Reading the Chunksters discussion

22 views
Archived 2015 Group Reads > Infinite Jest, Week 6 by D.F.Wallace

Comments Showing 1-50 of 59 (59 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Please post your thoughts and opinions concerning part 6.

1. The narrative becomes more complex but also more definitive somehow. Which of the arc do you find the easiest to follow?

2. I personally find the number of abbreviations overwhelming. Every week, we are dealing with new abbreviations. Some of them are quite cumbersome and mouthful. What is your opinion of abbreviations?

3. Some parts of the novel are getting denser and denser with longer sentences and fewer paragraphs. How can you explain this phenomenon? Does it enhance your reading experience or does it make it more challenging?

4. Why do you think Wallace relies heavily on nearly technical texts about cartridges, video telephones, medical conditions (in footnotes), technological advancements, etc.?

5. Some passages are quite bleak in the novel, and some of them are quite hilarious or at least bittersweet. What is your favorite hilarious or bittersweet episode?


message 2: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments Well now it is my turn to be behind, I have barely started this section :) I plan to try to get at least halfway through tonight.

Question: There are two sections in quick succession with the title "8 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment Independence Day Gaudeamus Igitur"...to clarify, can someone confirm that this week's section goes from roughly page 300 to 343? I think I've got that right but I'm not sure.


message 3: by Rosemary (last edited Nov 05, 2014 06:33AM) (new)

Rosemary Yes, John! I thought at first it was weirdly short, but when you see note 110 you will understand! I take my metaphorical hat off to Zulfiya for the scheduling.


message 4: by Rosemary (last edited Nov 05, 2014 07:58AM) (new)

Rosemary Thanks for the questions Zulfiya!

1. The arcs are beginning to intertwine. I think the Incandenza family is easiest to follow, personally. I loved the Mario section in this week's reading.

Re Mario, on page 316 Charles Tavis is described as "his possible half-uncle". Why 'possible'? Is it a hint that C.T. could be Mario's biological father? If not, it presumably means C.T. may not really be Avril's half-brother...

I have a bad feeling about Orin and Steeply. I think she is trying to find out who is responsible for the cartridge, and by swotting up on Canadian politics in note 110, he risks making himself appear dangerously knowledgeable and involved.

Also in note 110, p 1007 and 1014, Jethro Bodine, Orin says "A private chuckle. She'd never get it." - I don't get it either. Anyone? (If it's not too obscene for Goodreads)

2. Abbreviations - I have lost track of some of them. Like O.N.A.N., I kind of know what it represents, but not what the letters stand for. The ones in Eschaton I ignored, except for the countries, which were obvious.

3. My heart sinks when I see some of those dense sections. But then the very last pages of this section are all one long paragraph, and it's riveting, because it's where the Eschaton game is going horribly, violently wrong.

I hope Ingersoll is OK ... I liked Hal's 'Little Buddies'. I like that there's a lot of affection in the way the younger kids are described.

Who is in the green Ford that drives in and parks up in that section, btw? Have we seen a green Ford before? Could it be Steeply, come to interview Hal?

4. The technical bits - maybe they're for world-building, to remind us this isn't the present-day? I've stopped trying to follow them - I'll just read them for the little asides, like in footnote 123 with the formulae for Eschaton, where we find out Hal is writing the footnotes (or at least that one), and I didn't understand a word of the maths but loved all the little [sic]s where Pemulis was dictating some error of language.

5. The "What we learn in rehab" section from last week's reading is still my favourite.


message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments John wrote: "Well now it is my turn to be behind, I have barely started this section :) I plan to try to get at least halfway through tonight."

I'm behind too, especially with having to take a major sidestep away from the main text to read ~18 pages of footnotes. :) I'm still working my way through footnote 110.


message 6: by Kaycie (new)

Kaycie | 294 comments To those who haven't finished this section yet, the Eschaton section seems really daunting (and it is at the beginning!) but I thought it ended up being worth it in the end, so stick it out!

