Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:57 pm 
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What's the deal with this, p.922, "and that nobody's once offered to click on the HD viewer that hangs next to a myopic fake-Turner fog-and-boat print on the wall opposite Gately's and the former kid's beds..." What kid? He does mention earlier a kid being in his room. Is it Hal, on like the 20th November YDAU? Is he the one who used the exoskeletal HALO-thing on the same hospital bed?? I can't find the second, I think earlier mention of the " kid or person in the next bed." Perhaps a square-headed person? Is this where they met, and perhaps why Himself pays Gately a visit?


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:17 am 
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I really need to reread the whole last section with Gately in the hospital but I thought the kid was probably Otis Lord there to get the computer monitor removed from his head (based on Gately's perception that the kid had a square head or hat).


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:26 am 
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cek1 wrote:
I really need to reread the whole last section with Gately in the hospital but I thought the kid was probably Otis Lord there to get the computer monitor removed from his head (based on Gately's perception that the kid had a square head or hat).


I like it! I caught the square head, but didn't think of poor Lord and his monitored head!


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:43 am 
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Here's the reference to what certainly seems to be Otis Lord: "The blurred figure in the next bed sat up very still in bed in a sitting position and seemed to have a box on its head" (p. 809).

I wonder whether the wierdly complicated halo--which is mentioned more than once--could be for Marathe's skull-less wife?


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:42 am 
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There's an article (sorry I can't find the link to it right now) written by the book's editor about some of the changes, and I'm almost 99% sure that it was Lord in the other bed in the hospital room per the original manuscript.


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:29 am 
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Philip wrote:
I wonder whether the wierdly complicated halo--which is mentioned more than once--could be for Marathe's skull-less wife?


This is what I initially thought, and the box-on-the-head reference was the reason why I marked this passage. However, in reflecting on this I realized that it doesn't really make sense, for at least two reasons. First, since Marathe's wife is Quebecois, there really isn't any obvious reason for her to be in a hospital in Boston. Second, even if we assume that this person is Marathe's wife, this would seem not to contribute anything of value to the narrative. (There's also the problem of the "kid" reference as well.) For these reasons, I had simply deferred answering this question for the time being.

However, after reading cek1's post I agree with the suggestion that the patient is most likely Otis Lord. What remains a mystery for me at this point, though, is how this fits into the Wraith's narrative (mostly pp.827-845). One possibility is that having Lord in the same hospital room as Gately allows for the former's conversations with his visitors -- since they would be taking place in a shared hospital room -- to have seeped into the latter's (sub)consciousness and become revealed via his dreams. But what I haven't quite been able to resolve is the reason(s) why either Mario or Hal (or possibly Avril?) would have visited Lord and discussed Himself's relationships with his family.

Although I'm still at a loss for a comprehensive explanation, I'm thinking the likeliest candidate is Hal, primarily because of the sudden appearance of previously unknown words into Gately's mind (see esp. p.832). In addition, I also recall Gately being puzzled in particular by the word "esoteric", which is interesting since this word shows up regularly in Hal's first-person perspective in the concluding parts of the novel.

Probably the main Wraith scene -- indeed, if not the entire novel! -- is worth a re-read (or two or three or more).


--Todeswalzer

_________________
First-Time Reader
Started: 26 June 2009 | Finished: 25 July 2009


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:45 pm 
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Box-on-head has gotta be Otis Lord. He shows up back at ETA towards the end of the novel. His newly-empty bed is being readied with the wierd halo/head support. I can't really see any reason why Hal would need one.

It's possible that the halo could be for Marathe's wife Gertrude. Her need for medical care--more than she what can get in Quebec--is why Marathe has betrayed the AFR and is acting as a quadruple agent on behalf of Steeply and the Office of Unspecified Services.

The year-long gap in the novel creates all kinds of room for speculation, but if Gertrude did share a room with Gately, Marathe and/or Rodney Tine would have showed up, and that could holp explain how Gately, Hal, and John Wayne ended up in Quebec digging up JOI's head.


