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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:10 pm 
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I see Antoine as a very depressed person. He is so obsessed with his inevitable death that he cannot participate in life. If we accept the opinion that much depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, then it may not matter what was in his past, he may have undiagnosed medical issues. From personal experience I know hypothyroidism can cause depression, I am sure there are many other things -- maybe it even is just his basic personality makeup. Not all of us are sparkly and outgoing, although he does carry that somber stuff a bit to the extreme.


I can remember a time in my life, when I was much younger, thinking the cycles we go through seem so hopeless. You sleep, you get up, but at the end of the day and you have to sleep again. You eat, you poop, you have to eat again. That sounds a bit like I am describing housework :-/ , you are never really "done" doing laundry, washing dishes, or cooking meals -- in a few hours you have to do it all over again. I think that is Antoine's view of life, an endless cycle of reapeating meaningless stuff ending in death.....so what does anything matter, why bother......


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:33 pm 
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Great answers so far!!! :cool:

What makes him so jaded? The arrogance of youth is what crossed my mind as some of you have mentioned. How could he say there was nothing left to experience after age 18??? There is certainly that feeling when you are that age but eventually you learn there is much more. He seems so intent on skipping to the end.


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gemini wrote: Johnny does always seem to be looking for something deeper in life, and that is what Antionne feels is missing. Not sure I am explaining this good enough but does anyone see where I am going?


I do see what you are saying here, gemini. I think Antoine had been looking and he feels like he has already experienced everything there was so now his attitude is "So what's the point?" Although, having said that, if he had given up why would he care to keep searching for meaning? I think I'm confusing myself...



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 4:47 pm 
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I agree that he seems depressed. Ill, in some way, anyway. I think it has been his misfortune, in a way, that he has had the financial freedom to indulge his morbid fascination. I agree with Endora that it doesn't matter what the original trigger was. He is stuck in a cycle now anyway. You get out of something what you put in, and it seems to me that he doesn't put much in and that he asks for the bare minimum from life: ordinary gravestone, ordinary home for preference, minimal wardrobe, and that dreadful way of selecting a wife - and the expectation that boredom would set in. He asks for as little as possible, and that is what he gets, and so he is not being fed in a healthy way, mentally.
I think his real problem may be how he feels about himself. He makes a passing comment about how he turns that bug-eyed scrutiny on himself. I think he projects his feelings about himself onto what he sees around him - that which he accuses others of doing. I also feel that maybe he is revolted by physicality, the crude matter of flesh, which decays in the end, all too visibly. And there is no getting away from that. It isn't just the way he describes the elders; it's there in the comment about the lifeless hand of the woman when he buys the gravestone; and the kiss of the children. Also, in his account of the sex. This is maybe despite or because of his accounts of earlier exploits when younger.
In a way, he reminds me of Sebastian, cycling after the funeral cars and attending funerals of strangers.



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 5:38 pm 
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Antoine struck me as not courageous enough to face life and invest in it. The biggest and most frightening investment in life we make is to love and marry. Well, he pretty much slid right over any investment in his wife and children (what a terrible waste!). He feels a "stubborn belief in love is inextinguishable," but then chooses to 'love' Mireille, who is dying of cancer and really makes this choice just to watch her and understand the extinction of life. It's too bad he got that inheritance and could get away with being a benchwarmer in the game of life.



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 5:49 pm 
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Hello all ! :disco:

Safety, Dissociation, Benches, inevitable, so cut to the chase, Don't think he wants to skip right to the end, but peraps wants to find the true meaningfulness of life sooner than later, so as not to waste it, so that he can go back and enjoy it. He is overly focused on the meaning of life, and what more do I have to look forward to? Is this all there is? The monotiny of day to day life, as Nebraska mentioned.

I don't think Antoinne is in Happy Days forever. The novel doesn't take it that far though. :-?

Bix quoted.....Thinking of existence as being tedious..... he is quite arrogant. Drifting on the surface of life....sounds like daydreaming to me, however it has a nirvana type quality about it as well.

Bix, Gemini mentioned.....Is he looking for anything deeper in his life? I think that he's trying to confirm that he already know the answers, and checking it twice to see if there's anything he's missed.