1. I am really enjoying the phone conversations between Hal and Orin. They are very informative and have more insights into what is going on than most other sections of the book combined. I also think they read as the most relatable for me. As much as I enjoy the hardcore addiction sections for a great view into a life I don't understand, the Hal/Orin sections seem like conversations I would have in real life with my siblings. Something about them really comes to life for me.

2. I've honestly been ignoring a lot of them, mostly in the Echsaton section, actually. I figured those at least were kind of unimportant, relatively, so didn't bother trying to memorize them. Like Rosemary, I have forgotten what things like ONAN actually stand for, but know relatively what they are referring to.

3. To me, the denseness IS enhancing the experience I think. Look at some of the denser sections - Eschaton in this part, the Joelle drug addiction section. The denseness helps the story. In the Eschaton, politics are dense and complicated and hard to digest and appear daunting...just like the section was. For Joelle, it seemed scattered and difficult and unfocused and intense...which seems to add to what she was going through in the story.

Rosemary - I agree, I Want to know who was in the green Ford! I am sure it will be important later! Also what happened to (I forget his name and don't have my notes...)'s fingers? I am sure that we will get the story on that later, too.

4. Ugh, I want to say "to annoy me", but I know that isn't right. I read somewhere that he uses highly technical side-notes to give the reader a break from the deep and disturbing story he is actually crafting, and to help separate the reader. It makes sense...

5. Most hilarious for me now is the reading of the tennis scores from the P.W.T.A match, when he didn't want to repeat "beat". I was laughing so hard though people getting stomped on and all of the other funny ways he found to say lost or won.


message 7: by Rosemary (last edited Nov 05, 2014 03:33PM) (new)

Rosemary Linda wrote: "I'm behind too, especially with having to take a major sidestep away from the main text to read ~18 pages of footnotes. :) I'm still working my way through footnote 110. "

But it's worth it! I really liked that phone call :-)

I have to say, usually when I read a book with this group, I read the whole week's section at the weekend, often in one day. But there is no way I could do that with Infinite Jest. It's too rich a dish! I'm trying for around 10 pages a day, on however many days I have time.


message 8: by Rosemary (last edited Nov 05, 2014 03:36PM) (new)

Rosemary Kaycie wrote: " I am really enjoying the phone conversations between Hal and Orin. They are very informative and have more insights into what is going on than most other sections of the book combined. I also think they read as the most relatable for me. As much as I enjoy the hardcore addiction sections for a great view into a life I don't understand, the Hal/Orin sections seem like conversations I would have in real life with my siblings. Something about them really comes to life for me."

I agree, and I find the relationships between Hal and Orin and Hal and Mario the most comforting relationships in the book. Without these, I think I would be feeling there was no hope for humanity.


message 9: by Kaycie (new)

Kaycie | 294 comments Rosemary said: "I have to say, usually when I read a book with this group, I read the whole week's section at the weekend, often in one day. But there is no way I could do that with Infinite Jest. It's too rich a dish! I'm trying for around 10 pages a day, on however many days I have time. "

Agreed on the normal reading...at least that's what I'm doing with FoG. With IJ, though, I find I do MUCH better reading it over a few days, but reading two weeks worth at once with no other books to interrupt it (I'm always reading like 3-4 books at a time.) So I end up being late for one week's discussion and early for another by just reading 15-20 pages over 5-7 days in between the two discussion weeks. I feel like I need to not interrupt an IJ mindset, but I also can't read more than maybe 20 pages at a time.

Rosemary said: "I agree, and I find the relationships between Hal and Orin and Hal and Mario the most comforting relationships in the book. Without these, I think I would be feeling there was no hope for humanity"

Agreed!!!


message 10: by Ami (last edited Nov 05, 2014 07:49PM) (new)

Ami Rosemary wrote: "Thanks for the questions Zulfiya!

