ATD Question #14 - More to Analyze

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ATD Question #14 - More to Analyze

Unread postby Liz » Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:08 am

Pg. 105:

A knock on the window. Someone was knocking on the window of that house obscured by heavy vines. I turned and found the window, saw a head; the flash of teeth, the black hair, the leer, the gesturing long fingers. What was that thunder in my belly: And how shall I prevent that paralysis of thought, and that inundation of blood making my senses reel? But I want this! I shall die without it! So I’m coming you woman in the window; you fascinate me, you kill me dead with delight and shudder and joy, and here I come, up these rickety stairs.

So what’s the use of repentance, and what do you care for goodness, and what if you should die in a quake, so who the hell cares? So I walked downtown, so these were the high buildings, so let the earthquake come, let it bury me and my sins, so who the hell cares? No good to God or man, die one way or another, a quake or a hanging, it didn’t matter why or when or how.


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

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:38 am

Hmmmm... I can think of several possibilities. One is that he had been on a bit of a high, having lived through an earthquake and plunged himself into piety. This is inevitably followed by a low. So now he feels like just doing whatever will raise his spirits again, namely encountering Camilla. Fortunately, his desperation also leads him to the idea of writing a novel about Vera, something that will definitely have a positive effect on him.
Another thought is that he's just experiencing somewhat normal human fluctuations or normal human ignoring of conscience (which he may do a little more extremely than most). He always seems a bit depressed, unable to live up to his own standards, so then he gives up for awhile before he feels guilt and vows to try again.
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Unread postby Parlez » Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:12 pm

Well, it sounds like it's back to the wasteland for Arturo!
I get the feeling he wants to be a mystic - ascetic, lofty and inspired - but he's not. His hedonistic tendencies get the better of him every time. Here, in this passage, he's claiming not to care, with a nice, convenient nihilistic p.o.v..
Here he goes again!
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Unread postby gemini » Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:44 pm

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness in which a person's mood can swing dramatically from deep depression to intense highs, or "mania." I know I am not qualified to make a diagnoses but the more I read the more I wonder if he and Camilla don't both have this problem.. I realize using religion as his conscience is common but Arturo seems to go to the limits in all his moods. I agree he may be a little lovesick over Camilla but his ups and downs in their relationship area are also extreme.
What is most unexplainable to me is that in his lowest points of turmoil he seems to go into automatic for writing inspiration.
Maybe I am too hard on him and all talented people are running on a different level than us average Joe's.
Last edited by gemini on Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread postby Liz » Thu Nov 29, 2007 2:20 pm

Parlez wrote:Well, it sounds like it's back to the wasteland for Arturo!
I get the feeling he wants to be a mystic - ascetic, lofty and inspired - but he's not. His hedonistic tendencies get the better of him every time. Here, in this passage, he's claiming not to care, with a nice, convenient nihilistic p.o.v..
Here he goes again!

Yes, Parlez, here he goes again. :banghead: Both you and Betty Sue have expressed it well. He seems to be headed back to that vicious circle of guilt/repentance/sin again that he does so well. :lol:

gemini wrote:What is most unexplainable to me is that in his lowest points of turmoil he seems to go into automatic for writing inspiration.
Maybe I am too hard on him and all talented people are running on a different level than us average Joe's.

Gemini, you could be on to something here. He is just writing, rambling on, which he does quite often. Maybe we take him too seriously when he’s on a rant. If any of you journal you probably know that you can write just about anything…..it’s just you and the pen and the paper. Journaling or writing is a way to get out your pent up feelings so that you don’t act upon them. It also helps to work out conflicts within oneself. We can also think things in our heads sometimes that we wouldn’t dare carry out or voice to others. Of course, the reading public can see his thoughts here. But I’m not sure he cares.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:57 pm

Liz wrote:
gemini wrote:What is most unexplainable to me is that in his lowest points of turmoil he seems to go into automatic for writing inspiration.
Maybe I am too hard on him and all talented people are running on a different level than us average Joe's.

