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Archived 2015 Group Reads > Infinite Jest by D.F. Wallace, WEEK 17

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message 1: by Zulfiya (new)

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Even the longest journeys come to an end, and this is the case ... well, there are some stranded travelers on p. 663, but they are persevering :-)

It is the final part of the book that we are discussing here, and the beginning of it is not clearly delineated. In my edition, Infinite Jest, it starts on page 916 with an indented/tabbed paragraph that signals the beginning of the final part. These are the opening lines, 'Entrepôt -bound, twitchy-eyed and checking both sides behind him as he comes, rounding the curve ...' up to the very end of the book.

Post away, dear friends, and rest assured - this was a major accomplishment for you. You do deserve a badge of reading honor!


message 2: by Ami (last edited Feb 01, 2015 10:58AM) (new)

Ami Final Thoughts

As of W16, I was under the impression DFW was going to leave me in a rather perplexed state because I didn’t understand how he was going to tie up a few of these storylines. After W17, I was correct in assessing the conclusion was not going to be delivered in a pretty little package with a bow on top. Instead, I was given the gift of an ending alongside some wrapping paper and ribbon to put together myself. I finally arrived at the last page, flipped back to the beginning, rereading Year of Glad, and I found myself smiling at the end of it…It honestly was not as bad as I thought it was going to be-I’ve had a sense of foreboding since Year of Glad.

This book is a satirical piece, sometimes forgotten while reading because the subject matter is very serious at given moments, but then brought back to light (the satire) due to the absurdity of the subject matter. Both addiction and tennis are a few of the vehicles used to help us navigate through the turmoil created by the plethora of facets such as loneliness, unhappiness and despair. In a two-fold approach, for me, IJ

In a nutshell...
It's about a terrorist and antiterrorist group trying to get their hands on a mind and body debilitating interface cartridge better known as "The Entertainment.”


Digging deeper...
It's about faith, a belief in something bigger and greater than yourself, further illuminating, the easiest route is sometimes not the best route. It's about the light at the end of the tunnel of despair. This book is so multilayered, it would be a great disservice to DFW to say it was about any one thing.

Is this DFW's masterpiece, I don’t think so, his non-fiction is beyond superb…Could it have been 300 pages shorter, having edited out all of the AFR/ Marthe & Steeply ridiculousness, and be just as impactful; oh absolutely…Is this the most challenging novel of the 20th Century; I’m not sure, but it’s become a trendsetting prototype for other writers-that has to mean something…Did DFW accomplish what he set out to do in writing this novel; I believe so, I felt a strong deep-rooted message of surrender and having faith amidst the chaos as the book unfolds. I think people will question the “brilliance” of this novel and many will argue that’s it’s not; but I realized a while back The Entertainment everybody has been in search for throughout this novel has been in between our hands this whole time; finding yourself in a state of comatose, debilitated, extreme elation being forever touched and affected while reading certain sections….And I find this is Wallace’s true genius.

Now onto the discussion…


message 3: by Ami (last edited Feb 02, 2015 02:40PM) (new)

Ami Entrepôt -bound, twitchy-eyed and checking both sides behind him as he comes, rounding the curve ..

Well, this is the last we read about our dear Pemulis...The laid back, fun loving, nobody's fool, math aficionado. His physical state, I attribute to his future of uncertainty. The twitchy eyes and unshaven face, I don't think is drug related, it's more him being mercurial and spasmodic. Found last near the dumpsters, looks like Pemulis was searching for something...The missing DMZ, perhaps? I would hope everything will be on the up and up for Pemulis, but keeping in mind he doesn't have a chance in hell to finish out the school year anywhere else; he's lost his friends and connections; no family to speak of except of Matty Pemulis (not the best person to rely on, I don't think); Pemulis' worst fear is coming to fruition...He's bought himself a one way ticket back to Allston.

Gately's History with Gene Fackelmann, Sorkin and Kite

It was interesting to learn more about Don's background, but what I honed in on were more connections to the main characters...Sixties Bob, Dr. Robert Monroe the septuagenarian pink glasses and Nehru jacket wearing, original of T. Leary's circle was the same man who traded his DMZ for lava lamp and apothecary mirror from the Antitoi Bros (927 & 481).

Gately within the rest of this section and the end is found going in and out of consciousness, trying his damnest to maintain a certain sense of reality. I didn't perceive Gately to be hallucinating so much as attempting to make sense of his past and present. The wraith has come back to visit, but his time he's brought somebody with him wearing faggy bike shorts and a U.S. tank top who's ...'licking Gately's forehead' with a rough little touch; this I presume is no other than the lotus position sitting forehead licker, Lyle (933 & 128). Right before the apparitions dissappear, Gately is struck with a "blue" forked bold of pain and into a state of whatever isn't quite sleep (933-34) which would mean he's still not taking any pain meds, I would think?

The next segment of Gately's was the most telling...Constantly wiping a mirror clean in which he could see nothing...A dream all in blue...He's both in a bag and holding bag...In a graveyard with a very sad kid digging up some dead guy's head and it's really important, like 'Continental Emergency important only to realize the kid holds up something terrible up by the hair and mess the face of somebody shouting in panic: Too Late(934). I don't think he was dreaming a dream, I believe all of this in some shape must have happened; Hal in YoG has a similar recollection digging up Himself's head with Don Gately-This commonality cannot be a coincidence?

The book ends with yet another account of Gately's situation at the hospital. He's been struggling with his caregivers ensuring no Class II drugs will be administered for him because he's a recovering addict; however, by the tail end of it, and the immense pain Gately is enduring, he's finally succumbed to the spider in wanting to take the Demerol, essentially taking him back to Day 1 of recovery, if I read this correctly? The book's ending, And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out, lead me to believe he 'was' given the demerol and Gately was relieved of his pain having found some solace for the time being on the cold wet beach; when in reality, he was still in the hospital bed (981). Having accounted for Hal as the kid crying non stop in another bed sheds more light on the fact that Hal and Gately were at the hospital together in YDAU November, and probably what Hal was referring to as his first stint in the emergency room, in YoG.