1. The arcs are beginning to intertwine. I think the Incandenza family is easiest to follow, personally. I loved the Mario section in this week's reading.

Re Mar..."


Re Mario, on page 316 Charles Tavis is described as "his possible half-uncle". Why 'possible'? Is it a hint that C.T. could be Mario's biological father? If not, it presumably means C.T. may not really be Avril's half-brother...

Or maybe Mario's paternity is questionable, in general...This is what "possible-uncle" meant to me? Does anything come to mind for you, to this point, triggering questionable behavior/actions between Avril and C.T.?


message 11: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary Ami wrote: "Or maybe Mario's paternity is questionable, in general...This is what "possible-uncle" meant to me? Does anything come to mind for you, to this point, triggering questionable behavior/actions between Avril and C.T.? "

Only the hints about C.T. moving upstairs, and the Hamlet theme.


message 12: by Ami (last edited Nov 07, 2014 12:25PM) (new)

Ami Rosemary wrote: "Ami wrote: "Or maybe Mario's paternity is questionable, in general...This is what "possible-uncle" meant to me? Does anything come to mind for you, to this point, triggering questionable behavior/a..."

Taking into consideration some of the delayed mental activity and physical deformities inhabited by Mario, my brain went straight to "incestuous..." after reading this particular line. I'm glad you thought different. I always think the worst!


message 13: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary Ami wrote: "Rosemary wrote: "Ami wrote: "Or maybe Mario's paternity is questionable, in general...This is what "possible-uncle" meant to me? Does anything come to mind for you, to this point, triggering questi..."

I didn't exactly think different, because if C.T. and Avril are half-brother and sister and C.T. is Mario's father it would be incest. I just wondered if maybe it means they weren't really half-brother and sister.


message 14: by Kaycie (new)

Kaycie | 294 comments Hmmm... I actually really just assumed that there was some kind of incestuous relationship here, probably from them mentioning how quickly C.T. moved in. I can't think of any other things in the book that might have triggered that for me, though. It could help explain Mario's issues, too.

I had actually forgotten about the Hamlet theme, though. Does anyone know how closely the book might follow that? Because isn't the father in Hamlet murdered by his brother in a way to make it look like natural causes? I know that we got a gruesome description of the microwave, but no one was there and this was just what they decided after the fact. Didnt Joelle express some surprise himself didn't leave a note? It COULD have been set up if the book is meant to parallel hamlet that closely.

It's pre-coffee for me though, and I am starting to feel like a conspiracy theorist...


message 15: by Petra (new)

Petra Hello, I'm quietly popping in here. I've read IJ last year and loved it. I'm thoroughly enjoying all the comments and seeing the tangents arising. :D

Since the Eschaton section has been reached, I thought you'd all enjoy this video of the game. It's a hoot!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJpfK...

Enjoy....both the video and the book. It's truly a wonderful book (in my opinion).


message 16: by Ami (last edited Dec 30, 2014 12:16PM) (new)

Ami Petra wrote: "Hello, I'm quietly popping in here. I've read IJ last year and loved it. I'm thoroughly enjoying all the comments and seeing the tangents arising. :D

Since the Eschaton section has been reached, I..."


This is a link to the Decemberists "Calamity" song...Is this a theme song for the book, in your opinion? :P


message 17: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments I just finished reading this section last night. I'm so glad I had no distractions while reading the last half of that Eschaton section, it was totally engrossing and SOOO funny!!! Pemulis' frustration and outbursts were hilarious! Ingersall's slow methodical launch at Kittenplan. The gradual workup to a free-for-all bodily attack by everyone on everyone. However it did end on a low note as it seems not everyone is going to be OK, or at least their injuries seem like they would be significant.

