Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:10 pm
Posts: 5
Oh but wow, I just realized yeah if JNRW is there as an AFR agent (and his inattandence of the Whataburger would thus be explained, he being possibly legless at this point) and Hallie and the Bimster are there under duress (which really wow how did even the AFR pull that off, as far as the Big Indestructable Moron goes) then it's actually a happy ending that Don's vision ends with Hal saying "Too Late". To wit, oh MAN, "and makes the face of somebody shouting in panic" which to good ol' Hallie is basically a "WOO HOO!"

AMERICA WINS!

TAKE THAT, NUCKS!

YES!!


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:31 am 
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Who is narrating the last scene at ETA? There is one sentence that goes "some of us" something something and clearly this first-person interjection points to there being a narrator in this scene. (Sorry, I don't have my copy on me right now hence the lack of page references or even more specific information.)


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:23 pm 
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rennavate wrote:
Who is narrating the last scene at ETA?)


There's another thread going on somewhere about that scene, and the growing consensus is that the narrator is Axford, since he's the pretty much the only ETA student to remain unnamed.


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:01 pm
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1. Someone above mentioned the conversation scene between Hal and his father towards the beginning. But note, that entire scene is in dialogue... we never have a narrator saying, "Hal went to go see a conversationalist one day..." By the end it's pretty obvious that that scene IS the movie, and that the movie isn't based on anything that really happened, which changes how we understand JOI (i.e., he's not crazy). For example, when Hal thinks about the movie and the child actor (who he knew) when he's watching JOI's films, he never connects it to any incident in his own life.

2. Is MP/JvD actually hideously and improbably deformed? We only ever get that from Molly Notkin, but Molly Notkin either doesn't know, or lies about, MP's real name, her father's name, where in Kentucky she's from, and a bunch of other things. The reaction of the doctor who saw under her veil after her suicide attempt suggests to me that she's still beautiful.

3. In my copy of the book there's a section divider hanging off the corner of the last page. What does that mean?


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:14 am 
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ijaddict wrote:
The reaction of the doctor who saw under her veil after her suicide attempt suggests to me that she's still beautiful.


I assumed he felt pity for her. (ie, "She's clearly had to deal with a lot of tragedy already, she deserves to get a break, I'm going to pull some strings to get her into rehab.")

It seems to me from reading various discussions here that the book is intentionally ambiguous on this point, and there is no right answer. (As someone noted, the point of Medusa vs Odalisque is that it doesn't even matter.)

(I'd originally felt that she had to have been scarred, since it is pretty clear that Orin left her shortly after the acid-throwing incident. But assuming Molly's description of the events leading up to the acid is correct, it could have been that Orin just wanted nothing to do with her and her family after that, or it could have been that Joelle started doing more drugs after her family collapsed, and it was that that pushed Orin away. Or whatever)


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 Post subject: Re: Have you finished yet? Because I have and I need to chat!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:56 pm
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ijaddict wrote:
3. In my copy of the book there's a section divider hanging off the corner of the last page. What does that mean?


I took that to be a little visual hint...it's a broken circle (or parabola, sort of), a circle missing a piece, like the story is also missing a piece that we have to fill in. The end of the narrative almost forces us to circle back around to the beginning, but we have to jump over the missing part to do so.

I agree with those who have posted in this thread and elsewhere that what happened to Hal, be it the DMZ (taken willingly or unknowingly), or the mold turning into DMZ, or Abandoning Hope, or watching IJ, or all of the above or some combo, doesn't really matter. What matters is he became unable to communicate, locked in a cage, alone, like we all ultimately are. What I think DFW is saying, at least in part, is how we try to communicate, and what we choose to communicate about, is critically important to being human.


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