Bandini Question #16 - Honor

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Bandini Question #16 - Honor

Unread postby Liz » Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:55 am

On pg. 203 Svevo boasts to his friend Rocco that the widow has begged him to leave Maria and has offered to settle a sum of one hundred thousand dollars on him. ”No, Bandini told him, the proposition was out of the question. A hundred thousand would certainly go a long way toward solving his problems, but Rocco seemed to forget that there was a question of honor here, and Bandini had no desire to dishonor his wife and children for mere gold. Rocco groaned and tore his hair muttering curses.”

Do you think Svevo is really concerned about honoring his wife? Where does Svevo’s sense of honor come from?
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Betty Sue
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:48 am

I wasn't sure that Svevo was telling Rocco the truth about that offer. And I thought Svevo was a little late in expressing a desire not to dishonor his wife. :eyebrow: If the offer was made, I can certainly see Svevo turning it down. He'd be humiliated to be purchased by a woman. He would be furious to have a woman gain such control over him. I think he did love his family in his own way and definitely liked to think of himself as an honorable man.
So I don't think that concern for honoring his wife was Svevo's number one priority (by a long shot!! :-O ). And I'm not sure he had a true sense of honor, but he did want to appear honorable, probably because of his pride in his Italian heritage and the Church.
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Unread postby magpie » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:54 am

This is a little scary, answering first, but I'll try it! (Betty Sue posted while I was typing!)

No I don't think Svevo is really concerned about honoring his wife and family. His behavior from the time he was introduced has proven that over & over. Svevo must certainly have a different idea of honor and respect than I do.

Which brings me to the 2nd part of the question. As he defines honor completely different than I would, it's hard to answer. I think he does not want to "sell out" and that's how he views the widow's proposal. His sense of honor is coming from his heritage, and not feelings for his family.
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Unread postby gemini » Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:12 pm

I read that part the same way Betty Sue did. I thought Svevo was making that up to impress Rocco and it never happened.

The honor part was in Svevo's head again, trying to impress Rocco that his family comes first. He was thinking out loud what he would do in that situation.

As for true honor, I think Svevo missed the boat, he is lying to his friend and being disloyal to his wife and excusing himself through it all.
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Unread postby Liz » Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:35 pm

I think he was a little mixed up about the meaning of honor. I laughed when I read it. I think he thought it was OK to leave his wife and family for a short-lived affair, but that he would never permanently desert his family. I was wondering if it was a made-up story also.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:56 pm

Again with the male ego! :banghead: I think he was trying to impress Rocco that someone would offer him a large sum of money (proving his worth) and that he was man enough and honorable enough to turn it down. I don't think his wife had anything to do with it. I think it was all for show and some crocodile tears.
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Unread postby Parlez » Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:47 pm

Honor?? What a joke! Svevo had no honor, only pride. It was one of many inflated, egotisitcal feelings he managed be totally confused about as he attempted to put a lofty spin on his selfish actions. :mad:
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Unread postby Linda Lee » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:24 pm

We all seem to be of the same opinion, Svevo was not an honorable man. I thought he made up a story for Rocco about the widow wanting to marry him and being willing to settle $100,000 on him. He wanted Rocco to be impressed that he would turn down such a princely sum of money and return to his wife and children.
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Unread postby nebraska » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:41 pm

The honoring and dishonoring thing may have had something to do with the disgrace of divorce in the Catholic Church. If he were to leave Maria for Mrs H, he would "officially" dishonor Maria, while his adultery was more private dishonoring. :censored:

I tend to agree with those of you who think he made the story up to impress Rocco.

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Unread postby Liz » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:50 am

nebraska wrote:The honoring and dishonoring thing may have had something to do with the disgrace of divorce in the Catholic Church. If he were to leave Maria for Mrs H, he would "officially" dishonor Maria, while his adultery was more private dishonoring. :censored:


Oops. I forgot about that little issue, which really is a biggie.
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Unread postby suec » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:30 pm

I think also that he thinks the affair is secret, and that because he thinks Maria doesn't know, there is no dishonour - what she doesn't know won't hurt her. But leaving her brings other issues into play. I think also that he confuses honour with manhood.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:45 pm

I agree, suec. His manhood and his honor were tied together. It's such a foreign mindset to me, it's hard to relate.
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Unread postby stroch » Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:14 am

I think his main concern is his own sense of male power, which he equates with honor.

He is the man, the head of the household, and his will, his word, is law. If he dallies with other women, that is his prerogative.

If the widow settles money on him, it would impinge on his own honor, and by extension, his family's, because he would be ceding power to her. She would be the one in control.

He can be an adulterer with honor, but not a kept man.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Sep 22, 2007 3:46 pm

Interesting, stroch. Another take on Svevo's twisted sense of honor.
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Unread postby dharma_bum » Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:05 pm

I seems the only dishonorable thing to Svevo was getting caught…

I found Svevo a completely unreliable narrator. You see occasional glimpses of reality that show a different Svevo from the man he gives the reader when the book shifts to other character’s perceptions. In the last pages of the book, as witnessed by Arturo, Svevo acts deferential to a fault, calling the lover he supposedly made weep with his sexual prowess, “Mrs. Hildegarde.” She, in turn, treats him with complete condescension as if he was nothing more than a faceless servant. And while this may be the necessary public face of their relationship, I find it unlikely that their private moments had the shift in power Svevo describes. Maria’s reaction to the affair made me think that it was not his first, but the first to bring her public shame.

The $100,000 claim, made me laugh because it was so outrageous, but it also made me sad, because Svevo’s example had already helped Arturo become a skilled liar and thief.
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