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:49 pm 
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...was reading this thread, then was looking at some old threads and found someone reminding us of the meaning of Hal's occasional nickname:
internethandle wrote:
slackline wrote:
I realized shortly after reading this section that if flourescent lights are banned, then most lighting would be incandescent... Incandenza?


Also worth pointing out that the name "Hal" can be seen as a play on the word "halation" which is the:

Quote:
Blurred effect in a photographic image that results from light spreading beyond its normal boundaries. This effect can be achieved with special lighting techniques or through the developing process, although it sometimes results, unwanted, from a technical error.


Now, I've tended to think before of the effect ON HAL of his withdrawl/possible DMZ dosing/childhood mold-eating, including his communication difficulties and, possibly, some odd ability to slip into the "narrator" position. But reviewing the idea of Hal as both "incandescent" and related to "halation," I'm now wondering if it makes sense to view the effect OF HAL ON OTHERS as a result of these same w/d/DMZ/mold forces: His consciousness bleeding OUT to vulnerable others rather than/as well as theirs bleeding IN to his head. Not only would this go along with things like Gately (injured, in pain, and recovering from addiction) from "tuning in" to Hal's vocabulary or obsessions and with the "incandescent/halation" word play, but it would also go along with other strains of imagery in the book like the Interlace "spontaneous disseminations" or the imagery of the MIT radio studio as a giant head and brain that broadcasts not only Madame Psychosis, but the weird "Those Were the Legends That Formerly Were," where MIT students recount old sports anecdotes told them by their fathers, but in cartoon voices. Or the progression from absolute secrecy to public exposure to panic'd loss of control marks Hal's experience of being stoned in the Novel, early on notably seeking out places where no one could possibly suspect he is altering his mind, followed by singificant scenes of notably public consumption (Eschaton), followed by increasing attempts to stop using without being caught. Perhaps it is more than an isolated joke to have him accompanied at Eschaton by (and to have Pemulis later compromised by) Troeltsch who "pretends" to broadcast into an empty fist.

Or think of it like this: if his father died with (the belief that he had) a dangerous cartridge in his head, Hal has gone the next technological step and is "spontaneously disseminating" part of his consciousness or those of people around him to particularly vulnerable people near him. Could it be he has always had a low level ability to do this (?is that How someone naturally a bit vulnerable and attuned like Mario was able to figure out that Hal was not slow, but brilliant, and thus was the first to turn Hal's attention to the OED,etc.?)? Could it be those co-written Pemulis/Hal Eschaton footnotes really are a more literal "halation" of Pemulis' thoughts or vice versa, made possible by the "marijuana thinking" in effect in that scene (both are stoned), such that neither quite realizes what a strange thing has happened. Would Hal's withdrawl and depression as the book moves toward its conclusion mean the effect is more out of control and chaotic? Is this possibly something that the Wraith of J.O.I. can use to contact vulnerables like Stice or Gately?

I think I'm actually selling myself on this possibility.


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:27 pm 
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Yeah, it's Otis. He's in this passage to poke a sly finger in the ribs of Gately's internal battle with the Higher Power he's selected seeming to leave him in a position/state of near-impossible-to-escape-from-Substance: incredible pain, confined to the bed with nothing better to do, a Dr. offering a veritable menu of drug choices. Gately wants to know why he's been put in this place of supreme vulnerability when he's clawed himself away from Substances; what sadistic Omnipotence would do this to him? Now think of Lord; he tried to play g-o-d to eschaton, and because of a lapse in his divinity, he wound up with a monitor on his head. It's a way of answering Gately indirectly; the Higher Power may not be as powerful as Gately assumes, maybe he's (Gately) in the place he is because the Higher Power 'looked the other way' at the wrong moment. When Gately think-shouts out to the Higher Power, he's unaware that the Higher Power is right next to him...not really, but that's what I think DFW is doing here.


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and Gately in the hospital together?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:00 pm 
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storm wrote:
Yeah, it's Otis. He's in this passage to poke a sly finger in the ribs of Gately's internal battle with the Higher Power he's selected

And, um, his name is LORD...


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