JvD
Now what a great episode this was...Joelle is apprehended on the streets by whom I would think was no other than H. Steeply? Her interrogation was rather calm and calculated compared to the tactics employed by the AFR as we've been privy to reading about. What was thought provoking about this interrogation, however, was Joelle's account of the subject matter on the Entertainment...Her knowledge of the Entertainment and what it contained was completely different than Molly Notkin's understanding, yet very similar to the Wraith's account of it. I think Nicola mentioned in a previous thread that the Entertainment was created as a means to communicate with Hal...I happen to agree with this assessment, especially after Joelle's interrogation too. As of page 958, Joelle has been released by her captors and on her way back to Ennet House where she's left watching blue lights whirring in front of the house. I'm sure Gately and Joelle unite down the road, but as for now, he's still in the hospital recovering and she's attempting to make sense of the situation at Ennet House.

Orin
It never brings me joy to hear about people getting what they deserve, but Orin is a different story all together...He's seen Every few seconds wiping the steam of his breath away from the thick glass to see what the faces were doing which was very reminiscent of his roach suffocating proclivities ... Getting showered by big black roaches in an inclosure of glass? I bet he'll never suffocate another roach again...Or at least for a while (972)? The connection to steam and glass and Orin, brought me back to FN 80 where Orin says Avril was having relations with somebody in the yellow volvo, Foggy/Steamy glass, Joelle's name written in the steam, footprints seen by both Himself and Orin...I don't think it was Avril in the car with one of her liaison-she was a documented germaphope-especially not with C.T.; rather, it was Orin with Joelle. I think it was Orin the whole time who was intimate with Joelle in the volvo; he traced her name on the vehicle to make Avril jealous-which she was, not because she thought Himself was having sex with Joelle, but Himself stopped drinking for Joelle and not Avril.

I understand thinking about Avril taking advantage of her son at such a young age may be tough to swallow, but this book is built on "absurdity?" Taking into consideration, Orin's dating habits, sick treatment of Mario, treatment of Avril, obsession with Avril, and utter avoidance of the truth at hand, the lack of chromosomal diversity between a mother and her son producing offspring with Mario's abnormalities, lead me to believe Orin is Mario's father.

The swiss hand model may have been affiliated with the AFR, with whom Orin spent many hours divulging information unknown to us, could very well be Luria P., covert specialist extraordinaire? I thought at first Orin had died, but having reread YoG, Coach White says The brother's in the bloody NFL for God's sake (14), so he's still alive, and I guess, still being Orin? Therefore, in order to get out of the enclosed glass case, Orin would have had to give up the master copy of the Entertainment, thus leaving it in the hands of the AFR. How else would he still be playing in the NFL currently (YoG)?

Avril
Avril had a lot more to do with Pemulis' expulsion than meets the eye...She is a cunning woman. Pemulis may have thought he had one over her, but boy did she dupe him instead-So conniving!! I think Avril remains still at ETA, perhaps, acting out in some new way due to Hal's reentry into the ER?

Mario
Mario was my favorite, by far, next to Pemulis. I loved every section Mario was in. In spite of his abnormalities, Mario lives a very carefree life full of love. He must have been another foil character, like Stice, in that even severe hindrances shouldn't prevent one from living life to the fullest. What a great character! He's never mentioned in YoG, I think, and we last hear of him getting ready, filling Hal in on Ortho Stice (a skinless face now in a mummified state) and Stice's bed being bolted to the ceiling. I'd like to think Mario is okay and unaffected by Hal's absence due to the fact he cannot feel the physical pain from sorrow, or anguish...Does that make sense? I'm not sure of the last assessment, however, only because the absence of M. Psychosis has had a terrible effect on Mario...People noticed something different about him, didn't they? So then maybe, Mario will also be affected by Hal's absence too since they were so close?

Ortho Stice

With all of the odd occurrences at E.T.A., Lyle's presence, squeegees on walls, fallen ceiling tiles, Stice's moving bed, and now in the finale, Stice's bed bolted to the ceiling...JOI has made it to the academy to get in touch with Hal? Nicola mentioned in a previous thread about how Hamlet's father visited first with the soldiers in the field (Gately) and then making his way into the castle...Perhaps, Stice was another vehicle, like Gately, used to send a message to Hal?

My question is...all the messages Mario tells Hal about on the machine, did anybody wonder who they were and why didn't Hal ever check them?

C.T.
As far as C.T. is concerned, what an enigmatic character, he definitely packed a punch, especially in YoG. In the end, I leave with the mindset, C.T. "is" Avril's half-brother and not "adopted." In the most present time, which would be YoG and this section contains the most current information via everybody, he is always referred to as half-brother. I do not think C.T. is Mario's father because all of the accounts of this being true are via Orin. A memory of Hal's with the old grief-therapist shed's some light on Orin and this whole scenario when Hal remembers, you have to lie when the truth is Nothing At All, since this appears as a textbook lie under the therapeutic model. The brutal questions are the ones that 'force' you to lie (954)-I do not find Orin credible at all. Sure there are similarities between C.T. and Mario, but homodent/supposed homodent aside, the genetics don't work in C.T.s favor-for me, it has to be a closer association than a half-brother. C.T. and Avril having an affair...I just cared about if C.T. was Mario's dad, other than that, it didn't phase me much.


message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "Instead, I was given the gift of an ending alongside some wrapping paper and ribbon to put together myself."

Ami, what a great summary of the book overall. And as to the ending, I don't know why I thought everything should be tied up all nicely at the end. If the entire book is a big puzzle for us to figure out, why would I think the ending should be all nicely presented to us? Of course the only way to end a book like this is the way DFW ended it. And I love your analogy to the ending being presented alongside the wrapping paper and ribbon. Perfect!

