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 TRD #2 What's in a name?
Karen
Posted: May 19 2009, 07:42 AM


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Hunter aptly named this "The Rum Diary" - and first thing we read is a description about their drinking hangout Al's.

The the second paragraph begins with
QUOTE
It was a pleasant place to drink...


Why all the drinking? How did it drive the story? To what point and purpose? wink.gif


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amp
Posted: May 19 2009, 02:54 PM


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The best rum is made in Puerto Rico. (IMHO) so it's like their national beverage.
I always wondered why writers as a species were so into their liquor. Still scratching me head over it.

Point? Purpose? Why, to strip away all inhibition so you get get on with the shenanigans, of course. Asuages the guilt, temporarily. Explains why people do such dumb-ass things. cool.gif


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MerryK
Posted: May 19 2009, 02:58 PM


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Drinking out of boredom.. when there isn't that much to look forward to is my guess....

Not my philosophy though.
Karen
Posted: May 19 2009, 04:52 PM


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What I wonder is why the author had them drink so much, so much of the time?
unsure.gif


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MerryK
Posted: May 19 2009, 05:49 PM


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I think you have to look at that period of time.. the late 50's early 60's... not that excessive drinking is exclusive to any certain time period cause it's not.

My thinking is that most of the major players were with the newspaper and basically they went there by choice or because maybe they had no where else to go work.. they've done so much elsewhere that maybe they were just getting a little lost in what they thought would be an idyllic tropical island.. but discovered the same problems they had elsewhere were still with them. wink.gif Did any of them really have a home .. a family to go to after finishing an assignment. Maybe something that Hunter himself experienced or felt in his earlier years.
nurseanne8
Posted: May 19 2009, 06:02 PM


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I feel like they drank to escape reality, to kick back and relax; most of the characters seemed to be in a holding pattern in PR in between "real" assignments or on the tail end of their careers hence no emotional connections so the "guys" in the office became family and drinking was their main activity. HST was known to drink large amounts and it seems natural that his one work of fiction would be someone who took to the drink. I am not being critical of this work but I feel like a little less emphasis on the drinking and more development of the characters' motivations would explain the dismal ending of the book. Title: A diary of a transplanted New York newspaper writer who uses rum as the tool to explore his feelings of loneliness and career "burnout". smile.gif Anne r
amp
Posted: May 19 2009, 06:13 PM


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Yeah, and the whole time Kemp is aware of how sad all the excess really is, (for everyone in the story, except maybe Lotterman) but has no will to stop.


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herestoyou
Posted: May 19 2009, 06:42 PM


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Interesting points--I think the time period also plays into the drinking as well. If anyone has seen Mad Men, a cable series set in the 50s, they always seem to be drinking. I can see it being an escape, social or worse in RD, too. The characters did seem to be driven to drink!-lol Also, I wonder if it's the setting---tropical, warm weather, laid back--far from the hustle/bustle of the US at the time. All the characters were pretty much lost souls in my opinion---looking for escapism.

-Donna


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Karen
Posted: May 19 2009, 09:00 PM


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Good points everyone!


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Depputante
Posted: May 20 2009, 03:39 PM


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Escapism, away from our own problems in our own yards. PR, I guess, was the place where a person could get away from it all.
amp
Posted: May 20 2009, 05:05 PM


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But he (Kemp) went there to (pretend to) work. He was sort of a gypsy journalist.


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Karen
Posted: May 20 2009, 06:06 PM


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QUOTE (amp @ May 20 2009, 06:05 PM)
But he (Kemp) went there to (pretend to) work. He was sort of a gypsy journalist.

Which makes me wonder why Kemp was in PR?


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Depputante
Posted: May 20 2009, 11:03 PM


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I still think the 'work' is a kind of smoke screen to the real issue of escaping reality, and then,
"My God! Someone else has followed me here. How could they be possessed to go in the same direction as my wandering soul, and a woman nonetheless !"
(I say in my best FALILV type of narrarative voice.)
nurseanne8
Posted: May 21 2009, 04:05 AM


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I think Kemp was in PR because he was seeking escape, the assignment would be relatively easy with few expectations; PR was tropical and a lot safer for Americans than Cuba was at the time. Anne r smile.gif
JohnnyAngel
Posted: May 24 2009, 06:38 AM


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Rum is so much a part of Puerto Rico and its history and economy and export. And the continual drinking of it in TRD is not a cultural thing as the jounalists are not of Puerto Rican descent but a way to fill their empty time/lives. Like a crutch or bandage to mask deeper hurts/insecurities/problems. It's a quick fix to prevent them from dwelling too much on what may be their desperate reality.

(hope you don't mind me joining in this discussion. i just finished reading TRD)


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