ATD Question #2 - $8

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fansmom
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Re: ATD Question #2 - $8

Unread postby fansmom » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:38 pm

Liz wrote:
fansmom wrote:
Linda Lee wrote: Another possibility is he doesn't think she is capable of understanding the conditions necessary to commit mortal sin, which means you can't commit the sin.
Oooh, that's good. I like that explanation.

I find this an interesting way to look at it also because I believe that to be true…..that if you are unaware that something is wrong, then it is not because the intent is not there. However, I find it hard to believe that she was that naïve. On the other hand, I can believe that Arturo might have convinced himself of that.
Yeah, when I said I liked that explanation, I meant I thought it was the way Arturo would think, not that I thought it was true.

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Unread postby Linda Lee » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:43 pm

Yes, Arturo was young and inexperienced, but I think even with all his rationalizing his religion is a part of him. He protests that he is an atheist but at first opportunity calls on God to help, bargains with God to get him out of the situation. I am not saying he is a good Catholic only that certain ideas and morals are a part of him because of his mother and Catholic school.

An example:
p25
My God I got to get out of here, this is terrible.
The girl sat beside me.....I jumped to my feet. Oh think fast, my mind, dear mind of mine get me out of this and it will never happen again. From now on I will return to my Church. Beginning this day my life shall run like sweet water.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby gemini » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:51 pm

When you ladies brought up whether Arturo was talking down to the prostitute, it made me think of Arturo's insecurity complex.
I think Parlez hit on something with that sentence about considerig journalist as "selling his mind" and comparing it to the hooker selling her body.
Nebraska touches on it too with.....
"Arturo flip flops constantly between seeing himself as Bandini the Magnificent and just plain Arturo a worthless loser. "

He tries to think himself above the hooker as an experienced writer doing so well money is no object, but still feels like the dirty little Arturo that was made fun of in school for being a poor immigrant. He sees her apartment as dirty but feels guilty about it too.
Feeling superior makes him feel like he is a success but he still remembers where he came from and it haunts him. I think we will get into this a lot more when we discuss his relationship with Camilla.
"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 gemini » Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:56 pm

Linda Lee wrote:Yes, Arturo was young and inexperienced, but I think even with all his rationalizing his religion is a part of him. He protests that he is an atheist but at first opportunity calls on God to help, bargains with God to get him out of the situation. I am not saying he is a good Catholic only that certain ideas and morals are a part of him because of his mother and Catholic school.

An example:
p25
My God I got to get out of here, this is terrible.
The girl sat beside me.....I jumped to my feet. Oh think fast, my mind, dear mind of mine get me out of this and it will never happen again. From now on I will return to my Church. Beginning this day my life shall run like sweet water.


I do agree with you Linda Lee. I think you are right that he is still very religious and still believes it even though he says otherwise. I just don't think it was so much religion that stopped him from following through with the hooker as fear and inexperience. He never let religion stop him from sinning as a teenager and I think he believed in it then too.
"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 DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:51 pm

Sorry to be AWOL today, Noodlemantras, real life just gets in the way sometimes... :banghead: You all have made some very good points about Arturo's view of himself and how he treats others. There are so many layers here. I think as we progress in the discussion questions, we just might get a handle on him? :eyebrow:
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: ATD Question #2 - $8

Unread postby Liz » Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:44 pm

fansmom wrote:
Liz wrote:
fansmom wrote:
Linda Lee wrote: Another possibility is he doesn't think she is capable of understanding the conditions necessary to commit mortal sin, which means you can't commit the sin.
Oooh, that's good. I like that explanation.

I find this an interesting way to look at it also because I believe that to be true…..that if you are unaware that something is wrong, then it is not because the intent is not there. However, I find it hard to believe that she was that naïve. On the other hand, I can believe that Arturo might have convinced himself of that.
Yeah, when I said I liked that explanation, I meant I thought it was the way Arturo would think, not that I thought it was true.

Oh yes, I figured that.

Gemini wrote:I just don't think it was so much religion that stopped him from following through with the hooker as fear and inexperience.