Anyway, I WAS a bit let down when I finished that last page and I sat there staring at it and wondering "OK???". And as to that last sentence, I almost had myself convinced that Don Gately had actually died in the hospital room. That the "infection" was a decoy and somehow the ADA was somehow able to get something lethal in Don's IV and he died, and thus the "waking up on the cold sand". But, it just didn't sit well with me. Then I realized that yeah, I had to go back and reread the first chapter again since that is the actual ending to the story.

(I don't think Don was actually given Demerol. I think the cold sand feeling would fit more with him NOT having any pain meds. That he's still struggling. I mean, if he were feeling pretty good with drugs, I would think his feeling would not be of wet cold sand.)

So, my understanding is that there are clues that we are given in order for us to be able to piece together what happens at the end of YDAU and when we meet Hal at the beginning of the book months later.

I think that Don survives, because then this is the only way he and Hal and John Wayne can dig up Himself's head, as Hal reminisces about in the Year of Glad (p. 16, 17). I think that this happens after Don gets well and leaves the hospital. The wraith visiting him tells him what is going to happen, or what Don needs to do to help Himself's son (Don is acting as a go-between, like someone here speculated in a previous thread). I had not pieced together how Hal and Don end up meeting, though. So Ami, your point about Hal being in the hospital room clears that up (I didn't pick up on that):

Having accounted for Hal as the kid crying non stop in another bed sheds more light on the fact that Hal and Gately were at the hospital together in YDAU November, and probably what Hal was referring to as his first stint in the emergency room, in YoG.

As far as John Wayne being there to dig up the head, I don't know how he ends up being one of the three. But, since it was speculated that he was actually the AFR inside guy at ETA, he probably figured out a way to be there when they dug Himself up.

But then Hal also says "I think of John N. R. Wayne, who would have won this year's WhataBurger......There's very little doubt that Wayne would have won."

"would have" - why didn't John Wayne win, since it was a given all throughout the book that he was the best and would be the top tennis player? If he was with the AFR, then something must have happened to him? If there was nothing there when they dug up the head, then either the AFR was none too pleased with John Wayne and had no further use for him? Perhaps they offed him? Did John Wayne just up and leave tennis altogether after this, that he was at ETA solely because he was infiltrating for the AFR, and now his job was done?


message 5: by Ami (last edited Jan 27, 2015 06:52PM) (new)

Ami Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "Instead, I was given the gift of an ending alongside some wrapping paper and ribbon to put together myself."

Ami, what a great summary of the book overall. And as to the ending, I don..."

would have" - why didn't John Wayne win, since it was a given all throughout the book that he was the best and would be the top tennis player?

I don't think John Wayne played, Linda...He was no longer undercover, having exposed himself, weren't both he and Proutincourt missing? Oh, he was definitely tortured, or something...It's just the way the A.F.R. works.

So, my understanding is that there are clues that we are given in order for us to be able to piece together what happens at the end of YDAU and when we meet Hal at the beginning of the book months later.

Yes, this is how I read it. We begin in YoG and read about the events which led Hal back into the ER a second time. Gately and Hal meet upon his first bout into the ER...I think this happens, Hal in the ER the first time; coincidentally, as the AFR infiltrate ETA, but both are found in the ER. Do you remember, Gately describing his dream about "being in a bag and carrying a bag..." I thought Gately and Hal were abducted at some point, probably by John Wayne who would know where Hal was taken?

(I don't think Don was actually given Demerol. I think the cold sand feeling would fit more with him NOT having any pain meds. That he's still struggling. I mean, if he were feeling pretty good with drugs, I would think his feeling would not be of wet cold sand.)

Linda, I'm sorry, I didn't mean Demerol...I was thinking Dilaudad. I meant some painkiller, in general...Which could still be wrong. His last recollection before we find him on the cold beach was that of Gately being shot up with Dilaudad...Right? I thought at the same time, something was introduced into his system which put him in a slightly euphoric state paralleling his experience, I don't think he had enough control over the pain his body was enduring, at the time, for it to be a somatic effect only (cold rain falling and on the beach)? Finding him on the beach, isn't literal because he's obviously in his hospital bed; but similar to his other thoughts, I think, at some point he was on the beach...Could it have been the event that brought him to Ennet House, or was Ennet House recovery part of the court order from the DuPlessis debacle (I don't think so, but I don't remember for sure either?)

And as to the ending, I don't know why I thought everything should be tied up all nicely at the end. If the entire book is a big puzzle for us to figure out, why would I think the ending should be all nicely presented to us? Of course the only way to end a book like this is the way DFW ended it.
You're right, why should I have expected an ending "all tied up?" Maybe DFW did and I don't realize it. However, the ending is completely symmetric to our reading experience...In broken threads.


message 6: by Linda (last edited Jan 27, 2015 09:19PM) (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "I don't think John Wayne played, Linda"

Yeah, I agree with you. Sorry, I probably worded my comment wrong so it sounded like I was unsure. But I was just kind of typing my thoughts as I went. Whether he was tortured or killed or whatever, I'm not sure. But something happened to that effect.

Do you remember, Gately describing his dream about "being in a bag and carrying a bag..." I thought Gately and Hal were abducted at some point, probably by John Wayne who would know where Hal was taken?

Yeah, I didn't know what "being in a bag" was all about. Your abduction theory sounds plausible. Do you have a page for when Hal is in the hospital? I've tried finding it but haven't. Also, I wonder how long it was between this fundraiser gala thing and the WhataBurger Invitational?

I did find that John Wayne was in the hospital too and that "Avril stayed with him there late into the night", but not sure what the time frame was. (page 899)

[Gately] but similar to his other thoughts, I think, at some point he was on the beach.

