Page 1 of 2

Bandini Question #27 - What's the Point?

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 11:00 am
by Liz
What is Fante’s message to the reader?

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:51 pm
by Betty Sue
This never struck me as a 'message' story. I just felt that Fante had a great story to tell and that, perhaps, it was cathartic. Of course, in the process, he sent some powerful messages about having compassion, about how people can change, about having hope under dire circumstances. He gave insights into the thinking of immigrants and Catholics....and kids!
To fellow writers he gave the message that an emotional journey can produce a great writer. And write what you know. :cool:

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:56 pm
by nebraska
Great answer, Betty Sue! I was thinking something similar, that it doesn't really have to have a "point" -- it was good reading, an extremely well written book! I have seldom read anything that grabbed me so completely on an emotional level so rapidly.

Each of us has a story to tell, some more dramatic than others, some are more capable of telling the story than others. I don't know that any of our stories have a "Point" except that life is interesting and people are complex. We had some very good discussions here, there were some thought-provoking ideas that came from reading this book. But I don't know if there was any particular moral or point to it -- unless it would be to show that no matter how bad things get, there is always hope.

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:14 pm
by Liz
Thanks for starting us off again, Betty Sue. You’ve made some very good points. I think it was very cathartic for him. And this is so very true:

Betty Sue wrote:To fellow writers he gave the message that an emotional journey can produce a great writer. And write what you know. :cool:


nebraska wrote:Great answer, Betty Sue! I was thinking something similar, that it doesn't really have to have a "point" -- it was good reading, an extremely well written book! I have seldom read anything that grabbed me so completely on an emotional level so rapidly.

Each of us has a story to tell, some more dramatic than others, some are more capable of telling the story than others. I don't know that any of our stories have a "Point" except that life is interesting and people are complex. We had some very good discussions here, there were some thought-provoking ideas that came from reading this book. But I don't know if there was any particular moral or point to it -- unless it would be to show that no matter how bad things get, there is always hope.


I tend to think that all stories are supposed to have a point. But I know that not all do. I feel he might have had more than one purpose in writing this story, which you've both listed:

• The desire to tell the story of immigrants and Catholics

• To express that there is always hope

• A catharsis

Any others?

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 3:45 pm
by gemini
There are many points to be made in a story. Some are not wisdom to live by but a lesson in real life. I think Fante was telling of the hardships of immigrants in this country and what they had to endure. He just has a more personal view.

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:51 pm
by suec
First of all, this is a book that I have grown to love (though I can't claim to have done so from the start, finding myself inside the head of Svevo!) But it a very moving story, stunningly written, and I have thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it and dicussing it here.
I would say that there is a message that I take from this story that he shares with us. I think it's about looking things squarely in the face, and dealing with them.
I think he shows us some characters, warts and all, but also the positive things about them. He seems to me to be writing with incredible truth, incredible honesty. At least, that is how it feels to me. He allows us to look at them close up, walk around in their heads, get to know them: their ugliness, vulnerability, hopes and dreams, delusions and so forth. By the end, I come to terms with them.
They have to come to terms too, with what and who they are, and take responsibility for their actions and each other. They have to look at themselves and their lives honestly and fully, and then take what they can from that, and find the hope that is founded in reakity. Until that happens, there's a lot of unhappiness.

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 4:52 pm
by DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
I suppose one point, perhaps unintentional, would be that he is an inspiration to other writers. To come from the background and the experiences he had a child and to go on to be a published author is quite a feat. I do think the book was a catharsis for him. Perhaps, as we discussed, that is why he never wanted to read it again.

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:56 pm
by fansmom
Liz wrote:I think it was very cathartic for him.
The introduction certainly made me think it was cathartic for him, as though he had sealed that part of his childhood in a box and didn't want to look at it ever again.

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:38 pm
by Betty Sue
Suec, I like what you said about the stark honesty with which he portrayed his characters, "warts and all." It certainly made for interesting reading :-O , and I think people find hope and strength in learning that others may have thoughts and actions and circumstances just as dark and dastardly as their own, yet can survive. Some people, especially the young, can't imagine anyone worse, or worse off, than themselves. As you said, Fante realllllly lets us know all about his family!

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:28 pm
by nebraska
Betty Sue wrote:Suec, I like what you said about the stark honesty with which he portrayed his characters, "warts and all." It certainly made for interesting reading :-O , and I think people find hope and strength in learning that others may have thoughts and actions and circumstances just as dark and dastardly as their own, yet can survive. Some people, especially the young, can't imagine anyone worse, or worse off, than themselves. As you said, Fante realllllly lets us know all about his family!


One thing I have learned in my life is that there is nothing as horrible as dealing with a problem when you think you are the only one. And there is nothing as liberating as finding out that is not the case. Whether it is suffering the grief of a parent who has had to bury a child, or dealing with a family member stricken with alcoholism, or any of a number of difficult things I have faced with in my life -- knowing that I am not the only one has been the most comforting thing I know. Once I am past the burden of feeling like I am somehow unique in my situation, I find all of it easier to handle.

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:48 pm
by Linda Lee
I thought one message of the story was to value family. Svevo placed more value on his when he thought he had lost them, by having the affair with the widow.

Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 10:20 pm
by Parlez
Hmmm...the point? Well, it certainly wasn't to entertain! :lol:
Maybe to transport the reader to a different time and place...
Maybe, like many American writers of that era, the point was to 'tell it like it is'. There's a sense (for me) of the author not wanting to pull any punches, but rather to tell a story that comes across as brutally honest and real.

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:38 am
by dharma_bum
To me, Fante message was about the destructive path of unrequited love… That what we love should ultimately define us more than what loves us back, and dwelling too much on the later turns reluctant adults into selfish children and selfish children into reluctant adults. The Bandini family did adapt, survive and emerge differently.

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:29 am
by fansmom
Parlez wrote:Hmmm...the point? Well, it certainly wasn't to entertain! :lol:
Did you not find it entertaining? :eyebrow:

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:59 am
by Parlez
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.