Bandini Question #7 ~ Arturo and Maria

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Bandini Question #7 ~ Arturo and Maria

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:45 am

(pg. 34-35) “Why did his mother permit Bandini to boss her? Why was she afraid of him? When they were in bed and he lay awake sweating in hatred, why did his mother let Bandini do that to her? When she left the bathroom and came into the boys’ bedroom, why did she smile in the darkness? He could not see her smile, but he knew it was upon her face, that content of the night, so much in love with the darkness and hidden lights warming her face. Then he hated them both, but his hatred of her was greatest. He felt like spitting on her, and long after she had returned to bed the hatred was upon his face, the muscles in his cheeks weary with it.”

Why does Arturo hate his mother? Does he?
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Unread postby fansmom » Mon Sep 10, 2007 2:24 pm

Oedipus made him do it.

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Unread postby nebraska » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:05 pm

This is similar to yesterday's question because powerful emotions like love and hate can blur at times in a close relationship . But with Arturo and his mother, I think it goes beyond that.

I don't think Arturo hates Maria. I think he hates his miserable situation and he is angry over Maria's part in it. He cannot grasp how someone can live in such harsh circumstances and remain soft and gentle, to smile at her children in their sleep. Perhaps he believes in the rolling pin to the noggin theory. I think he is really mad at his father, and quite possibly his hatred is really for Svevo who is the root of many of the family's problems. But I suspect anger at Svevo is unthinkable for Arturo...I think he fears Svevo's temper.

My own experience has been that when I am angry and expressing that anger would bring a risk, I find another place to vent my anger, a person who has caused some insignificant problem, but cannot retaliate in any meaningful way. In fact, that person may never even know that I am raging against them, it may all happen in my own mind. I am able to work through the emotions by piling the anger on a "safe" person and at the same, continue denial about what is really happening in the "real" situation that has upset me in the first place.

I think that is part of what is going on with Arturo. He knows Maria loves him unconditionally. There is no safer place to put his negative emotions than toward his mother, who probably has no clue what he is thinking.

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:29 pm

fansmom wrote:Oedipus made him do it.

Love it, fansmom!! :cool:
And, nebraska, I admire your honesty in figuring out these people through your own experience! Great analysis!
I agree that Arturo doesn't really hate his mom. I think he's just at tough age in a tough situation and doing the best he can to survive.
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Unread postby Parlez » Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:33 pm

Oedipus indeed!
And a nice, insightful analysis, nebraska, on how we transfer our nastier emotions to someone with whom we feel safe.
One of my old gurus once said that there are only two main emotions from which all others spring: love and fear. One might assume it would be love and hate, but according to said guru the feeling of hate actually comes out of the feeling of fear. In that case, Arturo might actually be more frightened of his mother than of his father, whose angry outbursts are obviously childish and therefore something he can comprehend. His mother's nocturnal behavior is something else...adult, mysterious, sexy, inexplicable. It's like she's a different person at night, and that could be very scary to an adolescent son trying to figure out the family dynamics.
I must confess, I wondered the same thing about Maria ~ why she tolerated so much :censored: from Svevo during the day and yet continued to happily embraced him at night. It helped when I pictured Svevo looking like Johnny though...:heart:
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Unread postby nebraska » Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:17 pm

Parlez wrote:Oedipus indeed!
And a nice, insightful analysis, nebraska, on how we transfer our nastier emotions to someone with whom we feel safe.
One of my old gurus once said that there are only two main emotions from which all others spring: love and fear. One might assume it would be love and hate, but according to said guru the feeling of hate actually comes out of the feeling of fear. In that case, Arturo might actually be more frightened of his mother than of his father, whose angry outbursts are obviously childish and therefore something he can comprehend. His mother's nocturnal behavior is something else...adult, mysterious, sexy, inexplicable. It's like she's a different person at night, and that could be very scary to an adolescent son trying to figure out the family dynamics.
I must confess, I wondered the same thing about Maria ~ why she tolerated so much :censored: from Svevo during the day and yet continued to happily embraced him at night. It helped when I pictured Svevo looking like Johnny though...:heart:


The Oedipus remark was a good one, Fansmom!

Fabulous observations there, Parlez. You really gave me some different things to think about.

As for the lovemaking at night, I think when there isn't real love and closeness in a marriage, sex might seem like a good substitution. I believe that was what Maria needed from Svevo.

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Sep 10, 2007 7:30 pm

Very insightful analysis all! Wow! :notworthy:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:35 pm

pg 247

"Home.

There it was, a light in the front window. Home, where nothing ever happened, where it was warm and where there was no death.”
“Arutro…”

His mother was standing in the door. He walked past her and into the warm front room, smelling it, feeling it, revelling in it. August and Frederico were already in bed. He undressed quickly, frantically, in the semi-darkness. Then the light from the front room went out and the house was dark.

