Bandini Question #21 ~ The Rosary for Rosa

by John Fante

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dharma_bum
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Unread postby dharma_bum » Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:51 am

I agree that the voice we hear in this passage isn’t consistent with Arturo’s voice.

I think it’s interesting that when someone dies young, they are frozen in a kind of perfection because they have not lived enough to get knocked around by life. While I think a little damage makes for a much more interesting person in the flesh… there is a saint-like quality conferred to someone who didn’t have the time to accumulate much sin.

Writing has much the same effect as death. By committing a character to paper, the wirter condemns them to “live” a certain way forever without redemption… ad infinitum.
"You can't broom out your head. You certainly can't broom out your heart. And there's a hot wire between them, and everything shows in the eyes."
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:50 am

Which makes reading Ask the Dust even more interesting. I hope you all are planning to join us for the future adventures of Arturo! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Bandini Question #21 ~ The Rosary for Rosa

Unread postby fansmom » Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:14 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: He was there that Sunday afternoon, kneeling with his classmates at the Blessed Virgin’s Altar. Far down in front, their dark heads raised to the waxen Madonna, were Rosa’s parents. . .

. . . because I love you and I will love you forever, and when they gather on some tomorrow for me, then I shall have known it even before they gather, and it will not be strange to us.

What do you think of Arturo’s thoughts?

Elusive, isn't it? It's a slippery quote: you think you have it, and then it's gone.

Since these were his thoughts at Rosa's funeral, I thought the "when they gather. . .for me" was referring to a funeral gathering for Arturo in the distant future, and that he was saying that each death we encounter before our own makes death less strange to us. A little bit like "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

And when I read it, I also thought it was Fante's thoughts, not Arturo's, because the thoughts were so unlike those of the rat-crucifying, cameo-throwing little @#$ in the rest of the book.

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Re: Bandini Question #21 ~ The Rosary for Rosa

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:04 pm

fansmom wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: He was there that Sunday afternoon, kneeling with his classmates at the Blessed Virgin’s Altar. Far down in front, their dark heads raised to the waxen Madonna, were Rosa’s parents. . .

. . . because I love you and I will love you forever, and when they gather on some tomorrow for me, then I shall have known it even before they gather, and it will not be strange to us.

What do you think of Arturo’s thoughts?

Elusive, isn't it? It's a slippery quote: you think you have it, and then it's gone.

Since these were his thoughts at Rosa's funeral, I thought the "when they gather. . .for me" was referring to a funeral gathering for Arturo in the distant future, and that he was saying that each death we encounter before our own makes death less strange to us. A little bit like "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

And when I read it, I also thought it was Fante's thoughts, not Arturo's, because the thoughts were so unlike those of the rat-crucifying, cameo-throwing little @#$ in the rest of the book.


I am really not trying to be argumentative here, but I sometimes feel like I am alone in having any sympathy whatsoever for either Arturo or Maria. I actually identified with a lot of what was in the story, I have lived a good deal of it myself. :-/

As the mother of three rather unruly boys, who are now responsible productive grown men, I can attest that a boy can be crucifying frogs one minute and staying up until midnight on Christmas Eve to see the joy in Mom's eyes when she opens the music box he bought for her with his paper route money. Same kid. :-? When the adult Fante wrote the book, he may have been able to express some of his thoughts more clearly than he was able to understand his feelings as a child , just as he may have been able to find the exact words to convey the pain and the horror in other scenes that might have just been an emotional blur to him as a child. I think if one was to really look at how well-crafted some of those scenes are, with the layers of meaning (such as the Tony for supper scene) you would have to agree the book as a whole reflected the man's understanding of the child's life.



.

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Re: Bandini Question #21 ~ The Rosary for Rosa

Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:38 pm

nebraska wrote:
fansmom wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote: He was there that Sunday afternoon, kneeling with his classmates at the Blessed Virgin’s Altar. Far down in front, their dark heads raised to the waxen Madonna, were Rosa’s parents. . .

. . . because I love you and I will love you forever, and when they gather on some tomorrow for me, then I shall have known it even before they gather, and it will not be strange to us.

What do you think of Arturo’s thoughts?

Elusive, isn't it? It's a slippery quote: you think you have it, and then it's gone.

Since these were his thoughts at Rosa's funeral, I thought the "when they gather. . .for me" was referring to a funeral gathering for Arturo in the distant future, and that he was saying that each death we encounter before our own makes death less strange to us. A little bit like "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

And when I read it, I also thought it was Fante's thoughts, not Arturo's, because the thoughts were so unlike those of the rat-crucifying, cameo-throwing little @#$ in the rest of the book.


I am really not trying to be argumentative here, but I sometimes feel like I am alone in having any sympathy whatsoever for either Arturo or Maria. I actually identified with a lot of what was in the story, I have lived a good deal of it myself. :-/

As the mother of three rather unruly boys, who are now responsible productive grown men, I can attest that a boy can be crucifying frogs one minute and staying up until midnight on Christmas Eve to see the joy in Mom's eyes when she opens the music box he bought for her with his paper route money. Same kid. :-? When the adult Fante wrote the book, he may have been able to express some of his thoughts more clearly than he was able to understand his feelings as a child , just as he may have been able to find the exact words to convey the pain and the horror in other scenes that might have just been an emotional blur to him as a child. I think if one was to really look at how well-crafted some of those scenes are, with the layers of meaning (such as the Tony for supper scene) you would have to agree the book as a whole reflected the man's understanding of the child's life.


