Infinite Summer 2015 discussion

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Week 13 discussion (August 31, page 981)

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahkateemerson) | 36 comments Mod
August is done and so are we! The whole book is fair game for discussion in this thread, endnotes and all.


message 2: by John (last edited Aug 17, 2015 01:04PM) (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments Whoo! Congratulations you guys!

I'll admit, when I finished this book I was fairly upset. Possibly a little infuriated :) If you feel the same, my advice is to sleep on it, it will make more sense in time...

I read somewhere that Wallace was adamant that this is not intended to be an "open ended" story -- the missing parts are more or less there if you look for them, and the true gaps are, for the most part, fairly minimal.


message 3: by John (last edited Aug 17, 2015 01:01PM) (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments I think the biggest blank that I still have trouble filling in is: what happened to Joelle and the other Ennet House residents?

Following are my thoughts/theory. I'll put it in a spoiler tag just in case, even though this is the final discussion:

(view spoiler)


message 4: by David (last edited Aug 20, 2015 06:14AM) (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments John,

I felt the exact same way when I first finished it. Then I read this:

http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/ijend

I promptly went back to page one and proceeded to read the entire thing again. The second time around, it was like reading a different book altogether--possibly the most enjoyable and rewarding reading experience of my life.

I think a lot of people (myself included) have the wrong attitude going in: we don't pay attention to details, we skim when we feel it necessary, and we wait ceaselessly to be impressed. This isn't how 'Jest' works; on the contrary, it requires some serious detective work. One thing is for certain, though: all the answers you're seeking are in there.

Hope this helps some.


message 5: by John (last edited Aug 20, 2015 09:05AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments David wrote: "John,

I felt the exact same way when I first finished it. Then I read this:
http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/ijend"


That is great! It's awesome to see that his summary is almost exactly the conclusion I came to (although I won't pretend I came up with it ALL on my own, I definitely looked around to read other readers' thoughts).

There are a few issues and questions I have about that summary however:

Q: The link says that "the tapes and the DMZ are delivered together to the FLQ". Details on this please? How/when did this happen?

Issue: The link above says:

They persuade John Wayne, a spy for the A.F.R., to become a double agent and help sneak them into JOI’s Quebec burial site [...] The A.F.R. finds out and brutally murders him, which is why he can’t win the WhataBurger (16f).

...Isn't it equally possible that John Wayne forced/kidnapped them to lead him to the gravesite? This actually seems more possible to me, as we know Wayne's father was disgraced from the AFR (by failing at the train game), and he would be looking to restore his family's honor. This would explain also why he can't compete at the Whataburger, as his cover is blown.

Issue: One thing I think should be clarified -- the link above says that Gately "forsees" the incident at the gravesite. In truth he is remembering this event, not forseeing it. Recall that Gately's sense of time is out of whack, and he is not perceiving events chronologically (page 809). So when Gately "dreams" of being in a bus travelling north, he is actually in a bus (the bus stolen by the AFR), drugged and/or feverish, travelling north to the gravesite.

This leads directly into the next question...

Q: Gately, waking up on the beach on the very last page. Is he waking up after Facklemann's death, or is he waking up after coming back from JOI's grave, finally clear-headed? The way I see it it could be either (or both). But it's probably intended as the latter.

Q: When Hal goes into the bathroom to brush his teeth, the date on the digital display is incorrect. (It is Nov. 20, but the date reads Nov. 18) This HAS to have some meaning, but I haven't come across any theories. Maybe it's a sign of the Wraith's proximity? Did anything significant happen on the false date of Nov. 18th?