I wonder if this last sentence is just the last bit of this scene that he is remembering? Bobby C and crew intended to kill Fackelmann. If so, would they leave him there at the apartment, or take him to dump someplace? Maybe they left Fackelmann there, but took a doped-up Gately with them when they left the apartment and dumped him on the beach, and so "when he came back to, he was flat on his back...." It's just the last line of the scene that Gately is remembering?


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "Maybe DFW did and I don't realize it. However, the ending is completely symmetric to our reading experience...In broken threads."

I did like how the ending bit with Hal and Gately paralleled each other. Hal laying on his back in the viewing room, thinking about his past and his family. Gately lying on his back in the hospital room and doing the same thing.

We experience one of Gately's lows (I don't think this was his bottom, though.), and throughout the book we have experienced Gately's recovery process.

Hal seems to have had his low, or his decision at least to quit taking all drugs. But this is at the end of the book. We can go back to the beginning to continue Hal's story, but we are only able to experience part of it since Hal is at the beginning of his recovery, or whatever his path is going to be.


message 8: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "Orin...
He's seen Every few seconds wiping the steam of his breath away from the thick glass to see what the faces were doing which was very reminiscent of his roach suffocating proclivities ... Getting showered by big black roaches in an inclosure of glass? I bet he'll never suffocate another roach again."


I loved this part. So horror-film-like. And a gigantic inverted glass? Perfect.

I also liked how Mll. Luria P-- referred to Orin as "the Subject".

And, I wonder who the "her" ("do it to her!") is in this scene? Any guesses?

Ami, I like the other connections you make here. That it was Orin who wrote Joelle's name in the steamy car window. And that he gave up the master copy, or told them where it was, in order to be let go. And now he's playing in the NFL like nothing happened. What a weasel.


message 9: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Question - who is this "Mikey" person at the AA meeting on page 958? Are we supposed to know him, or is this story just thrown in here randomly? I just can't place him.


message 10: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "I'd like to think Mario is okay and unaffected by Hal's absence due to the fact he cannot feel the physical pain from sorrow, or anguish... So then maybe, Mario will also be affected by Hal's absence too since they were so close?"

I loved Mario too. I hope he is OK in Hal's absence, but he did have a great attachment to Hal. I can't remember if it was Hal or Mario talking about at one point about making sure he (Hal or Mario) went back to sleep at their room since he knew the other liked him to sleep there. I think this was mentioned during a dinner scene at the HmH's house? But I'm not certain. I like to think of Mario as independent with his own projects and goals to work towards (like the puppet show, filming, etc), and that he could form other close relationships easily. He seemed able to talk to anybody if he wanted.


message 11: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "With all of the odd occurrences at E.T.A., Lyle's presence, squeegees on walls, fallen ceiling tiles, Stice's moving bed, and now in the finale, Stice's bed bolted to the ceiling...JOI has made it to the academy to get in touch with Hal? Nicola mentioned in a previous thread about how Hamlet's father visited first with the soldiers in the field (Gately) and then making his way into the castle...Perhaps, Stice was another vehicle, like Gately, used to send a message to Hal?"

I think this is a key point and that Nicola was onto something here. We see evidence of Stice's stuff being moved around, but also that he feels a presence:

page 870:

"You believe in shit, Hal?" [Stice]
"Shit?" [Hal]
"I don't know. Little-kid shit. Telekiniption. Ghosts. Parabnormal shit."....
...
"Somebody did come by before," he said. "There was somebody standing back there about maybe an hour back. But he just stood there. Then he went away. Or....it." A full-body shiver.



message 12: by Nicola (last edited Jan 27, 2015 11:50PM) (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Too tired to comment much right now but I too found the ending much better once I'd thought about things. I'll briefly state what my conclusions are about the things I've thought enough about:

1. Don Gately reached his absolute bottom and I think can now begin to truly recover. He has been reliving his past and the people he has stood aside and let be hurt. I think he and Joelle will be ok.

2. I think the AFR have located the master tape after they got desperate and kidnapped Orin. They have 'won'

3. I think Pemulis has lost his DMZ and that somehow Hal ingested it without knowing it. I am still contemplating the whole DMZ/Mould thing. I am beginning to think that something has been triggered in his body and that Hal is going to have to learn how to live in an opposite way. From being verbablly impressive but cold inside to be verbally useless but a living human being. I think this is in some way connected to his father who stated that he would do anything to get Hal to speak.

4. I don't think Orin is Mario's father or Hals. I don't see it as being possible to extract sperm from a 6/7 year old boy. I have actually looked at my 6 year old nephew (for about 3 seconds before I totally grossed myself out) and contemplated him being able to father a child and my mind boggled. I do think it was something DFW wanted people to argue about. There have been many many signs pointing towards CT and I am going to stick with that theory.

5. I don't know what happened re the kidnapping of the students but I think most people are ok. I think John Wayne is either missing or killed by the AFR (for what reason?) or arrested as an agent by the US. I now think he is the most enigmatic character in the book.

6. I think the US might be at war with Quebec as of The Year of Glad.


message 13: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "With all of the odd occurrences at E.T.A., Lyle's presence, squeegees on walls, fallen ceiling tiles, Stice's moving bed, and now in the finale, Stice's bed bolted to the ceiling...JOI ..."

Stice was definitely being messed with, that tennis game where the ball moved for example. What I don't understand is why. Was he more receptive somehow. Why didn't the ghost use Lyle who as a Yogi seemed to be able to communicate in a similar way?


message 14: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Linda wrote: And, I wonder who the "her" ("do it to her!") is in this scene? Any guesses?"

I just took it as a literary joke from 1984. However it's quite possible that he was referring to whoever he had been shagging the night before.


message 15: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Linda wrote: I did find that John Wayne was in the hospital too and that "Avril stayed with him there late into the night", but not sure what the time frame was. (page 899)"

That was during the time that he accidentally ingested the DMZ and went totally bizaro. That's been dated, not that I can remember. Around the 19th of November I think.


message 16: by Nicola (last edited Jan 27, 2015 11:58PM) (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Ami wrote: "

The swiss hand model may have been affiliated with the AFR, with whom Orin spent many hours divulging information unknown to us, could very well be Luria P., covert specialist extraordinaire?


