Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

by Hunter S. Thompson

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Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby Liz » Tue May 04, 2010 10:54 am

Image

Let's discuss Chenault.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby nebraska » Tue May 04, 2010 2:44 pm

Young. Foolish. Like many young people, she felt invincible. She thought she could do most anything and come out with no scars. She wanted to be free and have loads and loads of fun. She was also a bit narcissistic, as beautiful young women can easily become if they are aware of how their beauty affects men. I had to keep reminding myself that she was really just a kid trying to be more worldly than she actually was. That doesn't mean I cared much for her :mad: but that's how I assess of her objectively.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue May 04, 2010 3:06 pm

Thanks for starting us out, nebraska. I think she was a damaged soul. She was looking for fun, adventure, love but at the same time she was very self destructive. We don't know much about her past other than she came from a wealthy family and went to Smith (?) College. In a way she is the female version of Yeamon and Kemp, rebelling against her conventional upbringing, but with less self esteem.
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 -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby ladylinn » Tue May 04, 2010 4:52 pm

On pg. 174 Kemp thought of her as weird nymphet egotism - a desirable young woman preoccupated with herself. Chenault must have been quite young and very beautiful but used that beauty to self destruct. This may be harsh, but I don't think Chenault was too smart. Coming to the island to be with Yeoman first off - in an abusive relationship - then exhibiting herself on the beach and finally her actions at the carnival. I too think she was rebelling against the norm.

To her credit she did finally find the strength to leave that life and go back to try to get her life in order.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby deppaura » Tue May 04, 2010 9:31 pm

Chenault, everyman's dream? As Kemp first saw her, uninhibited, blonde on blonde in her white bikini. But, as time went on, other characteristics were revealed as have been pointed out here. Funny about the blonde image. Really out of the 50's! Marilyn Monroe'ish. SOOO desirable. All that playing and in the end the revelation to Kemp that she was unable to reach satisfaction. I was sad for her. But glad that she felt comfortable enough with Kemp to reveal that fact. I think their connection helped her. Grounded her. Restored some of her self esteem and confidence. I think she responded to Kemp's sincere gentleness. As somebody pointed out, the "softer" side of Yeoman. At times, she was almost child like. A certain playful innocence. I was interested in her in this story.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby Liz » Tue May 04, 2010 10:17 pm

Ya know, she might have been my favorite character. :yikes: Well, maybe it was a tie between her and Kemp.

You should know that I have a tendency to root for the woman in most situations. So that is part of it. But also, I thought her character was quite complex. I felt myself wanting to understand her…..And I felt sorry for her. I agree with Deppaura that she was childlike. She seemed to throw all caution to the wind and just enjoy life. But she had low self-esteem.

I’ve been trying to figure out for days who she reminds me of. I feel like I’ve seen this character in another book or a movie. So tonight I figured it out. She reminds me of Daisy in The Great Gatsby.

Daisy was rather helpless, tried to act carefree, but was very unhappy, and basically had low self-esteem although that was not apparent on the outside.

And being that Hunter was a major F. Scott Fitzgerald & Great Gatsby admirer, and mentions the American dream more than once in TRD, I’m wondering now, if she was patterned after Daisy. And now I have to wonder if anyone else here is patterned after any other characters in that story.

Funny thing is….a couple of days ago when I was thinking about how Kemp is such an observer, I thought of Nick Carraway.

Just rambling thoughts for a Tuesday night….
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed May 05, 2010 12:07 am

It's been way too long since I read Gatsby but that is a very interesting connection.
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 -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby fansmom » Wed May 05, 2010 2:33 pm

Liz wrote:Just rambling thoughts for a Tuesday night….
Liz, I don't think your thoughts are rambling, I think your comparison is extraordinarily insightful.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby Buster » Wed May 05, 2010 6:25 pm

On one hand, I felt sorry for Cheneault. She seemed so naive, vacant almost...
On the other hand, she was exploring the possibilities of living life on her own terms, in much the same way the other characters were - not tied down etc.
It might be harder to accept that looseness in a woman; surely the potential for drastic results seems greater.
I guess it depends on whether you think it was Cheneault's choice to live as she did, or whether you think she was somehow coerced, manipulated or forced into doing the things she did.
One version makes her almost heroic, following her bohemian dream, no matter the consequences; the other makes her a victim.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby gemini » Wed May 05, 2010 8:07 pm

As I mentioned before this was the 2nd time in read TRD. Not to take both sides but my first read I truly felt sorry for Chenault as many of you did. Maybe it was knowing how the story ended or of some of her later actions but the 2nd time I read the story, I wasn't as sympathetic. I was actually more sympathetic to Yeamon where I disliked him the first read. I looked at some of her earlier antics differently. Instead of her more innocent antics, nude sun bathing in front of the natives my opinion changed from playful pranks to taunting. Even though it backfired on her she caused the incident on the island.
I didn't see her so much as childlike but cunning and setting up Yeamon to fight to defend her. I think she liked that part of his nature and played on it and when he didn't come through at St Thomas she turned to Kemp.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed May 05, 2010 9:38 pm

I had not thought of that, gemini. She was certainly an attention seeker and her behavior certainly drew his attention.
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 -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby Buster » Wed May 05, 2010 10:01 pm

gemini, I agree that she was manipulative, exploitative, even. The other characters seem to be attracted to her physically, and intrigued in a baffled sort of way by her behaviours, but I never got a feeling of friendship in regard to Chenault.
Personally, I don't have a lot of patience with women like her.
Yeamon, on the other hand, could be a good friend of mine...

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby Liz » Wed May 05, 2010 11:40 pm

Interesting points, gemini and Buster, about her motives. I found myself irritated at her at times because I suspected that she was a tease and manipulative. And at other times, I thought she was just looking for real love. But she had no love or respect for herself. You know that old saying, "you can't love someone else unless you love yourself first." And I don't think she loved herself.

I have to say that I, too, looked at her differently upon the 2nd reading of the book. I was a lot more sympathetic towards her the 2nd time around.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby ForestByTheSea » Thu May 06, 2010 11:17 pm

Don't know why, but I had the image of Penelope Cruz as Chenault when read it. Maybe it is because of her role in the 2008 movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

I admit that what Chenault did at the carnival shocked me, but I'm still sympathetic towards her. She didn't see that result coming either as she seemed to have no sense of danger. Or, she longed for "danger" without knowing what it actually was.

As for her relationship with Yeamon, I think she was perhaps looking for some certain responses from him but couldn't get it.
Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more ~ John Denver

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Re: Rum Diary Question #16 ~ Chenault

Unread postby Liz » Thu May 06, 2010 11:20 pm

ForestByTheSea, I see parallels to Penelope Cruz's character also. Good catch!
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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