Who is Mario’s dad? CT or…Orin?

All I wanted to do yesterday was just double-check my spelling of “Avril Incandenza” in google while writing this post.  Turns out the second search result is a link to a crazy-ass forum post that might.  Just.  Be.  A Thing.  Here’s the full initial post in the discussion thread.  I recommend reading the entire discussion.

What if Orin is Mario’s father?!

It seems like there needs to be a reason for Mario’s birth deformities. Accidentally getting dealt a bad lot is not the theme of this book. Everything’s deliberate, even the ambiguities. SO. Two possible explanations suggested by DFW are (1) infants born in the Concavity have birth defects, and (2) Avril I. engages in perverse sexual practices, one of which is incest, and this could account for Mario’s condition. But, Avril did not live in the Concavity. And, DFW argues at length that CT is not Avril’s blood kin. So, how could CT having fathered Mario account for his (incest-related) birth defects?

There is, however, evidence to suggest that Avril molested Orin, in which case (if it was O.’s sperm, not CT’s or JO’s) Mario’s incest-related birth defects make sense.

The Evidence

1. Orin has messed up relationships with women. He objectifies (uh, subject-ifies?) them.

2. Orin despises Avril and doesn’t talk to her once he is an adult (and presumably old enough to realize that getting diddled by The Moms was not OK).

3. The Moms had to have known that Orin lied about killing her beloved dog. However, if she felt guilty for having sexually abused her oldest son as an adolescent, she might have felt that the dog’s death served as sort of a deserved punishment, and thus did not feel it was her right to get mad at Orin.

4. Pemulis’ older brother was abused as a child by his parent. Perhaps DFW was trying to draw our attention to another incest trope besides mother-brother.

5. Obviously, Avril is attracted to younger men. AND John Wayne is dressed up as a football player when Pemulis witnesses some disturbing role-play.

6. Given Orin Incandenza’s womanizing tendancies, I would wager that he has some potent sperm. And by that I mean, it wouldn’t be implausible for him to have hit puberty / fertilized an egg at age seven. (That O. has potent sperm is more a symbolic than a scientific assertion.)

7. And finally. At one point, Hal is critical of Orin for not paying enough attention to Mario. (Maybe Hal knows on some subconscious level that Orin, as Mario’s father, ought to?)

Welp, I’m convinced.  This is the sort of bizarre freaky-town stuff I love about this book.


  1. Luigus

    Damn. Quite an argument.

  2. Pingback: Orin is definitely not Mario’s dad – Strange Projections

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