The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

by Hunter S. Thompson

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:16 am

Let's discuss the section on Carnival. The festival, the party, how Yeamon and Kemp dealt with it, anything that went on during that episode.
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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:36 am

I was really dismayed when they just LEFT without Chenault after she went missing. 'If she shows up, send her home.' But then I am not sure what else they could have done under the circumstances. And maybe that long ago things were less dangerous. The likelihood of her never showing up might have been less back then.

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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby ladylinn » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:12 pm

Like nebraska wrote - I too couldn't believe Yeamon and Kemp just left Chenault. In Yeamon's state of mind with no job and seemingly bored with life in Puerto Rico, maybe he wanted to rid himself of her. I thought Kemp since he had feelings for her - might have stayed to help her. Guess Kemp only had lust and no real feelings for Chenault - so he just "went with the flow".

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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby Liz » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:17 pm

I was shocked by the entire episode.

I think that Kemp and Yeamon had the “fear”--of the cops and of the locals involved in the incident.

But I also think that there were negative reactions to Chenault’s behavior that adversely affected their level of motivation to stay there and continue to look for her. Yeamon felt betrayed by her. And Kemp, I think, struggled with his loyalties. And they both probably thought she asked for it.

Of course, I felt for her and wanted them to find her. I certainly wouldn’t want to be deserted in a place like that (on an island), without any money or any support of any kind, after a night of gang rape. When I read the story the first time, I had assumed that she had also been murdered, until she showed up at Kemp’s apartment.
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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:22 pm

Like everyone else I was upset with them for leaving. I understood they needed to leave the party but not the island! I thought they would try to stop her before she went as far as she did but by then it was too late. She was so objectified through the whole episode (and book...but that's for another day). Yeamon treated her as an object and Kemp might have been a step up but he wasn't really sure what he thought of her. It seems she was just part of the game to them.
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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby deppaura » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:53 pm

I think the leaving was circumstantial. Yeoman made attempts at rescue, but was thwarted. The odds were heavy against them to rescue her and she was uncooperative in the situation. I think the whole experience was a bit crazed, out of this world, or, maybe, into another. For me, the whole Carnival incident was somewhat compelling, hypnotic and at the same time scary. I really felt that Carnival. The rhythms, dancing, bodies. You could almost smell it. I think I could taste the rum. It was like being swallowed by another culture with different rules. Somehow they seemed like outsiders overwhelmed by circumstances. And yet, Chenault seemed to embrace it. I don't know that I feared for her life but, I certainly expected that she would be taken advantage of and worried about to what degree!

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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:58 pm

That is a good way to describe it, deppaura. I think they were swept up in the whole experience and they weren't thinking clearly. Hypnotic is a good word for it. I can't give Yeoman and Kemp a pass for leaving the island though.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:00 pm

Liz wrote:I was shocked by the entire episode.

I think that Kemp and Yeamon had the “fear”--of the cops and of the locals involved in the incident.

But I also think that there were negative reactions to Chenault’s behavior that adversely affected their level of motivation to stay there and continue to look for her. Yeamon felt betrayed by her. And Kemp, I think, struggled with his loyalties. And they both probably thought she asked for it.

Of course, I felt for her and wanted them to find her. I certainly wouldn’t want to be deserted in a place like that (on an island), without any money or any support of any kind, after a night of gang rape. When I read the story the first time, I had assumed that she had also been murdered, until she showed up at Kemp’s apartment.


I would like to think that we have become more enlightened since then. But sadly, I have known men with that mentality. :-/

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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby Buster » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:10 pm

As they are reading the "program", this exchange occurs:
(language warning)
"This thing tonight could get out of control," I said, tossing the program on the tale. "At least I hope so."
Cheneault laughed and winked at me. "We'll have to get Fritz drunk, so he can enjoy it."
"Balls," Yeamon muttered, not looking up from the program. "You get drunk again and I'll abandon your ass."

