sense, birds symbolize spiritual states, angels and higher forms of being…


:interesting: :-O Thanks for all of your research, Suec. It seems that you are on to something here. I can always count on learning something new here every day. :cool:

Endora, I agree with you that he was an innocent, in a way--especially in regards to his feelings for Mina, which I pronounced in my head as Mĭna.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:11 am

suec, very interesting! Thank you for looking that up and posting for us! :cool: I wonder if Gangemi left Mina's powers open to interpretaion since the real Mina was never explained either. It certainly leaves you looking for clues one way or the other.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Kittycat88 » Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:45 am

Endora wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
gilly wrote: He was the blank canvas that everyone else played against


My thoughts too, gilly. He was the character used to tell the story and move it forward.


But he still could have been written better. His motives are not clear at all. I felt, but wasn't sure, that he was a conscientious man who was rather an innocent. He thought that those who supported science, practiced scientific method, would work honestly, and that finding the truth would be to them the most important thing they could do, but he found them to be as petty and self centred as everyone else in that they were biassed by their own desires.



Endora, again I have to agree with you. I know I am against the wind here, but I have to return to the statement I made earlier, the story it self is very intetesting, But none of the characters involved me very much. I found the writing very bland. Except for a short part or two, I did not experience any real tension, chemistry, surprise in the writing.

I may have to go back and give another read.
I have finally found a way to live just like I never could before.
I have finally found a way to live in the presence of the lord ~ E. Clapton


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