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by Jonathan Franzen

Vin Haven

Character Analysis

Vin Haven, like Jonathan's father, is super-powerful, super-wealthy, and is friends with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. And what do you know? We don't know so much about him either. He tells Walter he'll attend the opening ceremony at the body armor plant, "provided I don't have to pose for any pictures" (3.6.243). When Walter arrives at the ceremony, our narrator re-introduces Haven with the following:

Vin Haven ('You can Nexis me all night without finding one direct quote from my forty-seven years in business') sat down direct behind the cameras. (3.6.341)

It's an uncharacteristic (and pretty awkward) literary device, the parenthetical slogan thing, and it seems like our narrator just really wants to cram it in there, to reinforce Haven's sketchiness, and to suggest that the people who truly wield power – in both America and on Planet Earth – are not necessarily the ones you'll find on the front page of the newspaper and are often entirely unknown.

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