Excerpt from “The World According To Garp” by John Irving ~~Name~~

picture-WorldAccordingToGarp-IrvingIt was 1943. When Jenny’s pregnancy was apparent, she lost her job. Of course, it was all that her parents and brothers had expected; they weren’t surprised. Jenny had long ago stopped trying to convince them of her purity. She moved through the big corridors in the parental estate at Dog’s Head Harbor like a satisfied ghost. Her composure alarmed her family, and they left her alone. Secretly, Jenny was quite happy, but with all the musing she must have done about this expected child, it’s a wonder she never gave a thought to names.
Because, when Jenny Fields gave birth to a nine-pound baby boy, she had no name in mind. Jenny’s mother asked her what she wanted to name him, but Jenny had just delivered and had just received her sedative; she was not cooperative.
‘Garp,’ she said.
Her father, the footwear king, thought she had burped, but her mother whispered to him, ‘The name is Garp.’
‘Garp?’ he said. They knew they might find out who this baby’s father was, this way. Jenny, of course, had not admitted a thing.
‘Find out if that’s the son of a bitch’s first name or last name,’ Jenny’s father whispered to Jenny’s mother.
‘Is that a first name or a last name, dear?’ Jenny’s mother asked her.
Jenny was very sleepy. ‘It’s Garp,’ she said. ‘Just Garp. That’s the whole thing.’
‘I think it’s a last name,’ Jenny’s mother told Jenny’s father.
‘What’s his first name?’ Jenny’s father asked crossly.
‘I never knew,’ Jenny mumbled. This is true; she never did.
‘She never knew his first name!’ her father roared.
‘Please, dear,’ her mother said. ‘He must have a first name.’
‘Technical Sergeant Garp,’ said Jenny Fields.
‘A goddamn soldier, I knew it!’ her father said.
‘Technical Sergeant?’ Jenny’s mother asked her.
‘T. S.,’ Jenny Fields said. ‘T. S. Garp. That’s my baby’s name.’ She fell asleep.
He father was furious. ‘T. S. Garp! he hollered. ‘What kind of name for a baby is that?’
‘All his own,’ Jenny told him, later. ‘It’s his own goddamn name, all his own.’
‘It was great fun going to school with a name like that,’ Garp has written. ‘The teachers would ask you what the initials stood for. First I used to say that they were just initials, but they never believed me. So I’d have to say, “Call my mom. She’ll tell you.” And they would. And old Jenny would give them a piece of her mind.’
Thus was the world given T. S. Garp: born from a good nurse with a will of her own, and the seed of a ball turret gunner – his last shot.

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1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

One response to “Excerpt from “The World According To Garp” by John Irving ~~Name~~

  1. John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, USA on 2 March 1942. ‘Garp’ was published in 1978.

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