Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:37 pm 
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Location: UTAH. Yes I'm from Utah. No I'm not a Mormon.
Are they half-siblings or was he adopted? On page 50 it says CT was adopted, but later on page 64 it says CT is Avril's half-brother. There is another reference to them being half-siblings, but I've lost track of where it is.


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 Post subject: Re: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:26 pm 
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At various points before the spoiler break, C.T. (aka Uncle Charles and Dr. Tavis) is referred to differently. Hal has called him all three. And it's been stated that C.T. is Himself's brother, making him Avril's "adoptive brother." It's also heavily implied (maybe even directly stated) that C.T. and Avril are having a relationship.

And, FYI via the Hamlet comparison, this is the very same relationship Hamlet finds his uncle (Dad's brother Claudius) and mother in at the start of Hamlet.

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 Post subject: Re: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:54 pm 
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Location: UTAH. Yes I'm from Utah. No I'm not a Mormon.
dannymears wrote:
And, FYI via the Hamlet comparison, this is the very same relationship Hamlet finds his uncle (Dad's brother Claudius) and mother in at the start of Hamlet.


In it's most base form, yes. Both mothers are engaged in a relationship with an uncle. However, Hamlet's mother married her husband's brother after his brother murdered the King. They aren't related by blood OR by adoption. Only through matrimony. CT and Avril, on the other hand, ARE related, at a very minimum by adoption. Also, CT didn't kill Himself to assume power.

I think the reason I take exception to the "IJ is so much like Hamlet" idea is because they are similar, but only in a very small way. Poor Yorick Films in the filmography, Hal's personality being similar to Hamlet's, uncles engaged in relationships with mothers, a ghost and digging up a skull. Plus the fact that DFW lifted a phrase from Act V and made it his title. These things are fun to notice, but not necessary to enjoy IJ. At all. The importance placed on understanding Hamlet is ridiculously overstated. It seems implied that an understanding of Hamlet will lead to a better understanding of IJ, which is not true. It will lead to a little bit more enjoyment, as it's always fun to be able to pick out the references.

Plus, look at what it does to the first time readers. You don't have to spend too much time on this forum to see how many first-timers are assuming they don't understand things in IJ because they don't know Hamlet. The comparisons belong in the "fun fact" section, not the primer for understanding the book.

Anybody looking to legitimately compare IJ to another author's work would do well to read The Brothers Karamazov by Feodor Dostoevsky. There are a lot more significant similarities between IJ and The Brothers Karamazov. I got a pdf from thelastbulgarian, a member on these boards, that analyzes the similarities. They are much more broad and significant than any commonalities you will find in IJ and Hamlet.


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 Post subject: Re: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:20 am 
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Oh, I was just dropping the Hamlet thing in for a fun fact.

But I was also under the impression that referring to CT as Avril's "adoptive brother" is only a reference to that CT was her husband's brother and she had treated him as such. There was no actual adoption. I could be wrong, seeing as this is my first time through, but that's just what I figured.

ETA (which will be strange to use here):

OK. I appear wrong about the adoptive thing. p.63-65 clear some things up.

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 Post subject: Re: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:25 pm 
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CodyVanDer wrote:
It seems implied that an understanding of Hamlet will lead to a better understanding of IJ, which is not true. It will lead to a little bit more enjoyment, as it's always fun to be able to pick out the references.


Eh, I always thought that what was implied was that a better understanding of some of the themes in Hamlet will lead to a better understanding of some of the themes in IJ.

But other than that, uh, I too am very angry.

...

shakes fist

EDIT: Also, Brothers Karamazov? Other than the connections between DFW and Ivan's "everything is permitted," I guess? This sounds interesting, and I wonder if this .pdf could be posted to the site for the rest of us?


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 Post subject: Re: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:41 pm 
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Location: UTAH. Yes I'm from Utah. No I'm not a Mormon.
Thank you to thelastbulgarian for this pdf. I originally got it from him.

I tried to add it as an attachment, but it says pdfs aren't allowed. Here's a Rapidshare link though.

http://rapidshare.com/files/248635567/T ... a.pdf.html


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 Post subject: Re: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:52 pm 
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I'd always gotten the very firm impression that CT is connected via Avril's side of the family -- and very likely a close blood relation of hers -- and NOT Himself's, and that any uncertainties/discrepancies in the text are rooted in Avril & CT having been evasive/vague/contradictory whenever asked about their family connection.

Much more could be said about Avril, but while this section doesn't carry the explicit ban on spoilers, it would seem that it would be trafficked by first-time readers. So I'll refrain.


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 Post subject: Re: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:37 pm 
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Spoiler! "CT is from Avril's side of the family, either her adopted brother or half-brother, subject to speculation."


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 Post subject: Re: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:16 am 
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More very-late-in-the-novel spoiler: Spoiler! "p 900-901:

"Charles Tavis is probably not related to the Moms by actual blood. Her extremely tall French-Canadian mother died when the Moms was eight. Her father left their potato farm on 'business' a few months later and was gone for several weeks. He did this sort of thing with some frequency...From this disappearance, though, he returned with a new bride the Moms had known nothing about, an American widow named Elizabeth Tavis...C.T. was the infant son she had brought to the new union."

The section goes on to give some possible reasoning for the idea that Mario is actually C.T.'s son by way of description of Elizabeth Tavis, though it is kept a bit vague and hearsay-ish."


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 Post subject: Re: CT and Avril - How are they related?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:23 pm
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Location: Madison, WI
dannymears wrote:
....It's also heavily implied (maybe even directly stated) that C.T. and Avril are having a relationship.


It's also mentioned on p. 451 that "it's not entirely impossible he [CT] may have fathered" Mario.


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