Q: Was JOI connected with Sixties Bob in any way? The reason I ask is b/c I'm wondering if you can trace the path of how the wraith got the DMZ all the way to Hal. We know the DMZ started with 60s Bob, who gave it to the Antitoi Brothers, who gave it to Pemulis. But how did it get to 60s Bob? I'd guess the clue lies in the DMZ histories that Pemulis and Axford look up. Edit: It seems like 60s Bob is Quebecois? So maybe the connection is with Avril?


message 6: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments Here is another excellent link that I think adds very well to the one you provided David:

http://dfan.org/jest.txt


message 7: by John (last edited Aug 20, 2015 08:08AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments Another very interesting point is that the Near-Eastern Medical Attache who Avril was having an affair with was a specialist in facial symptoms caused by intestinal mold...which is exactly Hal's problem. I'd like to investigate this further when I have time...was she sleeping with him to get treatment for Hal? Or something more sinister? We know that this affair was especially hated by JOI, so is it possible Avril was actually working against Hal's best interest?


message 8: by David (last edited Aug 20, 2015 08:49AM) (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments Sounds like you paid a lot more attention that I did the first time around. It's been about a year since I last read it so my memory of the timeline is a bit foggy. I don't think I can confidently provide much clarification on any of your Q's. This really makes me want to read it again, though, I'll tell you that much. This is all I can offer:

-I think Gately's vision has to be a premonition since Joelle arrives to escort both he and Hal directly to the burial site from the hospital (if memory serves correctly). Doesn't this vision occur from his hospital bed?

-I interpreted the awakening that occurs on the last page as a metaphorical regression from the Disease, made possible by the reliving of Fackelmann's death in the midst of his hospital agony, a sign that his recovery was complete and that he could begin to find peace.

-There may be a deeper significance in the digital display's alteration as you've suggested, but given the fact that the wraith's presence has thus been signified by strange and seemingly random disturbances around ETA, it seems to me that it was just DFW's way of letting us know that the wraith had been there, and that he and the whole toothbrush-spawned ordeal were definitely connected.

You've given me a lot to think about; I did not see the connection between the faciomaxillary stuff with the medical attache and its relationship to Avril, but it definitely seems likely now that you mention it. Same goes for the Sixties Bob theory--there's definitely something there. This book, man.


message 9: by John (last edited Aug 20, 2015 10:18AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments David wrote: "-I think Gately's vision has to be a premonition since Joelle arrives to escort both he and Hal directly to the burial site from the hospital (if memory serves correctly). Doesn't this vision occur from his hospital bed?"

Hmm, I do remember a vision of Joelle -- with Winston Churchill's face?* -- but I don't remember any indication that she was going to lead them to the grave. And even if she did, I'm not sure why that would discount the non-premonition theory?

To be honest, the idea that Gately is dreaming a vision of the future just does not sit well with me. Even though admittedly, we do already have a supernatural element...it still doesn't feel to me like it fits. I could be wrong.

* The Churchill appearance probably indicates Ortho Stice in some way, who we know was probably possessed by the Wraith.


message 10: by David (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments I get that.


message 11: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments One thing I really like in those links that had not occurred to me is the idea of "the thing that killed you will give birth to you" referring to the Fitviavi mold/DMZ.

Fit via vi in Latin = "Finds a way".


message 12: by David (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments YES. And how both the mold and the Entertainment appeared in the microwave underneath ETA (Himself having died via microwave).


message 13: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments David wrote: "YES. And how both the mold and the Entertainment appeared in the microwave underneath ETA (Himself having died via microwave)."

Oh the mold was in the microwave too?? The one that Kent Blott and the "Tunnel Club" found? I will have to dig out mu copy and read that chapter again :)

I loved the Tunnel Club because it's so perfectly what 11-year old boys would do. Starting a club to explore dirty maintenance tunnels.


message 14: by David (last edited Aug 20, 2015 12:15PM) (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments I think so.

I don't know that it was specifically referenced that way but the fact that the mold was everywhere around the microwave (wasn't it the smell that sent the Club running?) sort of led me to believe that that's where it came from.


message 15: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments John wrote: "Q: Gately, waking up on the beach on the very last page. Is he waking up after Facklemann's death, or is he waking up after coming back from JOI's grave, finally clear-headed? The way I see it it could be either (or both). But it's probably intended as the latter."