I also loved Hal's actions, or really non-actions, during the game. His decision to not participate in chemical activities, but then doing it anyway while not even realizing it. And especially his intent thoughts around how interesting it was to think about the snow as part of the real territories instead of part of the map, how this was actually more interesting than the game itself. And his continual spitting, or trying to spit. There was one part of the very long paragraph of happenings where mid-action all around him, Hal finally spits. It was the short sentence amidst all the things happening around him that made me laugh.


message 18: by Petra (new)

Petra Ami wrote: "This is a link to the Decemberists "Calamity" song? Is this a theme song for the book, in your opinion? :P ..."

LOL! ...it could be the theme song.


message 19: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments RE: Mario's parentage. It did not cross my mind that he was the product of incest, that Tavis could possibly be his father. The "possible half-uncle" part made me think that Tavis might not be Avril's half-brother. But now you all have me thinking of this other possibility...

Rosemary wrote: "I have a bad feeling about Orin and Steeply. I think she is trying to find out who is responsible for the cartridge, and by swotting up on Canadian politics in note 110, he risks making himself appear dangerously knowledgeable and involved."

Yes, I totally agree with you. I think Orin is unknowingly becoming involved with something way over his head simply by trying to look knowledgeable just to conquer another one of his "Subjects". He is not going to know what hit him when he becomes entangled.

Kaycie wrote: 3. To me, the denseness IS enhancing the experience I think.

I agree with you on the long uninterrupted paragraphs. They tend to be the sections I get wrapped up in. I'm not sure why, but perhaps their is so much going on physically (Eschaton), or mentally (Joelle) that I can't pull away and I almost feel as if I'm there in the moment.

Rosemary wrote: "Who is in the green Ford that drives in and parks up in that section, btw? Have we seen a green Ford before? Could it be Steeply, come to interview Hal?"

I'm intrigued by who this is too, and I thought we were going to find out near the end of the section, and then we didn't!! Your guess is a good one, Rosemary.

Kaycie wrote: "5. Most hilarious for me now is the reading of the tennis scores from the P.W.T.A match, when he didn't want to repeat "beat". I was laughing so hard though people getting stomped on and all of the other funny ways he found to say lost or won."

Ha ha! I loved that part too. I almost underlined the funny ones, but then figured I would be just underlining them all. And it's not like he mixed up the word "beat" in among the others. It looked like he only used the word "beat" while reading the score of the first match and then every one after the was totally different. He didn't repeat once!!


message 20: by Kaycie (new)

Kaycie | 294 comments Linda wrote: "I think Orin is unknowingly becoming involved with something way over his head simply by trying to look knowledgeable just to conquer another one of his "Subjects".

IS Orin unknowingly involved? We are reading this book way out of order, so we are seeing the beginning of the wheelchair assassins looking for the Entertainment and we are seeing them months later stalking Orin. We don't see, though, what lead them to think Orin is somehow involved, and I am SOOO curious as to what this is. Maybe Orin is really involved in this, and he knows way more than he is letting on or that we can see up to this point. It could also explain his sensitivity to a large number of wheelchaired men around...he might suspect someone will eventually track him.

I am seriously starting to feel like a conspiracy theorist today! Sheesh!


message 21: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Kaycie wrote: "Maybe Orin is really involved in this, and he knows way more than he is letting on or that we can see up to this point. It could also explain his sensitivity to a large number of wheelchaired men around...he might suspect someone will eventually track him."

Good points, Kaycie. Conspiracy theorist or not! :)


message 22: by Kaycie (new)

Kaycie | 294 comments I don't know if anyone watches the TV show "Castle", but on this week's episode, Castle in an alternate universe wrote his magnum opus. It was a huge blue book with the title written in large characters across the front, and it was called "Finite Joke." hee hee hee. One of the writers is a Wallace fan!


message 23: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Kaycie wrote: "it was called "Finite Joke.""

