Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Cages
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:07 pm
Posts: 19
I'm interested in investigating how often the metaphorical term of "cage/encaged/trap/trapped" is used in IJ? Along with the difficulty of communication with others, in my opinion being trapped or caged in life is another huge IJ theme.

I can think of a few instances:
1. As already brought up in prior posts, Erdedy and his bug. Erdedy as a bug. Trapped (both the bug and Erdedy) in his condo with no way out.
2. Orin's cockroaches- trapped under glass to slower suffer and die a horrifying death
3. J.O.I.'s film titled Cage, Cage II and Cage III- each describing forms of entrapment in varying degrees
4. Joelle's constant use of the word "cage" to describe her horrible addiction

I'd be interested in hearing any input from you folks re' this topic.


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 Post subject: Re: Cages
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:52 am
Posts: 21
yes!

P. 230 "the difference between suicide and homicide consisting perhaps only in where you think you discern the cage's door: Would she kill somebody else to get out of the cage? Was the allegedly fatally entertaining and scopophiliac thing Jim alleges he made out of her unveiled face here at the start of Y.T.S.D.B. a cage or really a door?"

P. 231 "a desire to swallow every last drop of saliva she will ever manufacture and exit this vesel, have fifteen more minutes of Too Much Fun, eliminate her own map with the afflatus of the blind god of all doorless cages"


I read this and immediately think of what Marathe says on p. 107 about fanaticism. The cage is another way of describing the state of addiction, or worshipping something which doesn't give you comfort. I wonder if it's possible to worship something that doesn't put you in a cage (perhaps we should refer to 'This is Water'?).

By the way, about the second quote, what's your take on the 'blind god' bit?


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 Post subject: Re: Cages
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:36 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Korea
Couldn't you be in so much suffering that you could even think of your own body,mind as a cage? I have been fascinated by this as well. I'm at a part (p.350 or so) that looks at Boston AA and cage has been used a couple times.


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 Post subject: Re: Cages
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:04 am
Posts: 25
Furthering the Cage thing, and leap-frogging onto the earlier post about the body being a cage, you've got the idea of the arachnoid membrane of the "brain and spinal cord that lies between the dura mater [hard mother] and pia mater [soft mother]," which I believe DFW mentions somewhere in the text. Add to this J.O.I's Latrodectus Mactans production company (which, granted, only obliquely resonates with the aforementioned "spider" theme but also somehow seems appropriate to add here) and the tecato gusano (a "chilling Hispanic term" for "some kind of interior psychic worm that cannot be sated or killed" -- pg 200), and top it off with the DT's formicatory (my own adverb form for 'formication' because I couldn't quickly find another) horrors (mentioned somewhere in the text), and I think you've got a very strong case for the human body's endocrine and cerebral systems as so many bars in the body's cage. This conclusion, which I maintain has got to be intentional on DFW's part, is further reinforced on pp 488-489 where a characters death leads to his spirit, "[shedding] his body's suit, [finding] his gut and throat again and newly whole, clean and unimpeded, and is free [i.e., he is free, the character], catapulted home over fans and the Convexity's glass palisades at desperate speeds, soaring north, sounding a bell-clear and nearly maternal alarmed call-to-arms in all the world's well-known tongues."


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