Stumbled on an answer to this question!

http://feralhamsters.blogspot.com/201...


message 16: by David (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments John wrote: "John wrote: "Q: Gately, waking up on the beach on the very last page. Is he waking up after Facklemann's death, or is he waking up after coming back from JOI's grave, finally clear-headed? The way ..."

Holy shit.

Mind: blown.


message 17: by Ella (new)

Ella (ellaak) | 1 comments I've been a part of this group since the beginning, but this is my first post because I kind of got wrapped up in my own reading/analysis of it and didn't really follow along with the group here (I think I wanted to read it mostly "alone" and then see what other peoples' thoughts were once I'd finished it). I actually finished reading it back at the beginning of August, but I wanted to wait until this group was officially done until I posted my final thoughts. It's been a little less than a month now and I keep getting the urge to dive back in again but I think for now I'll just be re-reading some of my favourite passages every now and again, and I may do a full-on re read in a couple of years (age and perspective and all that). I have a full post on it that I made the day after I finished reading it, and although it's not necessarily 'complete', I don't feel like I have anything else to add in terms of my thoughts and feelings about the book -- at least, nothing else I can or feel the need to write coherently about. I'd love to find someone in real life to discuss it with (the only person I know who's read the book is my 11th grade philosophy teacher, haha) but I always feel way more obligated to be super eloquent or have real answers to things when I'm on the internet.

TL;DR, this book was probably the best I've ever read, and definitely one of the most personally important and influential to me. Maybe I'm naive and I'll reread it in a few years and have a completely different view of what it means, but as for right now, I'm more than happy with what I got out of it.

Here's the link to my post if anyone's interested (on my basically-unused-apart-from-writing-about-IJ blog :P) http://sometypeofjournal.blogspot.ca/...


message 18: by John (last edited Aug 29, 2015 08:01PM) (new)

John | 37 comments I finished tonight and finally read all your posts above. My mind is exploding out of my ears like JOI's head in the microwave. I have a bunch of random thoughts that won't make much sense.

How about Hal all the way back on page 16: "I think of John N.R. Wayne, who would have won this year's WhataBurger standing watch in a mask as Donald Gately and I dig up my father's head." How do they get out there? And is the anti-Entertainment buried literally in his head or does Hal mean it died with him as a memory? And when Hal says "Too Late" I wonder if someone already dug up the anti-Entertainment."

How about the phone call Hal receives on page 32 -- "I want to tell you...My head is filled with things to say." Is that JOI Wraith? Later Hal seems to think it had been Orin.

At first I thought for sure Don died at the end. It sounded like he was dying from the sounds of hospital workers around him. But then I guess it makes sense that he's waking up after the Fax incident.

I also think Gately is sort of dreaming or projecting the future in his fever dream. I think it makes sense that the premonition of digging up the head was put there by the wraith of JOI. But why Don? Why would JOI plant the seed in Don't brain? Why does Don need to be a part of finding the antidote?

Prompted from one of the links posted above, I went back to page 126 and see, (in Steeply/Marathe conversation) "Also, does this quote "anti"-Entertainment the film's director supposedly made to counter the lethality: does it really also exist;...."

I had trouble picking up on the JOI as the wraith at Gately's beside and around the Tennis Academy until I read other summaries. I felt kind of stupid for missing that.


message 19: by John (last edited Aug 29, 2015 09:38PM) (new)

John | 37 comments Funny side note: How funny is it that after a 1,000+ pages, we are more interested in the story NOT written (graveyard, anti-Entertainment) than what was?


message 20: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments John wrote: "How about the phone call Hal receives on page 32 -- "I want to tell you...My head is filled with things to say." Is that JOI Wraith? Later Hal seems to think it had been Orin. "

Interesting side note: In this call, Orin was actually quoting the Beatles song "I Want to Tell You". I think Hal's response is from the song as well? Don't remember offhand.


message 21: by . (new)

. | 23 comments David wrote: "I think so.