I think it was more about fear and inexperience also.
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 suec » Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:32 pm

Firstly, the incident reminded me very much of the first book. It seems an echo of Svevo and Hildegard - the nervousness & uncertainty and a glimmering of macho pride: "At least she had asked him. At least she had identified him as a man". I also thought it was an echo of the locket stealing moment: this gift of money, that he knows must indicate his father is in trouble if his mother has had to sell something for it. And he details what he could buy with the money; the rent for two and a half weeks, for example. But he squanders most of it it in an encounter he can't carry through. I was quite angry with him for that, and I thought, nothing changes.

I think overall, it indicates the difficulties of connecting with another person - and I don't mean physically. He can't have a proper conversation with her and this bit is, well, almost tragicomedy:'I knew you were a writer,' she said. 'Or a business man, or something. You look spiritual, honey.' Well, here he is paying for it, and in any case, his motives and real desires are another thing, anyway. But there are a number of abortive attempts to connect with other people in the book, in one way or another.

I think part of the problem also is the huge gap between fantasy and reality. He likes to romanticise and put women on a pedestal and think of them as being princesses. He refers to the girl this way, as well as Camilla. Also, his motives for changing his mind and reurning to her are interesting. He plays the fantasy in his mind and imagines himself as the writer drawing on life in the raw. I think he has got it the wrong way round. That good writing comes from what is true. This is a guess, but I think that it is what he may be referring to when he describes the girl as being cleaner than him. He mentions the word at various point later in the book. One time, he cries his heart out and feels cleaner for it. Of course, it may also be the religios element too.
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Unread postby Liz » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:51 pm

suec wrote:Firstly, the incident reminded me very much of the first book. It seems an echo of Svevo and Hildegard - the nervousness & uncertainty and a glimmering of macho pride: "At least she had asked him. At least she had identified him as a man". I also thought it was an echo of the locket stealing moment: this gift of money, that he knows must indicate his father is in trouble if his mother has had to sell something for it. And he details what he could buy with the money; the rent for two and a half weeks, for example. But he squanders most of it it in an encounter he can't carry through. I was quite angry with him for that, and I thought, nothing changes.

Good analogy! I hadn’t thought of that. We will be making some other comparisons to Wait Until Spring, Bandini later on in the discussion.

suec wrote: He likes to romanticise and put women on a pedestal and think of them as being princesses. He refers to the girl this way, as well as Camilla.

This too is something I hadn’t picked up on. But he is a bit of a romantic (well, in his way). What I mean to say is that he has a romantic or idealistic outlook on life….but only so far as it suits him or makes him feel like “the man”. And I think the idea of clean equating to authenticity a really good one. If anyone has any other ideas on the "clean" metaphor, please speak up.
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 fansmom » Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:26 pm

fansmom wrote:So I don't know what to think. Is this scene archetypal? It happens so often to adolescent males that every second man on the street has had an encounter like this? (Or at least they did in the 1930's and 40's.) Do I need to write an essay on conflict and sexuality in early 20th century coming-of-age novels?
Yep, I'm quoting myself.

I just read another early 20th century coming-of-age book with an adolescent male protagonist, but this one was a memoir. It's "A Time of Gifts", by Patrick Fermor, and it is superb, IMHO. Part of it reminded me of our discussion of Arturo's interaction with the prostitute.
http://www.amazon.com/Time-Gifts-Consta ... 011&sr=8-1
In the 1930's, as Hitler rose to power, a 19-year-old Fermor walked from Holland to Constantinople, and while in the Balkans, he came across a hillside with a "bad reputation," which turned out to be lined with "harlot's nests." He does give some explanation as to why he doesn't patronize them: the inevitable retribution would be "no nose before the year was out," but he admits to being simultaneously attracted and repelled.

Fermor's prose is as different as possible from Fante or Salinger, but I think he is (yes, he's over 90 and still writing) an astoundingly descriptive writer.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:38 pm

Shades of The Libertine. Thanks, fansmom for coming back to that question and posting the information. That sounds like ANOTHER good author to read!
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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