Bandini Question #10 ~ The Cameo

by John Fante

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Parlez
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Unread postby Parlez » Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:03 pm

Liz wrote: My parents spent their lives keeping all of their good things hidden or protected (jewelry, clothes, dishes, couches, me). I wonder if it was a common thing among generations in the past.

That's a great point, Liz! What people consider to be treasures (material and human) and what they do with them ~ hide them away or show them off? Interesting...
For Maria, I can't decide if she kept the cameo hidden because it was too precious to see the light of day, considering the circumstances she was living in and what had become of the love Svevo had expressed by giving her the gift in the beginning...or if keeping it out of sight was a sort of a 'gotcha' to Svevo for turning out to be such a :censored: ...or if she suspected he'd actually stolen the item. Like father like son.
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Unread postby gemini » Sat Sep 15, 2007 2:38 pm

Liz wrote:All of this symbolism is really interesting, and I wonder if it was intentional. I’m wondering if the cameo incident really occurred, and if there really was a Rosa and she really died. I’m wondering now if part of the reason that Fante did not want to go back and read his book is because his experience with Rosa was just too painful and that he had suffered all of his life with the guilt from the cameo incident….and his fears that he caused her to get pneumonia—founded or unfounded.


Yes, you are reading my mind. I didnt't make the connection about pushing Rosa in the snow and her pneumonia. I did think stealing the cameo might be something to come back to haunt the grown up writing about his past. Now I am wondering like you, if both are why he doesn't want to read this again and he said nothing of myself is there anymore.
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Unread postby Liz » Sat Sep 15, 2007 3:06 pm

gemini wrote:
Liz wrote:All of this symbolism is really interesting, and I wonder if it was intentional. I’m wondering if the cameo incident really occurred, and if there really was a Rosa and she really died. I’m wondering now if part of the reason that Fante did not want to go back and read his book is because his experience with Rosa was just too painful and that he had suffered all of his life with the guilt from the cameo incident….and his fears that he caused her to get pneumonia—founded or unfounded.


Yes, you are reading my mind. I didnt't make the connection about pushing Rosa in the snow and her pneumonia. I did think stealing the cameo might be something to come back to haunt the grown up writing about his past. Now I am wondering like you, if both are why he doesn't want to read this again and he said nothing of myself is there anymore.


This is what is so great about these discussions--getting all of your insights. The idea that he might have caused her pneumonia (or thought he did) never would have occurred to me on my own. :dunce:
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Unread postby stroch » Sat Sep 15, 2007 6:54 pm

I did not make the connection that Rosa might have been a real person in Fante's life, and that the cameo incident might really have happened. I thought he included it for -- I guess I didn't think at all.

Thanks for that insight; it does explain his reluctance to revisit the book.

And Liz, as far as parents storing away the "good things", I do think that was common in people of that generation. My own mother never even unfolded the beautiful hand embroidered linens she bought in the 1950's in Europe. It was so sad to open the cedar chest after her death and realize she had never had the pleasure of using them. I do.
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Unread postby suec » Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:56 am

Liz wrote:All of this symbolism is really interesting, and I wonder if it was intentional. I’m wondering if the cameo incident really occurred, and if there really was a Rosa and she really died. I’m wondering now if part of the reason that Fante did not want to go back and read his book is because his experience with Rosa was just too painful and that he had suffered all of his life with the guilt from the cameo incident….and his fears that he caused her to get pneumonia—founded or unfounded.


That's an interesting point, Liz. It certainly puts the author's note in a new light. He may be recounting someting that literally happened, and/but I also think that he is a writer who deals very much in symbolism. Take for instance, the fact that the events in the book happen broadly in line with Advent and Epiphany. It starts December 5th and ends a few days after January 6th, I think. I can't find the exact date. I had to look Advent up because there was something in the back of my memory about it being associated with penitence as well as waiting. Then there's the Twelve days after Christmas, a time when the natural order of things was said to be overturned and the Lord of Misrule thing, which I connect with Svevo's absence. It may be that the timing is entirely coincidental and I am reading too much into it. But perhaps not, if the book is one way of dealing with remorse. But there are things that I can't believe are coincidental, for example the use of serpent imagery at various points, such as when Svevo feels that Maria's rosary is like a little cold tittering serpent - (she wears it in bed :eyebrow: ). And then there's the whole white and black motif. I don't know what to make of that! There are so many connotations of those colours. But it seems to me that what is being described in the book isn't just a physical landscape, but the landscape of a soul.