Gemini, you could be on to something here. He is just writing, rambling on, which he does quite often. Maybe we take him too seriously when he’s on a rant. If any of you journal you probably know that you can write just about anything…..it’s just you and the pen and the paper. Journaling or writing is a way to get out your pent up feelings so that you don’t act upon them. It also helps to work out conflicts within oneself. We can also think things in our heads sometimes that we wouldn’t dare carry out or voice to others. Of course, the reading public can see his thoughts here. But I’m not sure he cares.

Good thought! We might be reading his overly dramatic rants of which we're all capable....but usually do in private! Writers amaze me with the way they they'll reveal so much about themselves! :-O Don't think he's bi-polar; he functions pretty well and doesn't ever seem that manic. I just think his overall life circumstances leave him on the depressed side.
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Unread postby fansmom » Thu Nov 29, 2007 5:35 pm

Betty Sue wrote:I just think his overall life circumstances leave him on the depressed side.
Young, separated from his (dysfunctional) family, never having seen a healthy relationship, friendless, sometimes unable to afford food, insecure in his writing abilities--what's he got to be depressed about?

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Unread postby Parlez » Thu Nov 29, 2007 7:22 pm

fansmom wrote:
Betty Sue wrote:I just think his overall life circumstances leave him on the depressed side.
Young, separated from his (dysfunctional) family, never having seen a healthy relationship, friendless, sometimes unable to afford food, insecure in his writing abilities--what's he got to be depressed about?

:lol: No kidding! Life couldn't be sweeter, right?!
I suppose someone in Arturo's shoes would have to either bolster his own ego with high-minded, egocentric self-talk or else completely cave.
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Unread postby Liz » Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:37 pm

Parlez wrote:
fansmom wrote:
Betty Sue wrote:I just think his overall life circumstances leave him on the depressed side.
Young, separated from his (dysfunctional) family, never having seen a healthy relationship, friendless, sometimes unable to afford food, insecure in his writing abilities--what's he got to be depressed about?

:lol: No kidding! Life couldn't be sweeter, right?!
I suppose someone in Arturo's shoes would have to either bolster his own ego with high-minded, egocentric self-talk or else completely cave.


You mean like he is prone to do? :lol:

Here is what confuses me about this passage more than anything….

It is the order of the events or thoughts. Prior to this passage on the beginning of the page he is walking through town, worried about the high rises, goes to church, feels refreshed in his soul. Then he appears to see Camilla through the window. And then all of a sudden he’s heading back downtown having these depressing thoughts. Then on the following page he comes up with the idea to write a story about Vera, causing him to be up again and hammers away at that for hours.

Did he really see Camilla at the window or just in his head? And if so, did he let her in or did he ignore her?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Unread postby gemini » Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:38 pm

Liz wrote:
gemini wrote:What is most unexplainable to me is that in his lowest points of turmoil he seems to go into automatic for writing inspiration.
Maybe I am too hard on him and all talented people are running on a different level than us average Joe's.

Gemini, you could be on to something here. He is just writing, rambling on, which he does quite often. Maybe we take him too seriously when he’s on a rant. If any of you journal you probably know that you can write just about anything…..it’s just you and the pen and the paper. Journaling or writing is a way to get out your pent up feelings so that you don’t act upon them. It also helps to work out conflicts within oneself. We can also think things in our heads sometimes that we wouldn’t dare carry out or voice to others. Of course, the reading public can see his thoughts here. But I’m not sure he cares.


I do agree Liz that in the book we get to see his thoughts which are much more revealing than what is said out loud. He does say some things out loud that make me wonder, especially to Camilla.