You aren't alone, Nebraska. As much as I abhor his treatment of animals, I believe that people can change. And I believe that the poor boy was going through a lot during that time--puberty, poverty, puppy love, neglect and turmoil between his parents. And I think that it is obvious that Fante did not take this period in his life lightly or he wouldn't be writing about it in such an emotional way.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:54 pm

Nebraska, I've been understanding and agreeing with your sympathy for Arturo and Maria. Don't know if I've expressed it, but I chalk up a lot of Arturo's nastiness to his age and situation. Actually, I thought it was pretty hilarious at the beginning when he expressed his hatred and loathing for everything from his mother, to soap and water, to eggs, to a comb, to his face... When this 'hardened character' showed great tenderness to every member of his family and Rosa later in the story, it was that much more touching.
And Maria exasperated me in that she was so limited in taking some control in the family, but I felt she was a victim of those times and her culture. And I admired her positive nature, her lack of whining and her faith.
Yeah, Fante is man/boy...makes the story verrrry interesting! :cool:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:50 am

nebraska, I don't think you are alone in those sentiments at all. I too have sympathy for both Arturo and Maria but I just get exasperated with both of them sometimes! I think they were victims of their circumstances in many ways and I try not to judge them by modern standards. As the mother of two boys I just want to get a hold of Arturo and straighten that boy out! I'd like to take Maria aside and have a woman to woman talk with her and try to give her some encouragement.

fansmom, you expressed very well the thoughts and that passage that I couldn't put into words.
:cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby suec » Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:45 pm

nebraska, I have sympathy for them, althugh I never got around to saying it. I can understand why Maria makes the choices she does sometimes, such as not dealing with her mother. Such things are easier said than done. I recognise some of her problems and reactions, having seen them close at hand. At the same time, I think she adds to her problems - but then again, so do they all - and so do a lot of people generally. I think it is a theme of the book. But certainly, seeing the situation she is in, she is someone for whom I can feel sympathy.

Likewise Arturo. Although I have said that he does some monstrous things, I don't see him as a monster. When he says, "a fellow can't be so bad if he loves a girl so good as you", I agree with him. It is a redeeming feature that is there very early on- and not the only one in the book. It is there when he feels shame for his lustful thoughts about Rosa; when he looks for his father; when he puts a glass of water by his mother's bed; and when he is so very desperate to protect his parent(s) from August's determination to reveal the affair. I think it's interesting that he says there is no hate where she is now because it is the emotion he has expressed so often, and there is that explicit rejection of it. I guess visions of heaven can be very personal as well. So I don't find his thoughts and feelings all that out of character: it's just the style, and the fact that the passage reminded me of the preface.

Having said that, I am going to find it hard to justify that similarity. I like fansmom's comment about thinking you have it and then it's gone!

DIDHOT, it was the references to dreams and memory that caught my attention:
" this would already be a memory... a memory out of life before it had even been lived / melodious memory..."
" a dream of your presence / in a half dream I will entwine it in phrase".
Memory can seem like a dream - and vice versa. When Arturo imagines his own demise, creating it in his mind, he is creating a memory of it. There has been something nagging at the back of my mind all along about this book, and I think it is the dream-like quality of it at times.
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Unread postby gemini » Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:14 pm

I wasn't going to comment on this one because I am so far away from everyone else's opinion but I will try.
I thought Arturo was continuing in his dream life when he had these thoughts. It is a continuation of the dream life he lived with Rosa when she was alive. She was a real person but he loved her in his mind from a distance. I think his thoughts might be his saving grace as her death made enough of an impression on him to see things differently and he has matured.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

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Unread postby Parlez » Wed Sep 26, 2007 3:09 pm

For me this story was like a glimpse into the worst dysfunctional family ever! Everything that could go wrong went wrong and nobody did a thing to stop it. It seemed unfathomable to me that a family could self-destruct in such a deliberate way. The times were tough, that's true. But this family seemed determined to disable itself and not survive their circumstances regardless. The kids had no boundaries, the adults were pathetically unsuited for each other or for parenting, and the whole relentless victimization theme drove me nuts. Ergo, I had a hard time feeling sympathetic. Rather, what I felt was a mixture of impatience, frustration, and dread. I kept going back to the preface, just to remind myself that the author did, in fact, get out of there and lived to tell the tale!
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Re: Bandini Question #21 ~ The Rosary for Rosa

Unread postby fansmom » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:25 pm

nebraska wrote:As the mother of three rather unruly boys, who are now responsible productive grown men, I can attest that a boy can be crucifying frogs one minute and staying up until midnight on Christmas Eve to see the joy in Mom's eyes when she opens the music box he bought for her with his paper route money. Same kid. :-?
Nebraska, I sometimes think about how different the last 19 years of my life would have been if I'd had a son (or sons) instead of one well-behaved daughter (who says she sometimes thinks that she is my clone). :lol:


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