Ha! That's too funny. :D

I'll have to ask a couple of my vanpool buddies if they saw that episode as they are religious viewers, but I'm not sure if they would get the reference. I'll have to pull out my big book and show it to them.


message 24: by Kaycie (new)

Kaycie | 294 comments They might not...I had the book right beside me and was showing my husband and he still didn't get it right away! I even paused the episode and was like "look! look!" pointing at my book, hahahaha. I just love that the cover even looked similar!


message 25: by John (last edited Nov 16, 2014 08:04PM) (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments Guys, I just finished this section! I've had a really rough couple of weeks at work. But I am going hardcore to catch up this week!

Also! It was definitely Steeply in the car. Check out page 107:

"Steeply's car for all field assignments was this green sedan subsidized by a painful ad for asprin upon its side".

I also have been going with the assumption that C.T. and Avril are incestuously involved. I won't guess about whether he's Mario's father, however it occurred to me to wonder whether Mario was in any way an inspiration for Buster Bluth from the show Arrested Development. There were one or two remarks in the Mario section that brought Buster to mind.


message 26: by Linda (last edited Nov 17, 2014 08:30AM) (new)

Linda | 1378 comments John wrote: "Also! It was definitely Steeply in the car. Check out page 107:

"Steeply's car for all field assignments was this green sedan subsidized by a painful ad for asprin upon its side"."


That's great, John! I don't remember that part so thanks for pointing it out. And I chuckle at the reference after having just read the section for Week 8. Not really a spoiler but just in case...(view spoiler).

That's funny to think about Mario as a possible inspiration for Buster Bluth. That had not crossed my mind, but I can totally see where it might lead one to wonder.

**edited to say I just finished week 8, not week 7, so that's when the spoiler is in reference to**


message 27: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Rosemary wrote: "1. The arcs are beginning to intertwine. I think the Incandenza family is easiest to follow, personally. I loved the Mario section in this week's reading.

Re Mario, on page 316 Charles Tavis is described as "his possible half-uncle". Why 'possible'? Is it a hint that C.T. could be Mario's biological father? If not, it presumably means C.T. may not really be Avril's half-brother...."


There is an uncomfortable feeling of a certain sexual nature here, and again it alludes to Hamlet, who accuses his mother of incestual relationship or as he calls 'incestual sheets'


Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her gallèd eyes,
She married. O most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good,
But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.

So maybe, DFW is also holding his tongue temporarily.


message 28: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) John wrote: "But I am going hardcore to catch up this week!"

I am doing hard-core catch-up, and even still, I am only halfway through section 6, and all those riddles after riddles, cross-reference after cross reference. I doubt and second-guess all the time. Gar, what an infinite jest his novel is!


message 29: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Ami wrote: "Or maybe Mario's paternity is questionable, in general...This is what "possible-uncle" meant to me? Does anything come to mind for you, to this point, triggering questionable behavior/actions between Avril and C.T.? "

Self-willing delusion. I really doubt that she never suspected that she was pregnant, even if all the symptoms were absent, but she was quick enough to recognize the contraction. Besides, hasn't she felt the baby moving? And nothing tells us that she was morbidly obese or old enough to suspect a menopause.


message 30: by Kaycie (new)

Kaycie | 294 comments John-Yes! Thank you for putting together who was in that car! One less nagging mystery for my poor mind!


message 31: by Ami (last edited Nov 18, 2014 08:13AM) (new)

Ami Rosemary wrote: "Thanks for the questions Zulfiya!

1. The arcs are beginning to intertwine. I think the Incandenza family is easiest to follow, personally. I loved the Mario section in this week's reading.

Re Mar..."


Orin and Steeply
Schtitt, actually said to deLint in the previous section he had several very bad feelings about Orin's future, inside (294). Now it very well could have been in direct reference to Orin's football career, since Schtitt said this while they were viewing some of his plays; but I thought otherwise because Orin goes on to "the show" after college football. Whether this is foreshadowing, I don't know; but I have a bad feeling for Orin, in general. I'm not sold on that cat, in fact, I find him to be rather self-absorbed. I read him to be a little seedy, guarding feelings of sadness and anger (42-48). I find him to be the least sincere out of all the brothers so far.


message 32: by Ami (new)

Ami Zulfiya wrote: "Ami wrote: "Or maybe Mario's paternity is questionable, in general...This is what "possible-uncle" meant to me? Does anything come to mind for you, to this point, triggering questionable behavior/a..."