I don't know that it was specifically referenced that way but the fact that the mold was everywhere around the microwave (wasn't it the smell that sent the Club running?) sort of led m..."


The smell was coming from the fridge not microwave and I guess it was the rotten sandwich w/ maggots not mold.


message 22: by . (last edited Aug 30, 2015 04:12AM) (new)

. | 23 comments Hi all,
I am a new member of this group and have finished the book. I have many questions just like you folks:

Other than the popular theory that Orin released the Master copy, who do you think could be responsible for this? Avril, perhaps?

Was the Master copy ever discovered and by whom? Who owned the Master copy throughout the book?


message 23: by . (new)

. | 23 comments John wrote: "I think the biggest blank that I still have trouble filling in is: what happened to Joelle and the other Ennet House residents?

Following are my thoughts/theory. I'll put it in a spoiler tag just ..."


Marathe only had a feeling that he could find the Master copy or perhaps anti-Entertainment in the House. Also, why Enfield Academy was dumping away all the cartridges? The cartridges which were dumped didn't include Himself's collection because Mario was watching Accomplice and Hal was watching Good-Looking Men...Efficiency after the dumping was mentioned.


message 24: by David (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments . wrote: "Hi all,
I am a new member of this group and have finished the book. I have many questions just like you folks:

Other than the popular theory that Orin released the Master copy, who do you think ..."


It had to have been Orin. Avril's got issues, but she's not that Out-There.

Remember when Orin was talking to Hal during the toenail clipping? He mentions having to wait in line at the post office. Hal responds with something like "but you hate snail mail, and you stopped sending faux-letters to the Moms years ago..."

Orin quickly changes the subject.


message 25: by . (new)

. | 23 comments John wrote: "Another very interesting point is that the Near-Eastern Medical Attache who Avril was having an affair with was a specialist in facial symptoms caused by intestinal mold...which is exactly Hal's pr..."

I don't think that she was trying to get treatment for Hal. On the other hand, I believe that she was using attache to make Hal more robotic. May be it was the medical attache who told her to mix steroids in Hal's Ralston.
Also, remember that Hal was interested in Byzantine erotica and Hal couldn't remember what happened to the Byzantine artwork in their Weston house. And the medical attache also had Byzantine artwork in his house. I think that Avril had given that artwork to medical attache.


message 26: by David (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments I have to read this book again.


message 27: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments David wrote: "It had to have been Orin. Avril's got issues, but she's not that Out-There."

I agree -- I think maybe it's possible he had planned it out with JOI before the suicide. Or maybe not -- but I don't think Avril was involved.

. wrote: "remember that Hal was interested in Byzantine erotica and Hal couldn't remember what happened to the Byzantine artwork in their Weston house. And the medical attache also had Byzantine artwork in his house. I think that Avril had given that artwork to medical attache."

I do remember that but hadn't made the connection! That is a great catch. I am definitely leaning towards the idea that Avril was deliberately keeping Hal in his emotionless, disconnected state. To what end, I'm not sure -- possibly she just wanted to prevent damaging him the way she damaged Orin.

David wrote: "I have to read this book again."

Oh man, I would love to read it like once or twice a year for the next few years. If only there weren't so many other books to read :)


message 28: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments Another big blank that I want to fill in is that of the FLQ. When I first read the book, it seemed that they were just a side note, but the more I think about it I get the feeling that they may have had a much bigger role.


message 29: by David (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments I've also got to give you some serious commendations for that Byzantine/attache catch, Person-Whose-Privacy-Settings-Prevent-His/Her-Name/Username-From-Being-Visible; I never noticed the connection there either.


message 30: by . (new)

. | 23 comments David wrote: "It had to have been Orin...

