In the novel Ask the Dust by John Fante, the main character, Arturo Bandini, lacks the ability to have a true and sincere identity. He traveled to California in hopes of becoming a successful writer. Arturo’s journey to become a successful white American male fuels his hypocritical and contradicting lifestyle. His move to California influenced his self attitude, racial viewpoints, and perspective towards love.
Arturo has a very strange relationship with women, whether it be Vera, Camilla, or a random women on the streets. Arturo develops an attraction towards Camilla, a Mexican-American women who he finds faintly attractive, “With a Mayan nose, flat with large nostrils. Her lips were heavily rouged, with the thickness of a negress’ lips. She was a racial type, and as such she was beautiful, but she was too strange for me” (Fante 34). Arturo starts off saying how lovely she is but then contradicts himself by saying she is too strange. One minute Arturo is happy with Camilla and the next his is cursing her off under his breath. “You call me beautiful at home, then you are ashamed to be seen with me in public. You are ashamed of beauty you recognize that no one else does. You are ashamed to love me!” (Fante) Camilla recognizes that Arturo is unaware of how he feels and she confronts him about it. He hates the feeling of lust that she gives him so he runs to church to “cleanse” himself. Arturo is incapability of having true feelings towards a women stems from the fact that he is unsure of what love is.
“By the all desire that had not come a while before…It pounded my skull and tingled my fingers. I threw myself on the bed and tore the pillow”. (Fante) Arturo can not control the way he feels and due to that he becomes hypocritical and contradicting to love. “She was forcing it with her scorn, the kiss she gave me, the hard curl of her lips, the mockery of her eyes, until I was like a man made of wood and there was no feeling within me except...
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