Bandini Question #27 - What's the Point?

by John Fante

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Liz
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:50 pm

Db, I hadn’t thought of it that way. But looking back on the book now, I see what you are saying. And those are true and wise words about love. :ohyes:

Parlez, I felt the same way as you when I finished the book. I found it rather depressing because I didn’t feel like anything would get better for any of them. Waiting until spring wasn’t really going to change their standard of living, how they thought about themselves or how they interacted with each other. But having gone through this discussion with all of you, I see more hope in the story because of the insights that have been shared here.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby gemini » Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:02 pm

Parlez wrote:Maybe I missed something, but I didn't see this as a happily ever after story at all! I was left with the feeling that life for the Bandini family didn't, in fact, morph into something new or better or happier or more lovingly refined. The status-quo was re-established with Svevo being returned to the family, but Fante doesn't reveal what that means in terms of any real change, internally or externally, for the characters. He leaves it up to the reader to imagine, or project, where the story goes from that point.
For me, the story is important for it's slice of life-ness; it's glimpse into one parenthetical piece of time. We are left with the awareness that life does, indeed, go on - seasons change, time advances - but I got the feeling these characters were still going to be doing a lot of waiting for things like growth and deliverance and movement and catharsis. Hence the title.

Yes i agree, Parlez, there is no where he mentions happily ever after. Back to the staus-quo sums it up pretty well. They survivied this season with probably a few larger problems like Mrs Hildegueard but Svevo's other problems like spending his money at the bar and insisting on being the lord and master over his family probably stayed the same. People don't change thier strips so easily.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Unread postby dharma_bum » Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:22 am

I absolutely didn't see a happily ever after, but I did marvel at how adaptable the Bandinis become to dysfunction. Even the worst damage, and Svevo and Maria were world class abusers, healed like Svevos face... mostly unnoticeable to the world at large. The deep and hidden scars will proably haunt Arturo throughout Ask the Dust.
"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."
—Johnny Depp

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:53 am

Their disfunction did seem to be their norm and their reality.
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 nebraska » Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:56 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Their disfunction did seem to be their norm and their reality.


And if it was their norm, was it truly as dysfunctional as some seem to think? :-? In the status quo, everyone knew what their role was and how to play it. The real crisis came when Svevo left the house and upset the usual balance of things. To suddenly plunge this family into a "normal" mold would debilitate it. Perhaps, with the family together again, they might have been happier ever after than you would think.

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:51 pm

Although I agree with dharma_bum that Arturo will have lasting scars to deal with, I agree with you, nebraska, that they could end up happier than we may think. We all have problems to deal with on a daily basis (well, I think everyone else does, too! :eyebrow: ). I remember a college professor saying, "Life is problem solving." I was horrified at the time because I was expecting a 'happily ever after'! Now I feel that everyone encounters problems, and that one's attitude has more to do with happiness than anything else. And Svevo and Arturo were thinking positively!
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:15 pm

nebraska wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Their dysfunction did seem to be their norm and their reality.


And if it was their norm, was it truly as dysfunctional as some seem to think? :-? In the status quo, everyone knew what their role was and how to play it. The real crisis came when Svevo left the house and upset the usual balance of things. To suddenly plunge this family into a "normal" mold would debilitate it. Perhaps, with the family together again, they might have been happier ever after than you would think.


That's sort of what I was trying to say in a not very clear way. :lol: They were returning to their normal. I don't think there is a "normal" or should be one for that matter. A relative once described our larger family as a whole as dysfunctional but I said I thought "normal" was a myth, we are all normal and shouldn't feel we have to live up to the Ozzie and Harriet standard!
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 dharma_bum » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:58 pm

I find Ozzy and Harriet an equally horrifying state of family as total dysfunction. Life is problem solving, and that’s what Arturo has come to realize. He has emerged accepting his family’s abnormal normality instead of fighting against it’s very existence. By learning to accept what he couldn’t change he transformed from a selfish child to a fledgling adult.

However, I can’t ignore Svevo’s callous disregard for his family so that he could feel more of a man. And I can’t ignore Maria’s indulgent martyrdom that swapped pity for love. Both those actions caused unnecessary pain.
"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."

—Johnny Depp


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