Yes, that's who I think she is. No real evidence to support it though, just a hunch.


message 17: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Nicola wrote: "The swiss hand model may have been affiliated with the AFR, with whom Orin spent many hours divulging information unknown to us, could very well be Luria P., covert specialist extraordinaire?

Yes, that's who I think she is. No real evidence to support it though, just a hunch."



I thought it was certain that Luria P. was the Swiss hand model.

page 971, 972:

The face at eye-level belonged to the latest Subject, the dexterous and adoring Swiss hand-model.

Mlle. Luria P, who disdained the subtler aspects of technical interviews.....(and who was not really Swiss), had predicted accurately what the Subject's response would be...."



message 18: by Ami (new)

Ami Linda wrote: "Nicola wrote: "The swiss hand model may have been affiliated with the AFR, with whom Orin spent many hours divulging information unknown to us, could very well be Luria P., covert specialist extrao..."

Nope, you're right, Linda...It was Luria P. She's also mentioned as an operative on page 30.


message 19: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Linda wrote: "Nicola wrote: "The swiss hand model may have been affiliated with the AFR, with whom Orin spent many hours divulging information unknown to us, could very well be Luria P., covert specialist extrao..."

Oh yes, there you go. I remember that now. That's why I thought it was her and then I forgot about it :-)


message 20: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Linda wrote: "Question - who is this "Mikey" person at the AA meeting on page 958? Are we supposed to know him, or is this story just thrown in here randomly? I just can't place him."

I thought the same thing, it was a bit late in the game to throw in a random.


message 21: by Ami (last edited Jan 28, 2015 07:55PM) (new)

Ami Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "I don't think John Wayne played, Linda"

Yeah, I agree with you. Sorry, I probably worded my comment wrong so it sounded like I was unsure. But I was just kind of typing my thoughts a..."


I did find that John Wayne was in the hospital too and that "Avril stayed with him there late into the night", but not sure what the time frame was. (page 899)

I'm thinking it was November 17th because of FN 324 (1067)...Wayne turning into a loose lipped Lucy after consuming the Tenuate, see what you think?

We experience one of Gately's lows (I don't think this was his bottom, though.), and throughout the book we have experienced Gately's recovery process.

See, I thought his memory of taking Dilaudad was his rock bottom, but waking up on the beach cold beach a separate instance?

it was Orin who wrote Joelle's name in the steamy car window. And that he gave up the master copy, or told them where it was, in order to be let go.

Yeah, I think he had it all along and was dispersing the copies to all of Avril's lovers. I've been under the impression Orin's motivation was pure jealousy, but after thinking about it last night, I also think he did it for his father's approval...Wasn't Orin also the jilted son by his father? By eliminating Avril's lovers, maybe he thought it would bring him closer to himself's affections? There's actually a discussion between Marathe and Steeply where they discuss exactly who was sent the cartridges. Taking this into consideration, I wonder why C.T. was never sent a copy...HMMM?!

Question - who is this "Mikey" person at the AA meeting on page 958? Are we supposed to know him, or is this story just thrown in here randomly? I just can't place him.
Upon reading the name "Mikey," of course I thought it was Pemulis. A paragraph in and I realized it wasn't...Pemulis' Ma is no longer and I don't think he had a sister; but the Mikey speaking was much too raw compared to Pemulis, language wise. I don't think we know this speaker, his story didn't strike any familiarity with me, but that's just me. I thought his section was more about the message, like in previous weeks' reading where these stories are intermingled with other happenings within each section. As it pertains to Mikey and this last section, I thought it could have been about something along the lines of "no matter how unhinged the outside world can get bending one out of shape, there is still the prospect of recovery and staying in line with the end game...You don't always have to succumb to it?" Keeping in mind, Joelle has stopped in her tracks by blue lights flashing in front of Ennet House and Gately enduring his haze, they are both surrounded by chaos, which could easily send one another in a tailspin and back to old habits? What's noteworthy about Joelle is that instead of going to Ennet House she ends up at this meeting ...She's the one in the beginning describing the speaker rocking the podium slightly, 'blurred a bit through the linen...'(958). Right before Mikey's section, it's also briefly mentioned that her veil is soaked and she's now just like a pale-linen version....


message 22: by Ami (last edited Jan 28, 2015 12:26PM) (new)

Ami Nicola wrote: "Linda wrote: I did find that John Wayne was in the hospital too and that "Avril stayed with him there late into the night", but not sure what the time frame was. (page 899)"

That was during the ti..."


That was during the time that he accidentally ingested the DMZ and went totally bizaro. That's been dated, not that I can remember. Around the 19th of November I think.

I didn't think John Wayne took DMZ, it was hidden on top of the ceiling tiles...He accidentally got into Pemulis' Tenuate, which would make the date 11/17... page 60 talks about the Tenuate stash found in the Seldane bottles and page 1069 describes Wayne in Pemulis' room before Wayne's verbal diarrhea incident

I think the US might be at war with Quebec as of The Year of Glad.
They sure are, or in a militaristic state; hence, "fighter jets making incision like slices" through your blue skies of hope in YoG, page 16...From what Hal observes looking to the sky from the stretcher.

I think the AFR have located the master tape after they got desperate and kidnapped Orin. They have 'won'

They do have the master copy, but they can't use it any longer according to their original plan, the U.S. released anti entertainment public announcements and advertisements thwarting the AFR's dissemination of the Entertainment on the public.


message 23: by Ami (last edited Feb 10, 2015 10:57AM) (new)

Ami ***As of 1/28*** Message 3 Continued

I will be conveyed to an Emergency Room of some kind, where I will be detained as long as I do not respond to questions, I will be sedated; so it will be ‘inversion of standard travel’, the ambulance and ER: I’ll make the journey first, then depart (16)

Hal
Since the beginning, this particular line has resonated with me. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but it was something, and 500 pages later, I figured it out…Hal was going to leave the world, leaving all of the realities behind him in his second bout to the Emergency Room.