Nebraska mentioned, .... Obsessed with his own inevitable death so cannot enjoy life. On Dr.Phil :blush: they once had those people who were obsessed with cleanliness,so they could not participate in cleaning anymore, and utterly did not know where to begin, so their homes became incredibly full of stuff and filth. I can't remember the name of the Dissorder.

Suec mentioned...I guess his real problem is how he feels about himself, and he projects his feelings about himself onto what he sees around him.
:eyebrow:
For the moment, I guess he does, but I think we need to remember that he is on a search for something MORE. I think that 'more' needs to come from within, rather than dissociating and 'window shopping' about life. He hasnt' gotten that far either, although he is doing HIS best to find the something more, in the wrong way.
Right question, wrong path? Now, suddenly it seems similar to Shantram's "Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons." in a way. Yes? No? I don't know. I've also confused myself.

Betty Sue, I wonder if , once he understands extinction, then he can go back and really live life to it's fullest?

Johnny certainly thinks deep, makes me think, and doen't dissapoint. I think I might need something stronger in my :morning: as days go by! :-O



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:09 pm 
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Arogant is the first word that comes to mind about this chap! And the name of Wierd Harold! :gollum: Anyone remember Harold and Maude, film in the '70s with Cat Stevens music? That's what this book reminds me of . . only Antoine has to be wierder!

What I had a hard time with was why do a marriage and children and then beat it out to a Nursing Home????
And no further mention of the children he sired and boom. . .to the end the house becomes a playground? Are we suppose to think this is a character acr and he has made it out the other side? Maybe.

And I know he spent a lot of time with the old lady, but even that seems too wierd, not very loving - like the scene at the Hotel at the beach when he became irritated with her!


Lady Jill


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:11 pm 
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Nice summary, Depputante! Now you all are causing me to have a discussion with myself :mort3: as to whether he is looking for meaning in his life or the meaning of life in general. I'm leaning toward the latter at the moment (and we will discuss that further) but I still haven't quite decided what has made him so jaded. You all have given me lots to think about! :cool:



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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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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:13 pm 
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Oh Wow!! What a great bunch of noodlemantras we have here!
You guys are amazing ~ thoughtful, smart and articulate ~ now
I'm totally confused!
Part of me thinks Antoine is way ahead of the game and part of
me thinks he's a complete cop-out. From where I happen to be
on the time line (old) much of what he's talking (lamenting) about rings true...
the futility of mindless routines and the so-called 'investment' in daily life that really is
marginal and valueless sometimes. I agree with the money angle mentioned;
the fact that Antoine didn't need to work or be a wage-earner
right there might have tipped the scales in terms of him going down a different road altogether...
without a tangible reason or purpose in life.
When I started doing hospice work as a volunteer, I was very aware of my motivations, which weren't all that noble, but matched rather well Antoine's desire to 'see' death up close and personal. As if doing so might give me special insights into the whole mystery of things and I'd have a head start or a leg up on
the deal. I think Antoine likewise has a lot of 'control issues' about that.
Facilities like Happy Days are similar to monasteries and prisons
in a lot of ways. You're warehoused away from society for some reason...you've been bad, or good, or gotten old, basically. In all of them, you follow the rules and get into the routine and you get all your basic needs met. The concept of Time is really different in those places. There's a lot more of it, in a way, but
everybody hears the clock ticking so it's a bit nerve-racking.
Antoine seems to want his time and his story to be over; he doesn't want to spend one more minute writing pointless pages when he already has the ending in place.
Is he ahead of the game??



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 6:41 pm 
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Great answers and thoughts everyone. I didn't see Antoine as depressed but rather someone who was in search of meaning in life - both in general and in his own specifically.

Graff's Buddhist beliefs and his widowhood no doubt have HIM asking the big question about the meaning of life. Not an obsession with death per se: but.................

Just a thought - wondering how much of Antoine is him?