Hmm, I didn't say anything about a doubtful pregnancy, I said the paternity could be questionable. I'm not sure I understand the response? :)


message 33: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "I have a bad feeling for Orin, in general. I'm not sold on that cat, in fact, I find him to be rather self-absorbed. I read him to be a little seedy, guarding feelings of sadness and anger (42-48). I find him to be the least sincere out of all the brothers so far."

Yes, there was something about Orin I could not put my finger on, and this is it. Even though the phone conversation between Orin and Hal felt "real", it still felt like Orin was holding back - information, feelings, etc - waiting to hear what Hal had to say. Perhaps he wasn't intentionally holding anything back, but instead was just insincere.


message 34: by John (last edited Nov 18, 2014 10:27AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments Good points Ami and Linda. I agree that Orin is self-absorbed and insincere, but as Ami suggests I think it's his defense mechanism. I don't like him less for it.

I think it's really interesting to witness the divide that the gap in age causes among the siblings. Orin - being, I think, about a decade older -- has had a completely different family experience than what Hal and Mario are having. He is an outsider. It seems like there must be a reconciliation in the cards and I am very much looking forward to it.


message 35: by Ami (last edited Nov 18, 2014 01:32PM) (new)

Ami Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "I have a bad feeling for Orin, in general. I'm not sold on that cat, in fact, I find him to be rather self-absorbed. I read him to be a little seedy, guarding feelings of sadness and an..."

I felt he was both, Linda, holding back and insincere. Yes, their discussion felt "natural/real," evidence of familiarity between the two is valid and can be clearly seen through the course of their conversation. They are cordial and respectful of one another, but I think that's where it ends. Hal half the time wasn't even listening to Orin and I don't think Orin called his "estranged brother" to have a gab fest...He wanted something from Hal. Their exchange was speckled with hints of the truth, but I didn't think they were having a very genuine conversation with one another at all-it lacked heart for me.

The discussion between the two brothers felt more like a one-sided fact finding conversation. Orin was fishing for information from Hal, but I also think Hal was onto him subconsciously; thus feeding him lies, right...This is what Hal does? Hal has said he had no idea why he liked lying to Orin since he started abruptly calling (136). Orin has only called three times in the past YDAU so far: on May 9th* (Mario not knowing Orin); Nov 3rd (discussion ended with Orin asking Hal about "separatism"); and Nov 5th (the most recent conversation.)

*If you recall in their first telephone conversation, Orin says to Hal My head is filled with things to say; Hal responds with I don't mind, I could wait forever; and Orin ends the dialogue between the two with "That's what you think" as the connection was cut (32). Pretty peculiar, no?

Something smells rotten in the state of Denmark...;P


message 36: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Ami wrote: "Zulfiya wrote: "Ami wrote: "Or maybe Mario's paternity is questionable, in general...This is what "possible-uncle" meant to me? Does anything come to mind for you, to this point, triggering questio..."

I did not mean a doubtful pregnancy. I meant that she was not sure that she was pregnant or her deep subconscious ID knew about it, but somehow denied the idea on the conscious level. I hope I worded it better this time.


message 37: by Ami (last edited Nov 23, 2014 06:55PM) (new)

Ami Poor Tony Krause

Poor Tony threw me for a loop as well (JvD the first time), learning about his upbringing while enduring withdrawal symptoms. I was able to see Poor Tony as a child, growing up with a neurasthenic childhood, an obstetrician as a father who helped him with his training wheels on his bike...It felt idyllic almost (301 & 303). I couldn't imagine what led him down this path of utter destruction; coming from a family with means, living in a decent home, to his current state where we find him sleeping and defecating on himself living in the bottom of a dumpster, penniless! Poor Tony, "Poor Tony" is an understatement...Holy S%#&- no pun intended. It just further emphasizes how addiction does not discriminate.

