Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Wardine section?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:28 am 
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Is there any obvious significance to the Wardine section that i am missing?
Do these characters play a role later in the book?


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 Post subject: Re: Wardine section?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:58 am 
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I don't think there is anything obvious right now. The placement of this section is puzzling other than it comes at a point when there is considerable focus on women. The section before "Wardine" describes the attache's wife. The section after it looks at Mildred Bonk. Carlisle points out in his reader's guide, Elegant Complexity, that there's a looming danger around each woman as well. The attache's wife's husband is about to watch the Entertainment. Wardine is in a violent world. Bonk's big party seems due to crash horribly. Finally, the women in these sections are all kind of servile. The wife has a routine she's expected to perform. Wardine and the others in that section are pretty much objects to their men, and Bonk becomes Green's girl when he develops a will.


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 Post subject: Re: Wardine section?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:31 am 
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Also, the Wardine section is narrated by Clenette Henderson, who will enter Ennet house five years after this section. Roy Tony shows up again in the yrstruly section and in a section that occurs at an NA meeting at which Roy Tony gets angry that Erdedy won't hug him.

Clenette is pregnant in this section. I have always wondered what happened to Clenette's baby, unmentioned when Clenette shows up at Ennet.


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 Post subject: Re: Wardine section?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:36 pm 
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Another strand that connects the Wardine section to the novel as a whole is that the family structure it describes, and the conflict borne from this structure, closely resembles that of Hal and Hamlet's own families. In all three families, you have a shadowy, if not sinister, uncle, be it Roy Tony, Charles Tavis, or Claudius, who establishes sexual relations with his brother's/brother-in-law's former lover and/or wife. In all three instances, the child of the original union is threatened, or terrorized, by this uncle. Finally, in all three families, there lies the lingering possibility that the uncle murdered the child's father in order to seduce the mother.

Since the family structure in the Wardine section is less than obvious and required numerous rereadings on my part to reconstruct, let me try to lay it out:

Wardine and Clenette are half-siblings who have different mothers ( "[Wardine] say, Clenette, you my half Sister, I am beg that you do not tell you momma on my momma...") which means they must have the same father.

We know that Roy Tony's brother is Wardine's father ("Roy Tony brother be Wardine father"), which makes Roy Tony both Wardine and Clenette's uncle.

We know that Wardine and Clenette's father is not around ("He gone.")

My question is whether or not it's possible that Wardine and Clenette's father is Columbus Epps, who "Roy Tony kill...four years gone, in the Brighton Projects, for Love." There is, from what I can tell, zero evidence supporting this except that Columbus Epps and Roy Tony both loved Clenette's mother, which makes it at least possible that Columbus Epps fathered Clenette, which in turn would mean he fathered Wardine, which would then perfectly recreate the Hamlet scenario (and possibly the Incandenza scenario).

Even without that stretch, the dramatic layout of the Wardine section certainly echoes and reiterates the twisted dynamics of Hal and Hamlet's own families.

It's also possible I have this all backwards or outright incorrect. If so, please correct me.


Last edited by granther on Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Wardine section?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:49 pm 
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Very nicely done, granther. Great stuff.


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