What is the source of Wheeze's jokes in Jacob Have I Loved?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wheeze's jokes are most likely from a variety of sources.  She is well-read, and is an avid follower of Time magazine and the Baltimore Sun. Wheeze is also versed in poetry, and is quite familiar with the Bible.  Wheeze is obviously very intelligent and does not have many friends as she is growing up.  Reading is most likely a welcome diversion for her in counteracting her loneliness and isolation.

To my best knowledge, the only time Wheeze attributes one of her jokes to a specific source is when she tells Call the one about "the lawyer, the dentist, and the psychiatrist who died and went to heaven".  She says that Time magazine "is probably the source of the joke (she is) laboring to recount".  Wheeze comments that, on isolated Rass Island where she lives, Time magazine, along with the Sun, is the citizens' "porthole on the world".  Besides giving her the joke she is telling, these media have taught her about the existence of psychiatry, which is a burgeoning pastime in her day, although they could not have informed her that the "p" in "psychiatry" is silent.

Wheeze tells her jokes primarily to Call during their long summer days on the skiff while they are crabbing.  Unfortunately, Call is a ridiculously literal thinker with no sense of humor, so the jokes which seem so hilarious to Wheeze are completely lost upon her companion (Chapter 1).