I didn't think it could get any more graphic than the detailed accounts of Poor Tony's incontinence, but the seizure on the floor of the subway car was a real treat, wasn't it (305)? Throughout his withdrawals, Poor Tony continued to be reminded of his late father to the point where his father's presence was felt by Poor Tony at the most crucial time...While attempting to save his son from dying.

In the midst of the seizure, Poor Tony subconsciously thinks his father is the one, with his bloody-rubbered fingers, who folded his teeth back to retrieve the tongue he'd swallowed (305). In this scenario, I loved how DFW intermingles the current state of Poor Tony while referencing "what could have been" the state of the father son relationship. There's definitely an ongoing theme with father son, and father daughter relationships, and Poor Tony has not been spared this plight like many other characters.

The Antitoi brothers, Canadians of the Québec subgenus, were described as sinister and duplicitous... To have Poor Tony say he would never again to darken the door of and but now figured to be his place, the Glass-Entertainment-'N-Notions-fronted operations center, of very last resort, did anybody else feel something serious went down there (303 & 304) previously?


message 38: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "Poor Tony Krause"

I think I had forgotten to mention Poor Tony's section during this week. Like you said, Ami, "Poor Tony" IS an understatement. His withdrawal symptoms and living situation during the withdrawal were horrific. If I ever need the incentive NOT to start down the path of drugs, reading this section is it.

I reviewed this section, I wanted to confirm that Tony is on his way to the Antitoi brothers when he ends up having the seizure, so he never actually makes it there. This was after having spent however many days in the bathroom stall with his cough syrup. Being 3 weeks ahead in the reading at this point, it's interesting to go back to this part and reread it a bit.

Thanks for pointing out the father/son relationship here, Ami. And Tony's upbringing does make me wonder what led him onto the path of drugs in the first place. I wonder if it has anything to do with his cross dressing? A behavior that probably not every parent, especially a father I'm guessing, would take very kindly to? Especially if he is coming from a "normal" home, the cross dressing would throw a wrench in that. I wonder if he hid this from his father and thus fell into the wrong crowd where he would feel more comfortable doing so. Or if there were confrontations between Tony and his father about the cross dressing, and this then led Tony to the drug scene? Of course these are just complete speculations. Perhaps the cross dressing has nothing to do with his start on the path to drugs.


message 39: by Ami (new)

Ami Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "Poor Tony Krause"

I think I had forgotten to mention Poor Tony's section during this week. Like you said, Ami, "Poor Tony" IS an understatement. His withdrawal symptoms and living si..."


Sorry this is so late, but to your point about the cross dressing...I'm sure it adds fuel to the fire if anything-I don't think it helped him any.


message 40: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments 1. The narrative becomes more complex but also more definitive somehow. Which of the arc do you find the easiest to follow?

I'm not finding any of the story arcs difficult to follow, so long as we return to them often enough to maintain my memory.

2. I personally find the number of abbreviations overwhelming. Every week, we are dealing with new abbreviations. Some of them are quite cumbersome and mouthful. What is your opinion of abbreviations?

Oh I'm completely lost! I don't worry about it :-)

3. Some parts of the novel are getting denser and denser with longer sentences and fewer paragraphs. How can you explain this phenomenon? Does it enhance your reading experience or does it make it more challenging?

To be honest I haven't noticed.

4. Why do you think Wallace relies heavily on nearly technical texts about cartridges, video telephones, medical conditions (in footnotes), technological advancements, etc.?

Oh just for complexity, gives a sense of reality to the world he is creating.

5. Some passages are quite bleak in the novel, and some of them are quite hilarious or at least bittersweet. What is your favorite hilarious or bittersweet episode?

