Infinite Summer 2014 discussion

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Reading Notes > Through p. 137

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message 1: by John (new)

John I'm also running late. I plan on catching up and reading ahead this weekend.


message 2: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (keds723) Somehow I am very far ahead, almost pg. 400! The toughest part for me to get through was between pg. 300 and 350 so far for anyone who needs a little insight into the future. Although I am still a bit confused, I am wholly engrossed. :) Good luck to all of those getting through pg. 200; I hear it's a common hurdle.


message 3: by Meagan (new)

Meagan | 25 comments I'm slightly ahead, trying to get far enough ahead that I can slack off in July when work gets busy. Last time I quit around page 180, so I'm going to have to power through that section.


message 4: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 27 comments I've been thoroughly caught up with this book...I'm on page 864. But I've been making notes at all the schedule points so I can participate without benefit of future insight. It's really made a difference reading this with you guys.


message 5: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 27 comments Kristen wrote: "Somehow I am very far ahead, almost pg. 400! The toughest part for me to get through was between pg. 300 and 350 so far for anyone who needs a little insight into the future. Although I am still a ..."

But I loved the Eschaton...it's hilarious!


message 6: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (keds723) I loved the ending of that chapter, but the abbreviations were mind numbing. Granted, I was reading in the car. I think it was note 123 that did me in though. :P


message 7: by John (new)

John I'm still a little behind (148), but I want to know what folks think about Wallace's funny take on why consumers went back to "good old voice-only telephoning." I found myself laughing out loud when he talks about the videophone users wearing masks that made it look like they were paying attention! I guess it's interesting reading that section from our perspective where Skype and FaceTime and whatever are so readily available to us all.


message 8: by Meagan (new)

Meagan | 25 comments I liked the "good old voice-only telephoning" passage too. I think it really captures why I'm personally so resistant to Skype. I think it also ties into the theme that we see in a lot of other passages about people trying to maintain a certain image/"face" to others (Hal not wanting anyone to know he's high, etc.).


message 9: by Paula (last edited Jun 22, 2014 09:34AM) (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 27 comments The other day, my daughter tried to get me to use Skype (she lives 2000 miles away), but seeing my face on my Ipad before I reversed the image was enough for me to nix that idea. I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate on a conversation knowing my weirdly distorted face was part of the deal :). I can totally see myself taking the most complimentary photo I could find and using that instead!

This entire section was a hilarious read - hard to pick a favorite quote from it, but here goes (page 147): "...the videophonic stress was even worse if you were at all vain. I.e. if you worried at all about how you looked. As in to other people. Which all kidding aside who doesn't."

So, I told my daughter I couldn't use Skype because I suffered from "videophonic stress" :).


message 10: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 27 comments I found an interview DFW did when Infinite Jest first came out - he was asked about all the (many) narrative threads and how they gradually come together and intertwine with each other. The question was...was this something he envisioned from the beginning - or did he, as he progressed deeper into the novel, circle back at a later time and establish the foundations of those threads in order to tie them together? He responded that everything he did, all the threads, were very deliberate and were planned from the beginning. He said there was nothing extraneous in the narratives. I found that interesting, because it's very different from what many authors say happens with their characters - that they take on a life of their own and evolve almost independently of the author; creating narrative paths perhaps not originally envisioned by the writer.

It's very reminiscent of Richard Powers' novels - this almost musical fugue-like structure...or a DNA strand that twists upon itself. Before picking up Infinite Jest (again), I had just finished reading Powers' "The Goldbug Variations" and the structure is very similar. I believe Powers is a writer DFW admired very much and I see his influences in Infinite Jest.

BTW, has anyone started to notice some of the other influences DFW used in I.J.? I think he really enjoyed using some of the motifs he found in other books, movies and TV shows he was enjoying at the time. For example, Hugh/Helen Steeply...this is a character that has its roots in the Twin Peaks cross-dresser DEA agent played by Duchovny (can't remember the name). Also,about the mysterious movie master cartridge they are trying to find - this reminds me of Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash", where some of the characters fall victim to a computer virus inserted in the virtual world they play in and renders the catatonic.

Just some random thoughts...


message 11: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 27 comments Meghan wrote: "Just finished this section—the last section by yrstruly was a nice nod to Burgess, which was satisfying as some of the sections before it referenced A Clockwork Orange."

Good one. Here's another...I was thinking of all the Hamlet influences, you know, associating one set of characters with the other, and wondering how Steeply and Marathe would fit. I thought perhaps Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but the association seemed thin. Plus R&G were relatively minor characters, whereas S&M certainly are not. However, I remember seeing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead - way back in the early 1990's - and the associations are very strong. That was a very interesting play. I refreshed my memory of the play earlier this evening and it certainly makes for some interesting and fun food for thought when reading through those sections. Although, I'm thinking neither Rosencrantz nor Guildenstern were cross-dressers...as far as we know :)


message 12: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (keds723) I don't see Orin as Ophelia, but I will offer the strange idea that eachIncandenza brother could represent different aspects of Hamlet. I think this becomes more obvious after DFW gives us more Orin chapters. And after some of the sections from Hal's perspective. In terms of Ophelia though, I have sort of seen Joelle as Ophelia and there seems to also be a Laertes, but I don't want to spoil! I feel like DFW may not have been as imvested in portraying her and Ophelia's character is never really paralleled 100% (or close to it, as I think he has done with Hamlet)


message 13: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 27 comments Kristen wrote: "I don't see Orin as Ophelia, but I will offer the strange idea that eachIncandenza brother could represent different aspects of Hamlet. I think this becomes more obvious after DFW gives us more Ori..."

This! I had the same thought Kristen.


message 14: by Paula (new)

Paula (paula-j) | 27 comments And is there a parallel between Gately and Horatio? This is fun :)


message 15: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (keds723) I do see the A.F.P. and Marathe representing the military aspect of Hamlet as well. Fortinbras as Marathe?


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