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 Post subject: ATD Question #12 - The Earthquake
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:48 am 
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Pg. 98 “I went off and sat on the curbing. Repent, repent before it’s too late. I said a prayer but it was dust in my mouth. No prayers. But there would be some changes made in my life. There would be decency and gentleness from now on. This was the turning point. This was for me, a warning to Arturo Bandini.”

These are Arturo’s words after he experiences the earthquake. Why did he feel it was his fault? Is this a “turning point” for Bandini?



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:31 pm 
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The coincidence of having an earthquake follow a major meaningful event in Arturo's life, coupled with the fact that Arturo was at an extremely self-centered point in his life, might have made him feel that he caused the earthquake, that it was a message to him. He tried hard to repent, to make this a turning point, but Camilla was still his downfall. He still had trouble with his temper and treated her roughly, but I think he did make some strides towards being kinder and gentler. He got his novel written and was compassionate with Camilla when she was ill, even to the point of purposely not catching her with marijuana.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:06 pm 
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I didn't think that he thought it was his fault but only a major message to him that life is short and he should make his time count. All young people think they are invincible and sometimes it comes as a shock to them that they are like everyone else.....vulnerable. The earthquake for him just made it all hit home faster than it usually does over time. If he is to make something important of his life he had better get started on the right track .
He feels he needs to get over that young persons idea that there is always time to make amends later.


Last edited by gemini on Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:09 pm 
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Well, old habits die hard. Hence the return to repentance and prayer. I'm not convinced Arturo felt he'd caused the earthquake...I got the sense he was suffering more from survivor's guilt. Having survived, he carried that burden and had an obligation to make changes in his life 'from now on.' That's a good thing, and typical of most survivors. (After surviving a catastrophe, who's going to re-evaluate their life and decide they're going to become more horrible and intolerant?) :lol:
Arturo was trying to plant the seeds in his psyche for becoming a better person - more decent and gentle - which was a first for him. He may have fumbled when it came to actually following through, but at least he had a new aspiration; he knew what kind of person he wanted to be.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:25 pm 
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Parlez wrote:
I'm not convinced Arturo felt he'd caused the earthquake.
I didn't think that, either, Parlez, but what else could that last sentence in the quote mean?
Quote:
This was for me, a warning to Arturo Bandini.
Is that just a strangely structured sentence, or is he claiming ownership of the earthquake? :eyebrow:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:49 pm 
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fansmom wrote:
Parlez wrote:
I'm not convinced Arturo felt he'd caused the earthquake.
I didn't think that, either, Parlez, but what else could that last sentence in the quote mean?
Quote:
This was for me, a warning to Arturo Bandini.
Is that just a strangely structured sentence, or is he claiming ownership of the earthquake? :eyebrow:

He sure sounded like he was claiming ownership when he said, "You did it, Arturo. This is the wrath of God. You did it." And "You did it, Arturo. Up in that room on that bed you did it."



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:17 pm 
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Great discussion going on here! :applause:

I think he was feeling that the earthquake was his fault…."the wrath of God". I think that is a natural response, coming from a Christian who fears punishment for his/her sins. I say this because I remember times in the past when I felt the same. :blush: And I think Arturo is self-centered enough to believe that God would cause a disaster effecting 100’s of people just to teach Arturo a lesson.


gemini wrote:
I didn't think that he thought it was his fault but only a major message to him that life is short and he should make his time count. All young people think they are invincible and sometimes it comes as a shock to them that they are like everyone else.....vulnerable. The earthquake for him just made it all hit home faster than it usually does over time. If he is to make something important of his life he had better get started on the right track.

Gemini, I had a similar reaction to the 1989 World Series Quake.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:26 pm 
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Liz wrote:
And I think Arturo is self-centered enough to believe that God would cause a disaster effecting 100’s of people just to teach Arturo a lesson.
At Thanksgiving dinner, I joked that it hadn't rained on the Macy's parade (as it had been predicted at one point) because I was prepared for rain, with an umbrella, poncho, boots, etc. A friend of a friend said--with a raised eyebrow--"My, you are a powerful woman, aren't you?"


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:31 pm 
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[quote="Liz"]Great discussion going on here! :applause:

: And I think Arturo is self-centered enough to believe that God would cause a disaster effecting 100’s of people just to teach Arturo a lesson.


Or maybe he hadn't had time to think yet, maybe it was just a gut reaction to the overwhelming events .......an emotional kind of response that would modify once the immediate horror had passed.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:40 pm 
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I think he claims ownership. Three times significantly:
"I had done this. I had done this.... You did it, Arturo. This is the wrath of God. You did it... You did it, Arturo. Up in that room on that bed. You did it."
I think it is the result of the panic of the moment, and probably a fairly natural and normal response, given the guilt he has been feeling.
I thnk it is a bit of a turning point. Little signs: money for his mother; going to church, giving up cigarettes for a few days. This last is a bit telling, I think. Small signs, not long-lasting. My feeling is that they often aren't long-lasting, although real and powerful enough at the time. But perhaps it depends on the individual. But I do think Arturo recognises he should be more gentle and decent, and that is a start. There is a trend afterwards, I believe. Kind of steps forward and backward, but overall an improvement. He slips when he writes the letter to Sammy, but then thinks better of it.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:07 pm 
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fansmom, I'm sure those folks at the parade appreciated your efforts! :lol:

I wanted it to be a turning point for Arturo and I suppose recognizing his need to change is the first step. His fear that he caused the earthquake (and he does seem to have quite a few fears) seems a gut reaction to his committing a mortal sin. This another example of his egocentric behavior and thinking process - it all revolves around him. I do think he means what he says when he talks about changing but as some of you have said it could be a gut reaction to almost dying and to his guilt.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:06 pm 
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Well, the earth moves, and then the earth moves....
How could you not take that personally? :lol:
I'd forgotten about the other bits (having returned my copy of the book to the library) where Arturo talks more specifically about being to blame for the earthquake. Thanks for reminding me. He was an egocentric little :censored: wasn't he!? Still, I like to think there was some significant impact the events at the Pike had on him.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:41 pm 
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I think it is also important to remember that at the time this is taking place, people did not know or understand the causes of earthquakes. It was common to see them as God's wrath.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:42 pm 
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Well, this is one of those tidbits where I have to say the discussion changed my mind. One of the pluses of a book club, instead of a book leaving you with only your own perception. I originally thought that Arturo didn't think the quake was his fault but only a major message to him that life is short and he should make it count.
I also needed the refresher of what he said, thanks suec. I made this mistake before with Arturo back when we read Bandini. I underestimated his religious beliefs because of all his doubts and disdain for following the rules. And Parlez, I forgot how self-centered he is. He would think a major occurrence was just for his benefit.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:56 pm 
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shadowydog wrote:
I think it is also important to remember that at the time this is taking place, people did not know or understand the causes of earthquakes. It was common to see them as God's wrath.


This is a very good point that you make, Shadowydog! I was thinking about the earthquake from my point of reference, not from the perspective of a young man in the 1930s.



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