My reasoning for Hal’s second visit to the ER is, due in part, to his addiction to high resin pot, but also being dosed with DMZ by the Wraith. It’s obvious, JOI is in an attempt to communicate with Hal. We’ve read about messages being sent through Don Gately, Ortho Stice and maybe even Lyle-But Hal doesn’t seem to be catching it? If you noticed, there were so many references to Hal’s toothbrush sitting in the Nasa glass, it was always within his sight…Except for once, when he set the glass down to help Stice free from the window; every other time, he was either holding the glass, or sitting on his chest, watching the glass move up and down with his breath. It was all very odd? I do think the DMZ was delivered to Hal on his toothbrush and I don’t think Pemulis did it because he found it missing and was frantically looking for it outside near the dumpsters.

I think Hal has always felt some residual effects from the mold he ate as a child, which fits with the description of how DMZ is synthesized via Pemulis on page 170 and Hal’s episode with the mystery mold on page 10, but to say it’s a major factor, I don’t think so, only because the account of Hal eating the mold is made by Orin. Himself having a tough time communicating with Hal seems to be more his problem with Hal, than Hal’s with Himself, induced by his pickled brain…I’m not completely sure about this. I can’t explain Hal’s first stint to the ER.

I’m under the impression Hal began smoking pot a year ago (from YoG), which would account for his reclusive behavior, anti social characteristics and alienation tendencies-these symptoms are also in line with Ken Erdeddy and Kate Gompert’s accounts of their high-resin pot addiction-it didn’t take long and once they were hooked the vacuous hole each of them was trying to fill kept increasing in space. These symptoms alongside being dosed with DMZ have thrown Hal over the edge and into a state of catatonia.

Going back to the original quote, Hal has told his story and will soon depart. This to me can only mean, he's on his way out getting placed in Unit #3 locked away in institutions and written off as casualties of peace and maybe ultimately committing suicide de-mapping his map...self-forgetting like Himself... His quality of life in either scenario is very limited.

Minus at least 300 pages of unnecessary storyline (Marathe/Steeply sequences, ONANtiad politics and the absurdity of the wheelchair assassins), I really enjoyed Infinite Jest. I learned a lot about me. I would have to say, I'm a little changed because of it. I will "definitely" reread it, maybe even a couple of times, but not any time soon...I'd like to distance myself from the chaos of it, for while at least, and pick it back up at a later time.

And lo... I too am done. Infinite Jest, is officially at a close for me. Thank you, everybody!


message 24: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Ami wrote:
I didn't think John Wayne took DMZ, it was hidden on top of the ceiling tiles...He accidentally got into Pemulis' Tenuate, which would make the date 11/17... page 60 talks about the Tenuate stash found in the Seldane bottles and page 1069 describes Wayne in Pemulis' room before Wayne's verbal diarrhea incident.."


Yes that's what I meant :-) The drugs from the medicine bottle he took by accident. That whole rant was hilariously funny.


message 25: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Ami wrote: They do have the master copy, but they can't use it any longer according to their original plan, the U.S. released anti entertainment public announcements and advertisements thwarting the AFR's dissemination of the Entertainment on the public. ."

I think it's still going to be a pain in the bum for the US. After all not everybody pays attention to those things.


message 26: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "I'm thinking it was November 17th because of FN 324 (1067)...Wayne turning into a loose lipped Lucy after consuming the Tenuate, see what you think?"

OK, that sounds right. So then Gately and Wayne would have been at St. E at the same time. Good catch, Ami!

If you noticed, there were so many references to Hal’s toothbrush sitting in the Nasa glass, it was always within his sight…Except for once, when he set the glass down to help Stice free from the window; every other time, he was either holding the glass, or sitting on his chest, watching the glass move up and down with his breath. It was all very odd? I do think the DMZ was delivered to Hal on his toothbrush and I don’t think Pemulis did it because he found it missing and was frantically looking for it outside near the dumpsters.

Yeah, I thought the toothbrush and glass was mentioned way too many times to be a coincidence, so I think you may be right about the toothbrush as the vehicle for the DMZ. The ceiling tiles were open before the teeth brushing, and like you said, Pemulis was frantic so it wasn't him.

Going back to the original quote, Hal has told his story and will soon depart. This to me can only mean, he's on his way out getting placed in Unit #3 locked away in institutions and written off as casualties of peace and maybe ultimately committing suicide de-mapping his map...self-forgetting like Himself... His quality of life in either scenario is very limited.

I'm still thinking about this quote. I agree that his quality of life will be altered, but I'm not on board with Hal committing suicide. But, that is just a gut reaction. Anyway, I keep coming back to this quote too, but I'm not sure how I want to think about it yet.

the absurdity of the wheelchair assassins

I liked the absurdity of the wheelchair assassins. So...absurd (no better word there)...that it was over-the-top and had me smiling.



And now I wonder how long I will be carrying this book around with me before I reshelf it... I carried it to work all this week "just in case" I need to look something up spur of the moment. I can see how people might have a hard time letting it go. :)


message 27: by Ami (last edited Jan 29, 2015 06:12PM) (new)

Ami Linda wrote: "Ami wrote: "I don't think John Wayne played, Linda"

Yeah, I agree with you. Sorry, I probably worded my comment wrong so it sounded like I was unsure. But I was just kind of typing my thoughts a..."


Do you have a page for when Hal is in the hospital? I've tried finding it but haven't.

Linda, it's page 973, three-fourths of the way down beginning "There was a voice down the hall screaming ..."

