Bandini Question #4 ~ Maria

by John Fante

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stroch
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Unread postby stroch » Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:31 am

Maria was small-minded, fearful and repeated the same destructive relationship with her mother in her marriage. I think this was who she was, and although conditions of Depression era America may have amplified her weaknesses, she would be essentially the same person had she lived today.


Very well said.

Part of her weakness is her conflict over choosing Svevo. She lusted for him, got him, and revels in that part of the relationship. Even though she is married, somewhere inside her is shame over that lust.

At the same time, she gave up potential social position, and now lives a very difficult life where she feels everyone's contempt.

I can't be too hard on her because today swallow verbal abuse from their husbands, and others have dinner ready and waiting while hubby is off in the bar.

And women do remain distant from those who are different. Even at the riverbed, cliques existed. The overtly sensual woman is shunned, as is the poor downtrodden scrap who wears awful clothes.

Even with all of her faults, she did hold the family together. When she withdrew, everything fell apart.

Who knows how she could have blossomed with a different marriage, with respect from her husband?
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:21 am

stroch, she did manage to keep the household together under trying circumstances until she couldn't anymore. I kept wanting her to tap into that strength but as dharma_bum said, she was stuck in a pattern she couldn't break out of.
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby suec » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:38 pm

She reminded me of my grandmother's life in two ways: the poverty and the religion (Irish Catholic). My grandad was a docker in the twenties and thirties, and got employed on a daily basis only - or not, at times. My nan, would only buy single items of food, as they ran out. A child would be sent to shop for one item at a time as they needed it. When her daughter became ill, she didn't send for the doctor because she couldn't afford to. The child died, and she had to live with that. Religion played a big part in her life. When the children fought, as they did a lot (they were a volatile bunch) she would go to the church to pray. Whenever my dad left to go to England, she would spend the day in church over it. But she wasn't a pushover. She wasn't as passive as Maria. And it was a happy family. I wanted to give Maria a good talking to! However, I can't imagine the poverty. I think that must have ben so dispiriting, those awful experiences in the shop. However, she still should have been stronger with Svevo. I was glad to see her stand up to him.
I also recommend Angela's Ashes BTW. There are certain similarities.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:21 pm

Hi, suec! It's good to have you for the discussion. :cool: Thanks for sharing about your grandmother and her life. I think it's hard for us these days to relate to what their life must have been like on a daily basis.
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 LiMoss » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:44 pm

I'm sorry to be so late to the Maria discussion - you've all brought up very interesting points and ideas about Maria that are right in line with my feelings for her.

One thing that stood out to me was how detached she seemed not only from the community, as you've discussed, but also from her kids. She loved them, surely, and took care of their needs, but it didn't strike me that she was emotionally there very often. Her constant praying seemed as much an addiction and an escape from life as it was an expression of her faith.

I do think she had quite a bit of backbone, when push came to shove. While she did everything she could to avoid her mother's badgering, it seemed she let all the criticism roll off her back rather than believing it about herself. And when she was faced with the truth of Svevo's infidelity, she certainly didn't excuse it!! (And in fact took that to an extreme I would never do - alot of pent up rage?)

But it's like something outside of day-to-day living had happen to really shake her out of her daze.

Parlez wrote:It seemed like both Svevo and Maria were locked in a self-limiting mindset that didn't let them consider any alternatives, even one as simple and basic as planting a garden for food.


Absolutely - get a part time job, Svevo! Maria, send Arturo out hunting with his slingshot (or whatever his weapon of choice was). Or raise more chickens so there could be both eggs and meat!

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:53 pm

LiMoss wrote: One thing that stood out to me was how detached she seemed not only from the community, as you've discussed, but also from her kids. She loved them, surely, and took care of their needs, but it didn't strike me that she was emotionally there very often. Her constant praying seemed as much an addiction and an escape from life as it was an expression of her faith.

But it's like something outside of day-to-day living had happen to really shake her out of her daze.


It's never too late to go back and answer a question, LiMoss. I'm especially glad you did, in this case, because you raise two very good points. I do think it was an escape, and possibly an addiction, which allowed her to detach herself from the rest of the world. I think she was very detached from her kids after Svevo left home. But I also think that was due to the fact that she was depressed.
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