Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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The Inficratic Oath: first, post no spoilers. Limit your I.J. discussion to only those events that take place on or before the page 981 (100%).



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 Post subject: Tennis and the Feral Prodigy
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:07 pm 
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This is one my two favorite sections of the book, and has the only line that stuck with me the entire way through, "[h]ere is how to schnell." I loved the interweaving of his life as a tennis player with his relationship with JOI (and Avril's cameo). My two favorite paragraphs from the chapter are:
Quote:
Have a father whose own father lost what was there. Have a father who lived up to his own promise and then found thing after thing to meet and surpass the expectations of his promise in, and didn't seem just a whole hell of a lot happier or tighter wrapped that his own failed father, leaving you yourself in a kind of feral and flux-ridden state with respect to talent.
Fascinating to find out what Hal thinks about Himself's impressive record of success.

And then my other favorite:
Quote:
This is also how not to fear sleep or dreams. Never tell anyone where you are. Please learn the pragmatics of expressing fear: sometimes words that seem to express really invoke.

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 Post subject: Re: Tennis and the Feral Prodigy
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:45 pm 
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This is a fascinating section.

...on the days Himself is living up to what will be his final talent.
Film or drinking?

Keep a flashlight by your bed. It helps with the dreams.
Note that the header for this section says "ACCORDING TO THE ENTRY FORM - WRITTEN BY MARIO INCANDENZA", which sort of implies that maybe he didn't, making Hal the likely author. So that also points to Hal as the narrator on p61-63.

On p176, from Nets and fences can be mirrors. through I do not expect ever really to know. I find this section maddeningly suggestive of Hal's unstated fear of actually understanding his relationship with and feelings about his parents, and his fear of or inability to understand himself. I think.

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 Post subject: Re: Tennis and the Feral Prodigy
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:18 am 
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levingard wrote:
This is one my two favorite sections of the book, and has the only line that stuck with me the entire way through, "[h]ere is how to schnell." I loved the interweaving of his life as a tennis player with his relationship with JOI (and Avril's cameo). My two favorite paragraphs from the chapter are:(...)


I've totally underlined those as well! The fear part - I underlined that in red.

I related very well to that section.

From the "stop thinking and let it flow and go boom, boom" and "serve dead balls to no one" monologue stream and images like the "tennis balls sit beside every plate" frame, to Himself telling of his father's idea "that talent is sort of a dark gift, that talent is its own expectation: it is there from the start and either lived up to or lost", through all the passages that have already been quoted, "be no one" which is "easier then you think", few thoughts on advertising, being "coachable", and then, of course, as jackd suggests (stopping a little before "ever to know", though):

DFW, in IJ p.176, wrote:
It's all educational. How promising you are as a Student of the Game is a function of what you can pay attention to without running away. Nets and fences can be mirrors. And between the nets and fences, opponents are also mirrors. This is why the whole thing is scary. This is why all opponents are scary and weaker opponents are especially scary.
See yourself in your opponents. They will bring you to understand the Game. To accept the fact that the Game is about managed fear. That its object is to send from yourself what you hope will not return.


I found the "managed fear" concept interesting.


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