I'm still thinking about this quote. I agree that his quality of life will be altered, but I'm not on board with Hal committing suicide.
I thought he was on his way to die, I did. However, if you take into account the recovery M. Bain has made, from what I understood of his FN, he went through a similar circumstance as Hal with hallucinogens that forever altered his functionality...So maybe, Hal does live. I want him to live.

And now I wonder how long I will be carrying this book around with me before I reshelf it
I don't think HoL is really helping our plight, I really don't. LOL! So maybe in a few weeks we'll really be able to purge it.

Also, I wonder how long it was between this fundraiser gala thing and the WhataBurger Invitational?
I have this date as being Nov 20, the invitational I thought, was the same weekend as the interview...is this wrong? I remember the admissions panel talking about the competition taking place concurrently with the interview.

Questions

-What was the purpose of the steroid Avril was putting in Hal's cereal every morning...According to Himself (conversation with Hal in disguise)?

-Why do you think Hal ended up in the ER the first time...Am I right in my understanding of Hal's high resin pot habit...That it only began a year ago; therefore, influencing his second stint?


message 28: by Rosemary (last edited Jan 31, 2015 09:10PM) (new)

Rosemary Minus at least 300 pages of unnecessary storyline (Marathe/Steeply sequences, ONANtiad politics and the absurdity of the wheelchair assassins), I really enjoyed Infinite Jest.

Totally, yes, me too. I don't think I can add to your discussions of the last section. In fact, I'm not sure there is much to say about the last section. I think whatever happened to Hal is a kind of allegory and maybe not answerable.

I can see how people go around and read this again - it is kind of circular. I will cherish a lot of memories of it - mostly the Don Gately/AA/Ennet House sections. These were the parts that illuminated things in my own life for me.

Thanks for the co-reading and all the great comments!


message 29: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "-Why do you think Hal ended up in the ER the first time...Am I right in my understanding of Hal's high resin pot habit...That it only began a year ago; therefore, influencing his second stint?"

If it is indeed Hal weeping whom Gately hears (page 973), then this takes place after Pemulis's DMZ goes missing (page 916) and Hal's toothbrush acting as a possible vehicle for the DMZ (as you theorized in message 23). Perhaps the very noticeable change in Hal's emotions that we see had progressed enough during that one day, that he and others were freaked out and thus he was taken to the ER?

If he has a total lack of communication months later at his college interview, maybe his lack of communication started to take a dive soon after the toothbrush incident, and that caused panic?

He was sent to the ER, it was found that there was nothing physically wrong with him, and he was sent home. The Moms, CT, deLint, and everyone else was left to figure out how to handle him from thereon out. And it was only until Hal was in a situation where communication with "outsiders" was essential that he was again sent to the ER. Remember, it was the college admissions people who called for the ambulance, not CT or any of the ETA people.

That's my guess.


message 30: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "-What was the purpose of the steroid Avril was putting in Hal's cereal every morning...According to Himself (conversation with Hal in disguise)?"

I looked up this passage and have been trying to figure out the answer to your question. But I have come up with nothing! Only that it perhaps has something to do with the mold Hal ate when he was little? That Avril would have known what the mold was (something Himself was concocting?). But I don't really have anything that sounds concrete.


message 31: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Ami wrote: "Also, I wonder how long it was between this fundraiser gala thing and the WhataBurger Invitational?
I have this date as being Nov 20, the invitational I thought, was the same weekend as the interview...is this wrong? I remember the admissions panel talking about the competition taking place concurrently with the interview."



Hal's interview takes place in Year of Glad, so I figured this was to be January or later following what took place November YADU. So, I thought the interview took place months after the end of the book, like in the spring sometime.

On page 4, someone says:

"I've been asked to add that Hal here is seeded third.....in the prestigious WhataBurger Southwest Junior Invitational...."

And someone else replies:

"according to Chuck here Hal has already justified his seed, he's reached the semifinals as of this morning's apparently impressive win, and that he'll be playing out at the Center again tomorrow..."

Which I took to mean that they are two different invitationals? The Whataburger, and whatever invitational he played in that morning.

But, it is a bit confusing, so possibly they are the same thing? But then the different years would not make sense.


message 32: by John (last edited Mar 23, 2015 08:13AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments Linda wrote: "Hal's interview takes place in Year of Glad, so I figured this was to be January or later following what took place November YADU. So, I thought the interview took place months after the end of the book, like in the spring sometime."

Linda, on page 1 or 2, it specifically states that it is November YoG. So, it is a full year after the events of November YDAU. Both Invitationals are the Whataburger.


message 33: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments I have only just finished this a few hours ago, and I am still kind of gathering my thoughts.

I have to admit I definitely feel let down at the ending. I have no problem with loose ends, in fact many of my favourite books have unresolved elements. But this is a whole other level.

Maybe I will feel differently after some more reflection. I will say that I can see myself rereading it at some point.


message 34: by John (last edited Mar 23, 2015 06:34AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments I'm gratified to see that even the readers at Infinite Summer weren't all 100% on board with the ending.

At that link, one of the commenters mentioned that we had already seen Gately on the beach*...does anyone recall about what page that was on?

*(EMK says "We already knew that Gately had reached a turning point on that beach and that from that point forward he would begin to make heroic efforts to change his life. So I loved exactly seeing how he got there...")

Edit: Reading the rest of that discussion, it seeme like EMK may have been misremembering.


message 35: by John (last edited Mar 23, 2015 08:14AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments OK, I just read one comment where someone claims that "the year between the end and the beginning is fully warranted".

(Link: http://jazzinstrangeplaces.blogspot.c...)

ARRGGHHH. Really? Is it really possible that all of the questions are answered in there somewhere, in a NON-BULLSHIT way?

If so then I will bow down to DFW as the greatest writer who ever lived. :D


message 36: by John (last edited Mar 23, 2015 08:14AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments Here's something interesting that I did not pick up before: FN 114 states that the Year of Glad is the VERY LAST year of subsidized time. Did anybody else pick up on that?

