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Infinite Summer • View topic - "Wardine be cry."

Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
It is currently Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:44 pm

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The Inficratic Oath: first, post no spoilers. Limit your I.J. discussion to only those events that take place on or before the page 981 (100%).



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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:01 am 
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Actually, we do not know that the manner of Clenette's speech/writing is not her own intentional affectation.


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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:53 am 
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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:12 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:16 pm 
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Thank you for your post, TripleMcSlice.
Maybe DFW knew that many of his readers wouldn't be familiar with the desperate world he describes in this section, and tried to convey the essence of it as best he could.

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"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you." DFW


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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:44 am 
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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:52 am 
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I like the Wardine section.

DFW co-wrote a book in 1990 called Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present based in the Boston area. He definitely studied linguistic use in a relevant community, though not perhaps the exact community.

I read the Wardine section as something different- the degradation of a dialect under stress. I imagine it going spoken by someone being destroyed by their situation, and in that moment, confused and speaking very fast.


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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:35 am 
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I'm still not buying that the Wardine section is intended to be an accurate representation. Its exaggerated. And DFW is too familiar with language to miss the mark on something like this.

The upcoming reading features a hilarious example of bad journalism; it's not as if one would read it and assume that DFW does not know how to write a magazine article.


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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:15 pm 
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Also I've noticed very points where he explains things with a unlikely level of "like"s in the sentence for anything less than a 80s valley girl, that has the sense of exaggeration as well.

*hopes this is not a spoiler*


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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:45 pm 
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Location: Fresyes, CA
I love those "likes" stuck right in the middle of some pretty atrocious run-on sentences. I think they're funny because usually right after them, with no commas or pausing, come some really big words and/or a great simile. It's vernacular academic-speak; it's what I remember hearing in college at writing department parties and on weekends when student journalists get really, really drunk and I'm sure I'm guilty of it myself.


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 Post subject: Re: "Wardine be cry."
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:45 am 
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I'm currently doing a reread of IJ, so this is my second go at this section. And I must admit, this section was almost a throwaway for me the first time. It was very frustrating, and my strategy was to barrel my way through as quickly as possible and move on. However (as I'm noticing for most of the novel), things are much more relevant and interesting the second time.

But anyway, sorry for the big lead-in, but basically, my read this time around is that this section, my be narrated by, as others suggested, someone who is either mentally disabled, but I am leaning more towards someone to whom English is not their native language, and only learned English in an ineffective, natural absorptive context, rather than having any specific instruction. My experience of the common mistakes made by non-native speakers is the trend of using etymologically linked words, yet the wrong part of speech, syntactically. As in, using the infinitive ("cry") instead of the gerundive ("crying"). Also, the biggest mistake that's repeated often is the use of the substantive rather than the copula form of "to be" when constructing these gerundive phrases - "be cry" rather than "is crying." While this is typical of black american ebonics anyway, this differentiation is often the hardest to learn - a parallel that many people will understand if they've ever taken Spanish is between the verbs "ser" and "estar" that establish this same problem when learning to differentiate the two, as both translate to "to be." The English copula and substantive have an absurd amount of conjugations - to be, I am, you are, they are, we were, he was, etc etc - and it's understandable that these would get confused. I do agree that it is probably a black narrator, as evidenced by the culturally "black" names and contexts used, but my limited experience with learners of English echoed most strongly when dealing with immigrants from Affrica, whose languages often lack the subtleties in their verb forms that are what make English one of the hardest, most complicated languages to learn.

So, in short, I thought this section was pretty sweet, for the linguistically-minded.


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