Yes, I remember but the medical attache watched the Entertainment on 1 April YDAU and Hal-Orin phone conversation occurred on 5 Nov YDAU during which he said that he was in the post office "the other day".


message 31: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments . wrote: "I remember but the medical attache watched the Entertainment on 1 April YDAU and Hal-Orin phone conversation occurred on 5 Nov YDAU during which he said that he was in the post office "the other day". "

That could have been one of Orin's other mailing victims; I remember there being several. I think one of the links above may have had a list of them.


message 32: by . (new)

. | 23 comments John wrote: "Another big blank that I want to fill in is that of the FLQ. When I first read the book, it seemed that they were just a side note, but the more I think about it I get the feeling that they may hav..."


I think they were the ones who started the rumor (if we can call it a rumor) about anti-Entertainment.


message 33: by David (last edited Aug 30, 2015 10:52AM) (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments . wrote: Yes, I remember but the medical attache watched the Entertainment on 1 April YDAU and Hal-Orin phone conversation occurred on 5 Nov YDAU during which he s..."

But if we're to believe that there are multiple victims here then we can assume he's done the deed more than once; that particular visit could not have been the first.


message 34: by . (last edited Aug 30, 2015 11:43AM) (new)

. | 23 comments David wrote: "But if we're to believe that..."

John wrote: "That could have been one of Orin's other mailing victims; I remember there being several..."

I've always assumed that the medical attache and the team were the first victims of the Entertainment since it was this incident that brought Marathe and Steeply into the picture and the hunt for the Entertainment began.


message 35: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 13 comments With the Churchill mask at the end, maybe it's related to the founding of uhid when Churchill put the napkin on the lady's face-to-face page 226


message 36: by John (new)

John | 37 comments After finishing IJ, I immediately went out and bought Of Course You End up Becoming Yourself. I read half of it in one sitting. I think it's fairly mesmerizing to hear him talk about the book. I'm sure most of you have already read it, but it's a book-length interview with DFW right at the end of his IJ reading tour (and is what that new movie is based upon).


message 37: by . (new)

. | 23 comments John wrote: "I finished tonight and finally read all your posts above. My mind is exploding out of my ears like JOI's head in the microwave. I have a bunch of random thoughts that won't make much sense.

How a..."


I think Don was chosen by JOI because of his connection w/ Joelle.
And wasn't the anti-Entertainment a rumor possibly spread by FLQ?
The digging-up-the-head scene is driving me crazy too. Could it be possible that the guy next to Gately in hospital is Hal?


message 38: by . (new)

. | 23 comments What could be written on the Volvo's mirror?


message 39: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments . wrote: "Could it be possible that the guy next to Gately in hospital is Hal? "

Most theories I've read assume that this is indeed the case...it also provides another explanation for why the Wraith chose Don -- he was simply following Hal and ended up in Don's room. Don, being immobile, would have made a good listener as JOI was subject to the "wraith-time" effect.

. wrote: "What could be written on the Volvo's mirror?"

This is one of the things that nobody seems to have a solid theory for. Most people assume it's Either C.T. or Orin himself. I've even seen some people propose that it could be Hal?


message 40: by . (new)

. | 23 comments John wrote: "This is one of the things that nobody seems to have a solid theory for. Most people assume it's Either C.T. or Orin himself. I've even seen some people propose that it could be Hal? "

That's my main concern, if JOI knew that Avril is molesting Orin or Hal then why didn't he take a serious step?


message 41: by . (new)

. | 23 comments In the first chapter, Hal mentioned being in an emergency room exactly one year before? Can someone throw some light on the time when he was in the emergency room? Could it be the same ER as Don's or after Whataburger?


message 42: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments . wrote: "Could it be the same ER as Don's"

Yup, I believe this is it. He went to the hospital after being dosed with the DMZ.


message 43: by David (last edited Sep 02, 2015 08:46PM) (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments . wrote: "John wrote: "This is one of the things that nobody seems to have a solid theory for. Most people assume it's Either C.T. or Orin himself. I've even seen some people propose that it could be Hal? "
..."


Personally I think something brief and unutterable occurred between Avril and Orin, hence the sourness of their present relationship.