“Arturo?”

He walked to her bedside.

“Yes?”

She threw back the covers and tugged at his arm.

“In here, Arturo. With me.”

His very fingers seemed to burst into tears as he slipped beside her an dlost himself in the soothing warmth of her arms."

Oedipal indeed, fansmom! :-O

This passage came to mind when I asked if Arturo really did hate his mother. nebraska and Parlez your ideas about fear and misplaced anger I think are well taken. Betty Sue, I think his fear over the whole situation fits as well. He wants to, and I think really does, love his messed up family but his fear and lack of understanding turn into misplaced, adolescent rage at times. He wants to blame someone for his situation and the conflicting feelings of love and anger/fear would be very scary for someone that age.

Just Dr. DITHOT's analysis...
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Unread postby dharma_bum » Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:20 am

I think at that moment in time Arturo felt a real, powerful and burning hatred for Maria, just as he felt inexplicable bliss when he imagined a perfect life with Rosa. Part of it was hormones talking, and part was resentment toward someone who had the ability to withstand cruelty and mistreatment stoically … someone who turned the other cheek. I think he thought that because Maria didn’t show pain or anger (at that point in the narrative), she didn’t feel it, and he desperately wanted to not feel it too.
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Unread postby gemini » Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:24 am

“Why did his mother permit Bandini to boss her? Why was she afraid of him? When they were in bed and he lay awake sweating in hatred, why did his mother let Bandini do that to her? When she left the bathroom and came into the boys’ bedroom, why did she smile in the darkness? He could not see her smile, but he knew it was upon her face, that content of the night, so much in love with the darkness and hidden lights warming her face. Then he hated them both, but his hatred of her was greatest. He felt like spitting on her, and long after she had returned to bed the hatred was upon his face, the muscles in his cheeks weary with it.” Why does Arturo hate his mother? Does he?

His love hate relationship with Maria is more of his unfortunate age and those raging hormones again. He says how his friend's mothers excite him and the fact that his own mother did not excite him made him secretly hate her. He has his sexual urges and love confused because he is only 12 years old. He is seeing in his mind his parents together at night and hates his mother for being sexual with his father. He loves his mother and can't accept that she can be his mother and still a sexual person with his father. Strangely this is the only time he wants his mother to stand up to his father and not let him do that to her . It is scary for a child to see his parents as people with problems instead of his mom just the safe person who was always there for him. The fact that he blames his mother more than his father I think is a young boy thinking he must be like his father so when things aren't right its moms fault.
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Unread postby magpie » Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:14 am

I don't think Arturo really hated his mother. I think he saw her as passive, and wished she would take action to make the harsh conditions in which they lived better. As children, I think we all sometimes have very distorted views of our parents, and Arturo certainly did.

Just wondering, has anyone else noticed that Arturo is referred to on page 28 as twelve years old, but on page 31, he's fourteen?
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:57 pm

magpie wrote:

Just wondering, has anyone else noticed that Arturo is referred to on page 28 as twelve years old, but on page 31, he's fourteen?


Wow! With all the reprintings, you'd think that would have been corrected! He was also referred to as fourteen near the beginning (my pages are numbered differently) when his dad fell over his sled. I had thought of him as twelve because I found it easy to remember the kids as eight, ten, and twelve when Fante listed those ages when the brothers were all in bed together. I think they needed you as a proof reader, magpie! :cool:
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Unread postby Liz » Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:02 pm

Good eye, Magpie! I totally missed that. I wonder now what age he was really supposed to be. I felt he was more mature than a 12 year old.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:44 pm

magpie, I would agree that children do have distorted, and probably idealistic, ideas of their parents. Nice catch on the age, I didn't notice it. :cool:
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Unread postby stroch » Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:01 pm

I did notice the differing ages, and was wondering if it was deliberate on Fante's part, or an error. Ultimeately, I decided that someone in the discussion would answer that question.

I think Arturo was embarrassed by Maria's sexual behavior. Whether he was 12 or 14, he would be aware that his parents had done "it" more than once, and to be visited in his bedroom, scene of many sexual fantasies and conversations, when she was fresh from bed herself must have been mortifying.

When you take into account the Catholicity of the household, the sexual dynamic becomes even more stressful. Arturo, as a young boy is constantly being admonished to be pure in thought, word, and deed. And here is prayerful, shy, put-upon mom doing, and enjoying, all of the things he is being taught are sinful.

It's hard to hate your mother, since you so much want her love and acceptance. It is easy, however, to be embarrassed by her shortcomings, and feel that they somehow reflect who you are.
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