The telephone conversation btw Hal and Orin I think. Then again, I can't remember everything so I might have missed one.


message 41: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments That 'detox' of Poor Tony was pretty raw, DFW loves not pulling his punches when it comes to drug addiction. I have been expecting him to end up at the House at some point the way everyone else has been.

We learn a bit more about the various afflictions Mario has been lumbered with (poor sod) and also the vindictive treatment meted out to him by his older brother. Probably Orin had his single child nose put out of joint by his sickly little child. And, as he was sickly, he would have been given more attention because of it.

Troelstech's tennis roundup was side splitting and so was the grand finale of the Eschaton game although it was a bit tiring getting through the starting part.

And finally that very revealing conversation between the two brothers. Well, Orin, what can you say? Obsessed about your mother much...?


message 42: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Rosemary wrote: Also in note 110, p 1007 and 1014, Jethro Bodine, Orin says "A private chuckle. She'd never get it." - I don't get it either. Anyone? (If it's not too obscene for Goodreads).."

Glad I'm not the only one.


message 43: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Rosemary wrote:
I hope Ingersoll is OK ... .."


I think he deserved it -) Oh that was so funny, he totally got his!


message 44: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Rosemary wrote: Who is in the green Ford that drives in and parks up in that section, btw? Have we seen a green Ford before? Could it be Steeply, come to interview Hal? ..."

No clue. Not yet anyway.


message 45: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Kaycie wrote:4. Ugh, I want to say "to annoy me", but I know that isn't right. I read somewhere that he uses highly technical side-notes to give the reader a break from the deep and disturbing story he is actually crafting, and to help separate the reader. It makes sense...."

They don't give me a break - i pay no attention to them, I just skate over the words and get back to the story.


message 46: by Nicola (last edited Jan 16, 2015 02:42AM) (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Rosemary wrote: I agree, and I find the relationships between Hal and Orin and Hal and Mario the most comforting relationships in the book. Without these, I think I would be feeling there was no hope for humanity. ."

Well I don't think Orin's relationship to his brothers is very comforting. I have gained the impression that he is horrible to Mario. Physically mistreated him as a child which shows a pretty scummy personality even if it was when he was younger.

He doesn't seem to have improved much as an adult, does he even acknowledge him? Has he spoken to him?

And as for his relationship with Hal, how long was it before he got back in contact? Over two years. And when he did was it just because he wanted something?

Orin so far has total s**t stamped all over him.


message 47: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Linda wrote: "I also loved Hal's actions, or really non-actions, during the game. His decision to not participate in chemical activities, but then doing it anyway while not even realizing it. And especially his intent thoughts around how interesting it was to think about the snow as part of the real territories instead of part of the map, how this was actually more interesting than the game itself. And his continual spitting, or trying to spit. There was one part of the very long paragraph of happenings where mid-action all around him, Hal finally spits. It was the short sentence amidst all the things happening around him that made me laugh. ."

I saw it as an indication that his drug taking is starting to take a serious toll.


message 48: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments John wrote: "Also! It was definitely Steeply in the car. Check out page 107:

"Steeply's car for all field assignments was this green sedan subsidized by a painful ad for asprin upon its side".
..."


Ah, there we go. Thanks John.


message 49: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Ami wrote: Whether this is foreshadowing, I don't know; but I have a bad feeling for Orin, in general. I'm not sold on that cat, in fact, I find him to be rather self-absorbed. I read him to be a little seedy, guarding feelings of sadness and anger (42-48). I find him to be the least sincere out of all the brothers so far. "

Oh totally. I think Orin has been portrayed so far as an extremely unpleasant person.


message 50: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Ami wrote: "Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "I have a bad feeling for Orin, in general. I'm not sold on that cat, in fact, I find him to be rather self-absorbed. I read him to be a little seedy, guarding feelings of ..."

This is exactly what I think. I don't know how much lying Hal does but he says it's a lot. I think Hal has his brothers number well and truly. He is no fool.


« previous 1
back to top