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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mrs. Festini's Hatbox, parts 1206 - 1209


1206. Picture to yourself some person growing up whose parents have two diametrically opposed natures. The mother is emotive and flamboyant and likely to react in an impulsive way, and then the husband is measured and reserved and is constantly planning everything out meticulously. Such a child may grow up to have both these personalities embedded in their character. A person like that will often spend hours arguing with himself over what candy bar to purchase.



1207. There is a novella written by Thomas Mann called 'Tonio Kroger', and in that work he describes such a person. The person has a German business man for a father, and an Italian artist for a mother, and the conflict of these two temperaments is always at war in his personality.

1208. "You know," I said, interrupting Buboni with my own observation, "I would say there is a third type of which I am perhaps an example. This would be the sort of person who has a very specific and irrevocable temperament, a nature overdetermined by his very DNA, and yet, because of forces completely outside his control finds himself living a life divorced from his very nature.


1209. The trajectory of that life would take the form of a long search for the opportunity to at last return to the occupation one was originally destined to pursue. A life like the path of a sail boat; the wind pushes in one direction and the rudder in another and the result is: by a series of spastic maneuvers the boat can manage to travel in the opposite direction of the prevailing wind; all the while longing for the driving storm to run in the direction one so longed to go in the first place.

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