ATD Question #11 ~ A Transparent Plane

by John Fante

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suec
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Unread postby suec » Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:52 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:suec, I was wondering if there was a religious overtone to this passage as well. He says, "all of us were here for a little while, then we were somewhere else". He doesn't mention heaven or hell which surprised me.


Well you've got me going now. This comment reminded me of something to do with Dante's Inferno - of which my knowledge is pretty minimal, I have to say. But in there is a reference to the undecided and those who choose neither good nor evil, and for them there is a special place. I looked it up - Cliffs notes - but was surprised to find a reference to an earthquake that terrifies Dante after Virgil has finished his explanation. I have no idea if Fante had this in mind, but with the mention of the earthquake, it makes it kind of interesting.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:00 pm

Your knowledge of Dante is certainly better than mine. Very interesting indeed! :cool:
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 gemini » Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:20 pm

Allright I have to admit, you ladies are educating me today. I never had given a thought to the connection between sex or orgasm and death. You all have come up with so many points it is hard to imagine not considering it before. I was thinking maybe it is more of a man thing but it was very clear to most of you ladies.
I got the point that he was coming to grips with his mortality but it never dawned on me that sex was the cause.
You are all deep thinkers out there today. Salute!
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:22 pm

gemini wrote:Allright I have to admit, you ladies are educating me today. I never had given a thought to the connection between sex or orgasm and death. You all have come up with so many points it is hard to imagine not considering it before. I was thinking maybe it is more of a man thing but it was very clear to most of you ladies.
I got the point that he was coming to grips with his mortality but it never dawned on me that sex was the cause.
You are all deep thinkers out there today. Salute!


One of the good things about discussing books here is that there are a wide range of backgrounds in these Noodlemantras. We each have our own little areas of expertise or knowledge to share. And you never know what connection will be made because of that. Fante is just one man, but most likely a very well read man, considering that he is a writer. He may have known about the Dante reference. But there really was an earthquake in Long Beach in 1933. So I’m wondering if he used the earthquake and what he knew of his religion and Dante’s Inferno to make a point.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:21 pm

Either way, kudos to the Noodlemantras for connecting all the dots! :highfive:
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 fansmom » Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:52 pm

suec wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:suec, I was wondering if there was a religious overtone to this passage as well. He says, "all of us were here for a little while, then we were somewhere else". He doesn't mention heaven or hell which surprised me.


Well you've got me going now. This comment reminded me of something to do with Dante's Inferno - of which my knowledge is pretty minimal, I have to say. But in there is a reference to the undecided and those who choose neither good nor evil, and for them there is a special place. I looked it up - Cliffs notes - but was surprised to find a reference to an earthquake that terrifies Dante after Virgil has finished his explanation. I have no idea if Fante had this in mind, but with the mention of the earthquake, it makes it kind of interesting.
Excellent catch, suec! I just happen to have a copy of Inferno, and I'd say Canto 3 has some definite parallels to Chapter 12 of ATD.

Canto 3:
A babble of tongues, harsh outcries of despair,
noises of rage and grief, the beating of hands,
and shrill and raucous voices everywhere.

ATD (page 98 in my copy):
Screams, men shouting, women screaming. . . A woman lying on the sidewalk, beating it.

But more than that, both Dante and Arturo are passive observers walking through "the city of desolation." The situations are too similar for it to be coincidence. I think Fante must have had Dante in mind when he wrote about the earthquake.

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Unread postby Bix » Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:20 am

Wow, we finally get my new computer up - just in time for me to be awestruck by the discussion with nothing left to add at all except thank you for stretching my mind. The Dante parallels are amazing, but I never would have remembered enough even to begin comparing. At any rate, at least I am able to read everyone's wonderful input now, even if I am tongue-tied at the moment!
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:55 am

Welcome back to cyberspace, Bix! Yes, it has been an eye-opening discussion today! :-O
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 fansmom » Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:06 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Yes, it has been an eye-opening discussion today! :-O
And for today's Twilight Zone moment--an email I got this morning says today is the 250th anniversary of William Blake's birth. Before Blake was known as a poet, he was an engraver of "illustrations for the work of Chaucer, Dante, and selections from the Bible . . ." (Bet you didn't learn that in Dead Man.)

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:56 pm

Welcome back to the wonderful world of cyberspace, Bix. :bounce:

And Fansmom, :-O. Stay tuned for my yesterday's TZ moment which I will post on the sea thread because it is somewhat related to that.
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 28, 2007 7:32 pm

There's been something else bugging me at the back of my mind and this is something else I've looked up. I think he may also be referring to The Waste Land. Eliot also refers to that part of the Inferno in his poem. And apart from the fact that Fante actually uses the phrase ("you go on through the waste land"), there are some marked echoes when reading the poem. I can't say that I really understand it - I got a copy when it was referred to in Fierce Invalids - and have been obliged to read about it too to try to make sense of it. But here are, for example, some lines that stand out:
I will show you fear in a handful of dust…
Fear death by water…
Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn…(this line especially, with the references to fog in ATD)
I had not thought death had undone so many.
I was neither living nor dead.

He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
(From “What the Thunder Said”. Kind of interesting that the passage in ATD says: “It came to me like crashing thunder”)

And this bit reminds me of Vera –
"Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
Unguent, powdered, or liquid – troubled, confused
And drowned the sense in odours"

There’s a lot more too. The destruction of the cities. The idea that there is no guiding faith or enlightenment spiritually, spiritual death. There is also the theme of impotence and that sex does not lead to fulfilment or renewal. I think this is why Vera has the scar and the dead flesh specifically in her loins, and why Arturo experiences impotence, which also is alluded to in The Waste Land. Sex in the poem is pretty fleeting, meaningless and destructive, and there is this bit:
“what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
Which an age of prurience can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed…
I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison"

It seems to me that this could easily apply to Arturo, absorbed in himself and his fate, and that lack of connection with others, how the sex is meaningless and unfulfilling.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:29 pm

Wow! There are an amazing number of parallels. Very observant of you, suec! Deep stuff! :cool:
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Unread postby Parlez » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:33 pm

That'll about do it! :cool:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:08 pm

:notworthy: You all are amazing!
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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