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Bandini Question #13 ~ Do Clothes Make the Man?

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:53 am
by DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
pg. 205 Rocco says, “…I have more clothes than the president of the University of Colorado-what good have reading and writing done him? “He smiled that Rocco should reason thus, but Rocco had the right idea. Bricklayers and college presidents, they were all the same. A matter of where and why.


What say you?

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:58 pm
by Betty Sue
"A matter of where and why." I guess if you're where you want to be in life for reasons that are important to you, you're just as successful as any other contented person, regardless of whether or not their achievements seem to be greater.
Can't say that I exactly agree that how loaded one's closets are is a great measuring stick of achievement. :eyebrow: And Svevo may have been a bit hasty in equating himself with a college president, but I think there's some truth in the statement.

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:03 pm
by nebraska
I think it may be a reflection on what each man's goal is. If the goal is to live comfortably, to have basic needs met, to find satisfaction in ones work, then the closet comparison works fine. Not all men want the extra pressure of prestige, social obligations, etc that go with a fancy title/position. On the other hand, it may have just been an expression of "sour grapes".

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 4:45 pm
by Bermuda
Perhaps, Rocco just equated the more possesions a man owned equalled how successful a man really had become in this new country of America for the immigrants.

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:00 pm
by Liz
I go for the sour grapes theory. I think Rocco thought that Svevo was putting him down, after his involvement with the Widow Hildegarde, as if Svevo thought he was too good for Rocco now. So Rocco was making a point that education didn’t make a man better than one who wasn’t educated.

I also think that this could have been Fante’s way of reacting to his resentment at being discriminated against as an Italian in America.

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:29 pm
by Parlez
Working class vs Educated class ~ a familiar story for most immigrants I think. Sour grapes...at least until a higher level has been personally achieved. These two guys had a skill bordering on artistry but, while they took a decent amount of pride in their craft, their focus was mostly on class issues, which, IMO, is a relatively easy thing to hang blame on when people don't consider what they do for a living as having merit. Then differences in appearance become more pronounced and an us-against-them mentality prevails.

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:27 pm
by DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
I took it to mean that either man could have ended up in either job/class. It was just a matter of circumstance that one became a college president and one a bricklayer because they were really equals underneath.

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:29 pm
by Linda Lee
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I took it to mean that either man could have ended up in either job/class. It was just a matter of circumstance that one became a college president and one a bricklayer because they were really equals underneath.


That's what I thought, that one's occupation was a matter of chance. If you were in the right place at the right time you could have recieved the education and become a college president if that was what you wanted.
Basically the American Dream, no matter where you start out you can become whatever you want to be.

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:38 pm
by gemini
I agree with Parlez that it is the age old class thing. It is not uncommon for tradesmen to consider themselves as equals to white collar workers considering their skill as important as education.
I have more clothes than the president of the University of Colorado-what good have reading and writing done him?
Rocco measures success in having things he likes.
Svevo concedes
Rocco had the right idea. Bricklayers and college presidents, they were all the same.

Even though he felt Rocco's lack of English would be a drawback with Mrs Hildegarde he doesn't want to admit that bricklaying is any less important than being a college professor.

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:15 pm
by nebraska
gemini wrote:I agree with Parlez that it is the age old class thing. It is not uncommon for tradesmen to consider themselves as equals to white collar workers considering their skill as important as education.
.


The age old "class thing" lives on for sure! I have worked as support staff in a couple of jobs where the folks with the book education and a degree really looked down on my co workers and myself, even though the work we did made their work possible. It would be a sad world if we all had the same higher education, a lot of necessary jobs would never get done. Just imagine the college president trying to build a house for his family to live in! Or a world where no one was willing to drive the garbage collection truck.

Look at multi millionaire Johnny Depp -- he doesn't even have a high school diploma! :-O

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:06 pm
by Parlez
Yes, I agree ~ I think something changed in this country that made everyone think they had to have a college education, even if they didn't want one or need one. The highschool my kids attended was named Manual High School, and up til the mid-70's it was just that - a public highschool where kids went to learn a trade. By the time my kids got there it had been converted to a regular highschool and the focus was on college prep. That's the only song public education has been singing lately, and it trickles up so that even an undergraduate degree isn't considered to be worth much anymore. It's not surprising we have a shortage of skilled mechanics for our airplane and automotive industries, but a bloody overload of MBA's!
I think people in the work place would benefit from understanding that feelings of job discrimination run in both directions. As long as everyone is on the job because they choose to put their time and talent toward that particular job, there wouldn't be a need for anybody to be defensive or to feel like their contribution was any less valuable than the next person's.
My :twocents:

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:31 pm
by Liz
Parlez wrote:Yes, I agree ~ I think something changed in this country that made everyone think they had to have a college education, even if they didn't want one or need one. The highschool my kids attended was named Manual High School, and up til the mid-70's it was just that - a public highschool where kids went to learn a trade. By the time my kids got there it had been converted to a regular highschool and the focus was on college prep. That's the only song public education has been singing lately, and it trickles up so that even an undergraduate degree isn't considered to be worth much anymore. It's not surprising we have a shortage of skilled mechanics for our airplane and automotive industries, but a bloody overload of MBA's!
I think people in the work place would benefit from understanding that feelings of job discrimination run in both directions. As long as everyone is on the job because they choose to put their time and talent toward that particular job, there wouldn't be a need for anybody to be defensive or to feel like their contribution was any less valuable than the next person's.
My :twocents:


And I'll raise you :twocents:

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:45 pm
by DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Parlez, I think that push for college goes back to the return of the vets from WWII. Due to the opportunities given them in the GI Bill many of them were the first in their families to receive a college education. In the 50's the economy was good, jobs were plentiful and a college education became the ticket and the norm (well..for the men anyway :rolleyes: ) They in turn wanted their children to have that same opportunity to "better" their lives that they had been given and the push was on. As we baby boomers multiplied, the competition became tougher in education and in the workplace. We have gotten away from the appreciation of a job well done - no matter what the job.

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:03 pm
by gemini
Posted in the wrong place. Only came back to this post because I couldn't remember Rocco's name.