Bandini Question #15 - Crying

by John Fante

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Bandini Question #15 - Crying

Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:57 am

Svevo breaks down and cries on pg. 194 ("She swept it aside as absurd sentiment. The glass of wine offered distraction. He drained it, got up and filled it and drained it again. She came over to him and put her hand on his arm. He looked into her face that smile sympathetically, and once more a gusher of tears rose out of him and overflowed to his cheeks. Self-pity lashed him. That he should be subjected to such embarrassment! He sat down again, his fists clamped at his chin, his eyes closed. That this should happen to Svevo Bandini!"), and the Widow Hildegarde regularly weeps in the bedroom (pg. 202). "She was not far from him, reading her book, and in a little while she would walk into the bedroom and he would follow. She would gasp and weep and then he would leave in the twilight, triumph giving zest to his legs. The leave-taking he loved most of all. That surge of satisfaction, that vague chauvinism telling him no people on earth equaled the Italian people, that joy in his peasantry. The Widow had money—yes. But back there she lay, crushed, and Bandini was a better man than she, by God."

Why do they cry? Do you think it is symbolic in some way?
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Unread postby Parlez » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:02 pm

Okay, I'll bite ~ but I'm eager to hear what the deeper thinkers in the group have to say about this. For me, in both cases the tears seemed to be expressions of deep shame coming out of the body. Afterall, the heart can only take so much insincere manipulation and mutual messing with before it unloads with some genuine feeling. I have zero compassion for either Svevo or Widow H, so their tears leave me as cold as the winter snow. They are both pathetic in their unmet needs and misdirected quests for fulfillment. :mad:
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Unread postby gemini » Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:43 pm

Well I'm not one of those deep thinkers Parlez is referring to but here goes.
I thought Svevo felt he was not good enough for the widow. He was so in awe of her house and money that he felt second class. This was at odds with his masculinity and he hated feeling inferior to anyone especially a woman. That she was kind to him embarrassed him because he felt it was pity. I think that is what made him cry. He then felt superior after sex and left in triumph.
The Widow had money—yes. But back there she lay, crushed, and Bandini was a better man than she, by God."

Widow Hildegarde was a lonely person and was desperate for intimacy and she used her money to get it. I think she may have cried in shame at what she had become.
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:42 pm

Thanks for starting us off, Parlez. :cool: And I happen to think you are both deep thinkers. :notworthy: I agree with both of you on your estimation of Svevo. I’m still wondering about the widow, though. I have this nagging feeling that there is something else up with her. :perplexed:
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Unread postby nebraska » Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:52 pm

Good answers so far.........

Crying can be complicated. For instance, we cry with relief sometimes when something bad has finally passed and we are safe. We cry at happy endings. I read once that the reason we cry at happy endings is not because we are happy but because we feel sad for ourselves who have not received a happy ending, that our desires have been unfulfilled. :-?

When I read these passages my initial feelings were something along the lines of the relief scenario. That Svevo was touched because he felt he was being understood and appreciated in a way that he had not felt at home, and the widow was so released by the passionate joining that she was able to relieve a lot of tension and emotion through her tears.

I really don't think either one of them had enough sense to be ashamed.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:21 pm

A couple of things that Nebraska and Gemini said have given me a thought. Gemini has pointed out that Widow H is lonely and desperate for intimacy. Nebraska brought up release of tension. I’m thinking that although Widow H has released some tension through passion, she knows deep down that it is not a suitable coupling and that the affair is transitory. I think she realizes that it is not her "happy ending".
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Unread postby magpie » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:42 am

As for Svevo, I interpreted his crying as wounded pride. We learn early in the book how much being poverty-stricken goes against his pride (or perhaps ego, I don't know). I believe the widow's gift just brought that back again, & he was overcome with it.

I'm with you, Liz, about the widow. She knows hers won't be a "happy ending" & maybe her crying is another way of manipulating Svevo, feeding his ego by making him feel powerful over her.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:50 pm

I felt they cried because they realized the emptiness of their lives. Even though they were "together" they were each really still alone. I wanted to think Svevo cried because he felt guilty but then I thought nah...
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Unread postby suec » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:47 pm

I thought the crying was her emotional release at the climactic moment, hence his feelings of triumph. I didn't like her much, thought she is a real piece of work who sets about seducing him with gifts in a very calculated way from the first. But perhaps I am being too harsh and unsympathetic. The tears could be that she is a variation on the other unhappy characters.
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