Think about it: Orin is out-of-his-mind obsessed with JOI--if he's willfully bent on destroying/enslaving the planet to preserve his father's legacy (perhaps in an attempt to actually become his father), is it that much of a stretch to assume something creepily intimate went on between him and Himself's bride, whose heart he (Himself) never fully conquered? Avril, ostensibly caring as she seems, has a problem telling people, specifically her children, no--a problem that's described in numerous passages as hinging on creepy and even downright-sociopathic.

. wrote: "Could it be possible that the guy next to Gately in hospital is Hal? "

It's definitely Hal.


message 44: by . (new)

. | 23 comments David wrote: "It's definitely Hal."

John wrote: " Yup, I believe this is it. He went to the hospital after being dosed with the DMZ."


When I read that part even I believed it to be Hal. But explain the timeline or what could be Wallace's purpose to play w/ the timeline? Gately was in hospital on 17 Nov YDAU and I think during this time Hal was in Inner Infant Anonymous.


message 45: by David (last edited Sep 03, 2015 06:09AM) (new)

David Robson (thenaturalprofane) | 21 comments . wrote: "David wrote: "It's definitely Hal."

John wrote: " Yup, I believe this is it. He went to the hospital after being dosed with the DMZ."


When I read that part even I believed it to be Hal. But expl..."


It's been too long for me to remember the specifics of the timeline, but Hal's hospitalization is what saves him from the AFR attack; it's the reason he's still alive one year later at the beginning of the book. There's also the fact that Joelle, Gately, and Hal eventually all go to JOI's grave to dig up his head—Joelle visits Gately in his hospital room and this leads to their introduction.


message 46: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments . wrote: "But explain the timeline or what could be Wallace's purpose to play w/ the timeline? Gately was in hospital on 17 Nov YDAU and I think during this time Hal was in Inner Infant Anonymous. "

Let's see -- I'm checking here: http://jest.founddrama.net/timeline/

Looks like Gately was admitted on the 13th, and Hal on the 20th. In the book, we do experience these events in reverse order, so it is kind of confusing.

David wrote: " Avril, ostensibly caring as she seems, has a problem telling people, specifically her children, no"

Ahh...it never occurred to me that maybe Orin was the one who initiated the advances towards his mother. I always assumed it was the other way around, since Avril had that weird thing with John Wayne where it seemed like she was pretending he was Orin. That's something to think about though.


message 47: by . (last edited Sep 03, 2015 08:10AM) (new)

. | 23 comments John wrote: "Let's see -- I'm checking here: http://jest.founddrama.net/timeline/
Looks like Gately was admitted on the 13th, ..."


Thanks for the link. So basically according to the timeline, the person next to Don could not be Hal.


message 48: by . (new)

. | 23 comments John wrote: "David wrote: " Avril, ostensibly caring as she seems, has a problem telling people, specifically her children, no"

Ahh...it never occurred to me that maybe Orin was the one who initiated the advances ..."


Yes, it never occurred to me too that Orin was the one starting the whole affair thing and it's not like Avril was involved w/ only Orin, she had other affairs too.


message 49: by . (new)

. | 23 comments In the first chapter, Hal said that the emergency room which he had been to had molded orange plastic chairs and the only other time similar chairs were mentioned was in Inner Infant meeting. So what's up w/ it?


message 50: by John (last edited Sep 03, 2015 10:39AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 46 comments . wrote: "So basically according to the timeline, the person next to Don could not be Hal. ."

Quite the opposite, actually -- Gately was in the hospital for an extended period and would certainly still have been there on the 20th.

In fact for the first few days, Otis P. Lord was in the room with Gately.
Somewhere between the 14th and the 19th, Otis was released and Hal took the bed on the 20th. Otis had surgery to remove the monitor screen on a Thursday, although I'm not sure what the exact date was.

Around page 965 -- on the 20th -- Otis makes his return to ETA and the other students greet him in the Locker Room. This is the same morning that Hal was dosed with DMZ, and the narrator mentions that Hal's facial expressions are already becoming erratic as the coach tapes up his ankle. Later that day Hal is admitted to the hospital.


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