It makes me think that they really had only a very vague idea of what they were getting into - Puerto Rican culture was exotic to them, and when things got out of hand, I can see how panic might have set in.
Hunter's description of the whole series of events really brings out the craziness of drunken crowds, and the exhausted self-justification that can follow what is basically unpardonable behaviour (including Cheneault's, by the way). He caught the mood perfectly.

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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby gemini » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:15 am

I read TRD twice with quite a few years between. The first time I felt very sorry for Chenault. The second time I started seeing why Yeamon might be treating her the way he did. He was jealous and wanted her but she flaunted herself nude to the islanders at his beach home. Yeamon warned her to stop it and then when she did the same at St Thomas, I felt that must have been why Yeamon locked her up and treated her so badly. She had done it before. Remember it was her idea to go to that party. She told Kemp and Yeamon they were friends of hers. She obviously couldn't handle her alcohol.
Don't get me wrong I think both Yeamon and Kemp treated her badly but she certainly had a problem. They all three did have the drink and party life style so I guess they had to accept the consequences. They should have realized that the islanders had celebrated with that wild life style long before they came along and they were outnumbered.
Yeamon was known as the tuff fighting browling type and somehow that is what I think she saw in him. Someone to defend her and bail her out of her self created problems. Maybe to show he cared for her. She just pushed him too far.
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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:31 am

nebraska wrote:
Liz wrote:I was shocked by the entire episode.

I think that Kemp and Yeamon had the “fear”--of the cops and of the locals involved in the incident.

But I also think that there were negative reactions to Chenault’s behavior that adversely affected their level of motivation to stay there and continue to look for her. Yeamon felt betrayed by her. And Kemp, I think, struggled with his loyalties. And they both probably thought she asked for it.

Of course, I felt for her and wanted them to find her. I certainly wouldn’t want to be deserted in a place like that (on an island), without any money or any support of any kind, after a night of gang rape. When I read the story the first time, I had assumed that she had also been murdered, until she showed up at Kemp’s apartment.


I would like to think that we have become more enlightened since then. But sadly, I have known men with that mentality. :-/

Nebraska, I just think that it was representative of the times.



gemini wrote:Don't get me wrong I think both Yeamon and Kemp treated her badly but she certainly had a problem. They all three did have the drink and party life style so I guess they had to accept the consequences. They should have realized that the islanders had celebrated with that wild life style long before they came along and they were outnumbered.

Seems to me that maybe they took “the game” a little too far.


gemini wrote:He was jealous and wanted her but she flaunted herself nude to the islanders at his beach home.

If it were not for that, I would totally excuse her behavior at the Carnival party because I got the impression that she was totally out of it and didn’t really realize what she was doing or what was going to happen. That’s what too much rum can do to you.
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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby dharma_bum » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:21 am

I saw the question, and decided to dive in.

I think HST rolls out the Carnival scene in a highly choreographed way. For me, the Kemp-Yeamon-Chenault triangle parallels and is a metaphor for the Americanization of Puerto Rico. Kemp’s infatuation with Chenault and Yeamon’s squandering of her culminate with the local’s “uprising” to take her back.

I think HST intends to give us a cautionary tale about desire on a grander scale: colonialism, nation building, or whatever the euphemism might be these days. To quote Casablanca: “the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” Do we take something wild, beautiful and desirable simply because we want it and we can? Does a free spirit whither in captivity? When you get things you want, but nothing that you need, do you resent the giver even more?

Kemp and Yeamon do abandon Chenault when they realize they are not really in control, that they had a false sense of entitlement. Chenault returns still beautiful but damaged. Kemp’s love can’t repair her and wildness that got him deep, is gone forever. I've always thought of TRD as more of a political than personal statement.
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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby nebraska » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:14 am

Wow, Dharma! :-O That all makes sense to me, but I would never have thought of that myself.

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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:47 am

I never thought of it that way, db. Very interesting! :cool:
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Re: The Rum Diary Question #11 ~ Carnival

Unread postby deppaura » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:39 pm

dharma_bum wrote:I saw the question, and decided to dive in.

I think HST rolls out the Carnival scene in a highly choreographed way.

Thanks for jumping in db, with yet another interesting view! Somehow the Carnival scene was a highlight for me.


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