Some things he thinks like "This Mexican Trash!" fit with your point of mental ranting but then he lets it slip out. Like when she says she can't see him she has another engagement, he says. You'll see me, to her. Then he yells out for the bar, You'll see me! You little insolent beerhall twirp!." Then he goes back to mental thinking with "Your GD right she will see me. And she wasn't so good that she could excuse herself from a date with Arturo Bandini. This is more than just an inferiority or superiority complex, he has a problem.
(The same one Pappa Bandini had- is bipolar heridity?)
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Unread postby Liz » Thu Nov 29, 2007 10:11 pm

You've got a point there, Gemini. He does say a lot of stuff out loud. But I don't think of him or his dad as bipolar. I think he just has no restraint and is very egostical. He also has a chip on his shoulder. Both of these qualities can be attributed to his dad. I think the reason I don't feel they are bipolar is because neither one has extreme highs that they act out. Arturo may think in his head in extreme highs and lows but he doesn't act them out that way. I'm not a psychologist, so I don't know if there is any basis in what I have just said. :perplexed:
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Unread postby nebraska » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:02 am

I have a real problem with this. Not this question particularly, but the whole book. Fante writes some beautiful prose!!! And he invokes emotion, although I don't find the emotion to be as raw and palpable as in "Wait Until Spring". Yes, like a journal, pouring out all the disjointed thoughts and emotions like many of us do when we need to sort our minds.......and fantasy? I know this is supposed to be based on fact, but sometimes I wonder how much of the actual story is factual of Fante's/Arturo's life and how much is fantasy. Did he see Camilla in the window? Did he imagine he saw Camilla in the window? Did he think of Camilla and have a vision of her in the window? When he writes about it, it is hard to discern what is real or what percentage of it is real or what it means if it is real. :banghead:

What I read in this passage was lust..:blush: ..the kind of lust that destroys all rational thought and resolve to do right......the kind of lust that takes possession and drives one forward until it is satisfied. Lust that defies analysis or anything else except physical demand. In Arturo's case that might be fleeting and unresolved, but that was what I read in the passage for that moment. (and I vaguely remember from my younger days).

Maybe that is too simple.

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:35 am

nebraska wrote:I have a real problem with this. Not this question particularly, but the whole book. Fante writes some beautiful prose!!! And he invokes emotion, although I don't find the emotion to be as raw and palpable as in "Wait Until Spring". Yes, like a journal, pouring out all the disjointed thoughts and emotions like many of us do when we need to sort our minds.......and fantasy? I know this is supposed to be based on fact, but sometimes I wonder how much of the actual story is factual of Fante's/Arturo's life and how much is fantasy. Did he see Camilla in the window? Did he imagine he saw Camilla in the window? Did he think of Camilla and have a vision of her in the window? When he writes about it, it is hard to discern what is real or what percentage of it is real or what it means if it is real. :banghead:

Exactly. And it doesn’t even really bother me. I was just curious if I was the only one that wondered what happened there.

nebraska wrote:What I read in this passage was lust..:blush: ..the kind of lust that destroys all rational thought and resolve to do right......the kind of lust that takes possession and drives one forward until it is satisfied. Lust that defies analysis or anything else except physical demand. In Arturo's case that might be fleeting and unresolved, but that was what I read in the passage for that moment. (and I vaguely remember from my younger days).

Maybe that is too simple.

And maybe that’s why he moved on to the next paragraph where he went downtown. He felt too much guilt about his lust.
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:17 am

You weren't the only one wondering about the phantom at the window, Liz. Like you, I just decided to accept whatever it was and move on, but I was curious if someone could come up with a logical explanation.
And, yeah, nebraska, I think lust was involved.
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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:31 am

Lust. That seems to be the underlying theme in the book. Arturo lusts after Camilla in the same way he lusts after becoming a famous writer. In both cases, he feels the rather overwhelming tug of wanting, of desire, but he can't seem to muster the discipline it takes to follow through and turn his impulses into something concrete and complete. Like a child, he's absorbed in the emotion - the 'I want' - without any idea of how to actually get what he wants.
From that standpoint, his writing is perfect ~ he captures what it's like, and the turmoil that goes on inside a person's head, when they're stuck in that place of pure lust.
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