Depputante - I Like your synopsis
:thumbsup:



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:21 pm 
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Nebraska mentioned Antionnes possible mental problems, depression, chemical imbalance, hypothyroidism, or some other undiagnosed medical issues that cause him to see life as he does.. All the while I was reading your post I was thinking that Antionne is fictional and these ailments must belong to Laurant. Is it just an inventive imagination that makes you write or is it a little bit of yourself being revealed?
Rainbow soul...you said it before I could post it.

DITHOT said
I think Antoine had been looking and he feels like he has already experienced everything there was so now his attitude is "So what's the point?" Although, having said that, if he had given up why would he care to keep searching for meaning? I think I'm confusing myself.

Confusing maybe but I think you have what he really feels. He sarcasim and jadedness come form the "Ive already done it all so whats the point?, yet he is still searching for something in the meaning of death to explain life.

Suec said
I also feel that maybe he is revolted by physicality, the crude matter of flesh, which decays in the end, all too visibly. Also, in his account of the sex.

I think you may have something here. Antoinne says I was obsessed with women and at the time was going to whores a lot. The first epitaph he had made for his stone was

O you, divine nymph with the lovely ass
Caress my marble as you sashay past
Marvelous moons of my eternal night
Where I lie I leer at your rays of light.

This is not someone who loves women, I think he may have been obsessed with lust not women. Liking sex and not having any feeling for the person involved seems to have jaded him on the subject. He called his sex with the nurse his placebo which says it all.

B etty Sue you are right in your remark about his marriage. He had no investment in his wife or children.
You thought he loved Mireille and I dont think he loved her either. He was more of a voyeur.

Lady Jill, I remember Harold and Maud. I thought it was a very entertaining film. And I loved Cat Stevens music, so I guess my age is showing.

And Parlez, I think he is the total copout. What would be the sense of discovering the meaning of life if you had already thrown your life away?



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:26 pm 
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Quote:
I remember Harold and Maud. I thought it was a very entertaining film. And I loved Cat Stevens music, so I guess my age is showing.


I guess mine shows too - gemini. i Love Harold and Maude! and

Quote:
Is it just an inventive imagination that makes you write or is it a little bit of yourself being revealed?
Rainbow soul...you said it before I could post it.



snap! :lol:


Last edited by rainbowsoul on Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:51 pm 
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The money angle is a curious one. How much of him is just bored with life? What if he had a meaningful job that brought him some measure of satisfaction, would that have changed his outlook on life? (Or maybe it's just a literary device to allow the character the freedom of not working... :lol: )

I am not one, but it seems to me that all authors will bring something of themselves to a character or a story. You write about what you know and I suspect even if you try not to, some of your own personality and life experience will show up in your work.

I think there is something to the Buddhist influence as well, but we will get into that in a future question.

Most excellent answers and discussion, everyone! Keep it going!
:cool:

As an aside...Lady Jill and Parlez, I remember Harold and Maude too! Have you heard Cat Stevens new song?



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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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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:01 pm 
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Ahhhh...there's the million dollar question!! What IS the meaning of life?? Is Antoine's attempt to find it worth his life? Is life as we live it really heading us in the direction of understanding its meaning?
Arrgh! I have a headache!!



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:17 pm 
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Stretching the gray matter we are! :headache: :cool:



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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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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:24 pm 
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suec wrote:
In a way, he reminds me of Sebastian, cycling after the funeral cars and attending funerals of strangers.

suec, I read this post at work and then didn't get a chance to respond, but I've been thinking about it ever since. Are Antoine and Sebastian Dangerfield (from The Ginger Man) the same character approaching the same philosophy of life from opposite directions? I mean, there is a lot of Antoine in Sebastian (his disinterest in his wife and child, his regard - or lack thereof - for women and sex, etc.) and vice versa! It's just that Sebastian runs, rams, batters, rails at life and Antoine floats on the surface. Hmmmmm.

And, Lady Jill, Harold & Maude is one of my top 10 movies. I've seen it many, many times and I didn't even think of it while reading HD. I'm surprised I didn't, but I guess it's because Harold and Maude were finally such a joyous, life-affirming pair and Antoine and Mirielle were not. DITHOT, I'd heard that Cat Stevens had a new album, but I've not heard it yet.



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