Bandini Question #25 - Jumbo

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Bandini Question #25 - Jumbo

Unread postby Liz » Fri Sep 28, 2007 10:11 am

Do you think Jumbo had a purpose in the story? Or do you think he was just autobiographical?
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Unread postby nebraska » Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:04 pm

Jumbo showed us the real difference between Maria and Mrs. Hildegarde..... Arturo tells us that in spite of her initial protestations, Maria will be the dog's favorite -- gotta love somebody that dogs select to love best, animals are generally pretty savy when it comes to character. Mrs. Hildegarde on the other hand, was shown to be harsh and judgmental, even going on the attack against the boy who accompanied the dog, and Jumbo hated her immediately. Jumbo was a useful tool to cause the rift between Svevo and Mrs. Hildegarde so Svevo could go home. Taking care of Jumbo also showed a kinder, gentler side of Arturo.

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:28 pm

Love your answer, nebraska, especially how Jumbo pointed out the difference in the two women! He also showed how much Arturo had developed from being so cruel to animals to really admiring all of Jumbo's attributes and really connecting with him. Jumbo had been rejected by the other dogs. Arturo was feeling rejected. They needed each other and found each other. And spring was coming! It's probably stretching it to say that the story started with bitter cold and God being a dog, and ended with a melting snowflake and the dog being a god. :-? Yeah, I think I've gone too far! :eyebrow: But I think he had a purpose!
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:16 pm

I love your answer, too, Nebraska—especially since I hadn’t been going that direction with Jumbo. :cool:

I don’t think you’ve gone too far, Betty Sue. I was headed that direction; but I don’t want to go any further with my thoughts on that because I want to see what others have to say.
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Unread postby gemini » Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:40 pm

Yes I agree with everyone so far. I think Jumbo was sort of a turn around for Arturo. It started with Rosa's death and then his change in attitude towards animals . He has started to grow up. I think the point made about the difference between the two woman was a good point and the dog brought that to light. Jumbo was also the turning point for Svevo to see Mrs Hildegarde for what she was. He started out defending her from the dog and ended up seeing her true feeling for him through her distaste for dirty immigrants including their children and dogs. I think there is probably a connection between the snow melting, God, and the dog but its over my head. Where are those deep thinkers?
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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:27 pm

Nope, no deep thinking here! But I also thought about the God is a Dog statement at the beginning, and now here He is showing up as a real dog! His preference for Maria seems clear, as is His rejection by the 'world'...very sacrificial...and, of course, He is the catalyst for opening everyone's eyes to what's important in the end. Faith, Hope, and Charity! And Spring!
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:16 pm

I had the feeling it was intentional, the placement of a dog reference at the beginning and at the end. That is one reason I wanted to place these two questions close together...so I wouldn't forget I thought they were related. :lol: Without getting into the very last few lines of the book...which we will be doing soon...I agree that the appearance of the dog is a good omen. In the beginning he is cursing God and now the dog appears to heal wounds and show the widow for what she is allowing them to return to a more "normal" life.

Good catch, nebraska, about the difference in the dog's attitude towards the two women.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:03 pm

Parlez wrote:Nope, no deep thinking here! But I also thought about the God is a Dog statement at the beginning, and now here He is showing up as a real dog! His preference for Maria seems clear, as is His rejection by the 'world'...very sacrificial...and, of course, He is the catalyst for opening everyone's eyes to what's important in the end. Faith, Hope, and Charity! And Spring!


Oh, Parlez, I like that! (Very deep thinking indeed! :hatsoff: ) I guess a dog can be God-like; he's man's best friend! :cloud9:
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:05 pm

Parlez wrote: His preference for Maria seems clear, as is His rejection by the 'world'...very sacrificial...

Nope. No deep thinking there at all. :rolleyes: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

What I had been thinking was that we started out with Svevo calling God a dog when the world looked so bleak and then ended up with a ray of hope, brought on by the dog that God sent to Arturo to bring their family back together.
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Unread postby suec » Sat Sep 29, 2007 3:54 am

I think the dog is a deus ex machina (god from a machine). In some Greek theatre, the play was ended by a god lowered to the stage, who intervened in the lives of the human beings and solved their problems. It is a term applied to any narrative device which is forced and impropable by which a hard-pressed author resolves his plot, according to my dictionary.

Except I don't think Fante is hard-pressed at all. There has been a debate in the book about responsibility - who to blame and who to thank to borrow someone's phrase from another thread. Here, I think it is a case of God helping those who help themselves - of helping others. Arturo, instead of torturing an animal, takes it in and nurtures it. He goes off to fetch his father, facing his fear, because of his concern for his mother. Lo and behold, the dog's actions save the day and Svevo returns home. Actions have consequences. Here, positive actions are rewarded.
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