Thanks Parlez and LiMoss for your comments. I thought afterwards that I had been too pessimistic - but then I think that Fante is pretty much that way, although it's a debateable point.
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Unread postby bluebird » Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:49 am

I just got the opportunity to read the book while on vacation this past week. So I'm jumping in on this question and will go back and read the earlier ones.

I remember saying outloud "NO!" when Arturo threw the cameo. I, like others here, was appalled that he would do that. I kept hoping that he would go looking for it.....
And, I, too, thought that pushing Rosa in the snow resulted in the pneumonia....and her death.

Thank you all for the insight into both Arturo's and Svevo's personalities. I also appreciate the references to the symbolism...I often miss that when I'm caught up in the story.
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Unread postby Liz » Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:33 am

suec wrote:
Liz wrote:All of this symbolism is really interesting, and I wonder if it was intentional. I’m wondering if the cameo incident really occurred, and if there really was a Rosa and she really died. I’m wondering now if part of the reason that Fante did not want to go back and read his book is because his experience with Rosa was just too painful and that he had suffered all of his life with the guilt from the cameo incident….and his fears that he caused her to get pneumonia—founded or unfounded.


That's an interesting point, Liz. It certainly puts the author's note in a new light. He may be recounting someting that literally happened, and/but I also think that he is a writer who deals very much in symbolism. Take for instance, the fact that the events in the book happen broadly in line with Advent and Epiphany. It starts December 5th and ends a few days after January 6th, I think. I can't find the exact date. I had to look Advent up because there was something in the back of my memory about it being associated with penitence as well as waiting. Then there's the Twelve days after Christmas, a time when the natural order of things was said to be overturned and the Lord of Misrule thing, which I connect with Svevo's absence. It may be that the timing is entirely coincidental and I am reading too much into it. But perhaps not, if the book is one way of dealing with remorse. But there are things that I can't believe are coincidental, for example the use of serpent imagery at various points, such as when Svevo feels that Maria's rosary is like a little cold tittering serpent - (she wears it in bed :eyebrow: ). And then there's the whole white and black motif. I don't know what to make of that! There are so many connotations of those colours.

Wow! That would not surprise me at all. I never would have picked up on that as I don’t remember the Catholic calendar. We know that he has used symbolism and fiction in that he gave Boulder the name of Rocklin. It could be that this story was a combination of events that occurred over a few years but that he put them into the context of Advent through Epiphany in order to be symbolic. And there is always that question when a writer is writing about himself and calling it fiction--one never knows which aspects are true and which are not.
But it seems to me that what is being described in the book isn't just a physical landscape, but the landscape of a soul.

I love that!

:welcome: to the discussion, Bluebird. I’m glad you could join us.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:24 pm

Hi, all! :wave: Real life has kept me away for too many days lately and I'm just now catching up on this fabulous discussion. You all have brought up some very insightful points I would never have thought of on me onsies. :cool:

I too was shocked when Arturo threw the cameo. At first I tried to blame it on the roller coaster emotions and hormones of a scorned 14 year old boy with little supervision and no decent role models in his life - a spur of the moment reaction to Rosa's treatment of him and his gift and also a way to punish his parents for their behavior. Reading your interpretations has really given me another way to look at it.

I did not make the connection at all to Rosa's death but it certainly seems logical and makes it a very pivotal point in the story. What you all have suggested about the color and religious symbolism would make perfect sense in the context of his life and Fante's memories. As some of you have suggested, perhaps it was a way for the author to purge himself of his guilt. That would certainly explain his reluctance to revisit the story.

Most excellent insight as always, Noodlemantras!!!
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