This obviously has some big implications re: our speculation on war with Quebec and the future of O.N.A.N. in general.


message 37: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments John wrote: "Linda, on page 1 or 2, it specifically states that it is November YoG. So, it is a full year after the events of November YDAU. Both Invitationals are the Whataburger."

Thanks John, I don't know how I could have missed that, even after going back to reread the first bit!


message 38: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments John wrote: "I have to admit I definitely feel let down at the ending. I have no problem with loose ends, in fact many of my favourite books have unresolved elements. But this is a whole other level.

Maybe I will feel differently after some more reflection. I will say that I can see myself rereading it at some point."


These were my thoughts exactly when I finished reading the book. And I did feel differently given a few days reflection. And I can still see myself wanting to reread it someday. :)


message 39: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments This is a timeline schematic I found after finishing the book that helped me put together some of the clues. Don't look at it if you are still thinking about the ending and want to figure it out for yourself.

http://www.revolutionine.com/wp-conte...


message 40: by John (last edited Mar 23, 2015 08:55AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments Wow! OK, I can't wait to take a close look at that schematic.

Here is another REALLY interesting tidbit I've come across:

p. 1064, Pemulis: "`Have I mentioned DMZ doesn't show up on a
G.C./M.S.? Struck tracked this down off an obscure Digestive-Flora footnote. It's the fitviavi-mold base. If the stuff shows up at all it shows as a slight case of imbalanced yeast.'"...


(Digestive-Flora: Hal ate the fitviavi mold years ago, and now it's living in his digestive system.)

...From the description of the medical attache on p. 33: "The medical attache's partciaular expertise is the maxillofacial consequences of imblances in intestinal flora."

In short, The medical attache that Avril was sleeping with was an expert in the exact condition that afflicted Hal.

Source: http://dfan.org/jest.txt


message 41: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments Yeah, I do remember those mold tidbits. I'm trying to remember back now, and I think the DMZ was possibly made by Hal's father in order for James to try and communicate with Hal? I don't have my book in front of me, but I think somewhere it this was eluded to (maybe in a Joelle passage?).


message 42: by John (last edited Mar 23, 2015 09:11AM) (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments I might just randomly keep posting Tidbits I Didn't Catch until someone yells at me to piss off. :)

Tidbits I Didn't Catch:

- The film that Gately and Fakelmann watch is one of JOI's films, "Kinds of Light".

- In Latin, U and V are identical, so "Avril" and "Luria" are anagrams.

- Metempsychosis is "the supposed transmigration at death of the soul of a human being or animal into a new body of the same or a different species." It is pronounced very similarly to "Madame Psychosis".


message 43: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments A Tidbit that I Actually DID catch:

- I believe that the young man in the revolving door in the entertainment is Stokely "Dark Star" McNair. He is described the same way as his description in "Accomplice!".


message 44: by Linda (last edited Mar 23, 2015 09:23AM) (new)

Linda | 1378 comments John wrote: "I might just randomly keep posting Tidbits I Didn't Catch until someone yells at me to piss off. :)"

I like the tidbits, John! Keep posting. :)

- In Latin, U and V are identical, so "Avril" and "Luria" are anagrams.

- Metempsychosis is "the supposed transmigration at death of the soul of a human being or animal into a new body of the same or a different species." It is pronounced very similarly to "Madame Psychosis".


I like these ones! (And I did not catch these either)

- I believe that the young man in the revolving door in the entertainment is Stokely "Dark Star" McNair. He is described the same way as his description in "Accomplice!".

I did NOT catch this one, very interesting! Now I need to go back and reread these bits.


message 45: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments Does anyone have any idea what the deal with the mirrors is? On the very last page, the two Asian thugs come in holding mirrors, and a mirror is held up to Gately's face before he passes out.

Any clue what that's about?


message 46: by Linda (new)

Linda | 1378 comments John wrote: "Does anyone have any idea what the deal with the mirrors is? On the very last page, the two Asian thugs come in holding mirrors, and a mirror is held up to Gately's face before he passes out."

I meant to look this passage up last night because I don't remember the part about the mirrors, but I got wrapped up in other things and it slipped my mind. Now you have me wondering if there were passage before this one that had mirrors involved? Or was this particular scene with the mirror held up to Gately's face simply a way of having Gately kind of reassess his life at this point - to make him see how low he has sunk while being consumed by the druggie lifestyle. (and the fact that it was Asian thugs holding the mirrors really doesn't mean anything - I'm just totally guessing here)


message 47: by John (new)

John (johnred) | 364 comments Linda wrote: "Now you have me wondering if there were passage before this one that had mirrors involved?"

I do remember that Gately had a dream sequence once, where he was wiping off a mirror but could not see himself or something like that? I'm not sure if there was any connection.

Since I posted this, I had the idea that maybe the mirrors were going to be so that Faklemann could watch whatever horrible things they were doing to him (hence sewing his eyes open). But I'm not sure and that wouldn't explain why one of them held the mirror to Gately's face.


message 48: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments John wrote: "Does anyone have any idea what the deal with the mirrors is? On the very last page, the two Asian thugs come in holding mirrors, and a mirror is held up to Gately's face before he passes out.

Any ..."


Don't forget getting stuck! to the mirror as well...

And no I don't. :-)


message 49: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments John wrote: In Latin, U and V are identical, so "Avril" and "Luria" are anagrams.ly and Fakelmann watch is one of JOI's films, "Kind..."

Wow, no, I didn't pick that up. Those sorts of word games I never ever pick up. I love the vast book group that is the Internet!


message 50: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 522 comments Linda wrote: "John wrote: John wrote: "I might just randomly keep posting Tidbits I Didn't Catch until someone yells at me to piss off. :)"

I like the tidbits, John! Keep posting. :)"


Seconded!


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