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: Re: Poor Tony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:10 am 
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dioramaorama wrote:
...The colons imply strong causal relationships (time becomes shit->PT becomes an hourglass) that then break down (illustrated by the semicolon)...


so did PT become a colon? a semi-colon? how about a sigmoid colon? perhaps we have to check the appendix! "most viscerally gripping section" indeed!


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Tony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:13 am 
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Also, no lie, I read this section on the subway and a fly landed on my page as PT began to see the bugs. I was a little worried for a minute.


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Tony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:03 pm 
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The Poor Tony scene definitely made me close the book and sit quietly with it--as did Joelle's OD scene. Though I've enjoyed (or at least appreciated) everything in the novel, the scenes with Joelle were the first that totally gripped me. Several reasons for this: obviously there's the amazing description of Joelle having Too Much Fun and the pleasure of seeing multiple plot lines (Joelle's, Himself's, Orin's) coming together. But also she's the first female character whose interior is explored to some degree--and I like what that adds to the novel. (Isn't there another thread about the paucity of female voices? I digress . . . )


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Tony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:44 pm 
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dioramaorama wrote:
"Then at some point he realized: time had become the shit itself: Poor Tony had become an hourglass: time moved through him now; he ceased to exist apart from its jagged-edged flow."

I think this sentence (p. 303) is so elegant but I may have trouble figuring out what I want to say about it. The colons imply strong causal relationships (time becomes shit->PT becomes an hourglass) that then break down (illustrated by the semicolon) as Poor Tony breaks away from the linear flow of time. It's like the punctuation is performing the action.


Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but it occured to me when you actually typed the word "colon": DFW uses colons until he states that "time moved through him now." So is this DFW's sly way of saying Tony, up until that point, had a functional colon (you know, one that makes the feces actually stay IN the body), but afterwards he only had a semi-colon (as in the crap just runs straight through him)?
Did that make any sense whatsoever?

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Tony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:30 pm 
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It's definitely an incredibly gripping and moving scene. I'm a little unclear on whether he's supposed to have died during the seizure, though

Spoiler! "I assumed he lived, but read elsewhere on the intertubes that he's dead. Any insights?"


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Tony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:43 pm 
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polymathicj wrote:
dioramaorama wrote:
Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but it occured to me when you actually typed the word "colon": DFW uses colons until he states that "time moved through him now." So is this DFW's sly way of saying Tony, up until that point, had a functional colon (you know, one that makes the feces actually stay IN the body), but afterwards he only had a semi-colon (as in the crap just runs straight through him)?
Did that make any sense whatsoever?


Yeah, that makes sense, heh. I don't think there's any way that the colons he uses aren't little visual puns on "colon" at the very least. he is talking about shit after all! This strikes me as completely hilarious, personally, in a kind of Joycean way (there are scatological puns all over Finnegans Wake).


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 Post subject: Re: Poor Tony
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:54 am 
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I have to agree this section is totally visceral and engrossing. Like some of you, I had to stop and sit for a minute at the end. I also had to move on a bit afterward in order to sleep.

It didn't reach me physically though. The "face in the floor" was one of the only moments that crossed that line for me. I still clearly remember reading the innocent comma separated list of items being scanned around the room. I read and re-read that list a dozen times trying to figure out WTF a 'face in the floor' was doing right smack in the middle. When I finally had the courage/gumption to read on, the hair on my neck stood on end. I was right there with 'the narrator', eyes wide, and sweat beading on my forehead.

I had another cringe and lurch in my stomach when yrstruly was describing 'C's reaction to the draino, but my reaction wasn't at all on the same scale.

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 Post subject: Re: Poor Tony
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:54 pm 
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Definitely a standout section. I have a little quasi-neurotic fear of tongue-swallowing, so that little bit of description almost made me gag--particularly the image of Poor Tony's tongue as a "piece of nourishing, and possibly even intoxicating meat in the back of his throat."

*shiver*


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