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: Orin, Mrs. Incandeza, Joelle
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:42 pm 
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Location: Corvallis, OR
First post here. Really enjoying this book and the discussions/posts surrounding it. Thanks to all involved.

So here's what I've noticed:

[Edit: First observation removed after re-reading the section in question 565-567. As Sutpen correctly points out (thanks), Orin has sex with the Swiss hand model, not Steeply.]

Some parallels:

    -Mrs. Incandenza's sexual role playing game where John Wayne is dressed in Football gear, and she as a cheerleader with a whistle.
    -Orin is a football player and he will not speak to his mother, hasn't seen her in several years, and describes her as "bats."
    -Joelle was a cheerleader, or at least a baton twirler, and probably had a whistle.

Is there other evidence so far to indicate that that Mrs. Inc. molested Orin? Are these parallels just coincidence?
[Edit: Second question removed. See above.]


Last edited by SeanO on Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Orin, Mrs. Inc, Joelle, Steeply.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:02 pm 
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Orin does not have sex with Steeply. He has sex with the Swiss hand model.


EDIT

Yeah, and not only that, but...oh geez, I can't remember if this is past the spoiler line...
Spoiler! "The football uniform turns out to belong to Orin."


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 Post subject: Re: Orin, Mrs. Incandeza, Joelle
PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:09 am 
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I didn't think there was any indication Avril actually molested Orin, but these things definitely aren't coincidences... I thought it was just a kind of incestuously creepy way that she acts out her desire to be closer to her son. I think Orin is doing the same thing with his Subjects.


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 Post subject: Re: Orin, Mrs. Incandeza, Joelle
PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:21 am 
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1) This is Hamlet-esque - Hamlet kisses his mother while Polonius watches. Orin and Hal kind of split the role of Hamlet in this incarnation.

2) This shows one of the chinks in Avril's armor - externally she is a very "together" person. But she really has some issues behind the mask.

3) Pemulis acts not in the least disturbed by this scene - perhaps he is the sort of person who already assumes the worst about everyone / everything, and doesn't allow anything to affect him, for good or ill.

4) Even John Wayne is not the stoic, workmanlike model of success that we observe in the earlier chapters. He seems to be participating in this bizarre relationship of his own free will (or is he?). And is this character standing in for the larger cultural metaphor of John Wayne, the stoic American cowboy who doesn't share his feelings but is a strong, silent hero (at least in the movies?) i.e. the 1950's ideal father-type figure? Perhaps DFW is implying that the John Wayne cultural trope has it's own set of issues, at least as it plays out in the modern culture.


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 Post subject: Re: Orin, Mrs. Incandeza, Joelle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:43 am 
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Great set of issues raised in these posts! I've written on Orin a few times at my blog, and most recently (today, in fact) with a post called Orin's Endless Fall, which addresses the Swiss hand-model and Orin's combination of need and contempt.

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 Post subject: Re: Orin, Mrs. Incandeza, Joelle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:36 am 
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When Pemulis walked in on Wayne and Avril I got the sense that he already knew what was going on in there, and he wanted to sort of blackmail Avril into getting C.T. to not punish him over the Eschaton debacle. I believe this scene happens on a Tuesday 11/10, the night before all the kids are sent to C.T.'s office.

Also, does anybody else think the "Swiss" hand-model is not Swiss, but actually Canadian? Orin talks about the "Swiss"-accented guy in the wheelchair at the hotel door, who to us seems pretty clearly a member of the AFR. I've gotten the impression that Orin isn't really smart.


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 Post subject: Re: Orin, Mrs. Incandeza, Joelle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:52 am 
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mjdemo - Your points seem mostly accurate and help put these relationships and characters in larger contexts, which I appreciate.

Regarding #3: After noticing Pemulis' nonchalant attitude in that scene, I assumed that he arrived at precisely the time this sex game was taking place because he knew there was something going on that he could use as unspoken blackmail. This would protect him from getting kicked out after probably failing the piss test that was just presumably given in C.T.'s office after the Echaton debacle. I think the way he kills time at Lateral Alice's desk is a way for him to make sure enough time had passed and things were to a point where there was no question about what he was interrupting.

There are a lot of assumptions there, and I'm interested to see if they are verified or not later in the book.


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 Post subject: Re: Orin, Mrs. Incandeza, Joelle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:00 pm 
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facetioushorse wrote:
When Pemulis walked in on Wayne and Avril I got the sense that he already knew what was going on in there, and he wanted to sort of blackmail Avril into getting C.T. to not punish him over the Eschaton debacle. I believe this scene happens on a Tuesday 11/10, the night before all the kids are sent to C.T.'s office.


Absolutely. When this happened, although I was kind of horrified by the scene, I felt really good that this would help Pem. and Hal to get through the post-Eschaton discipline in one piece. I don't know why, but I want to see Pemulis succeed.

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 Post subject: Re: Orin, Mrs. Incandeza, Joelle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:14 pm 
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facetioushorse, it looks like I posted thoughts with many of the same words as you did, just shortly after. I need to refresh my browser before posting next time.

Also, I agree that Orin is mistaking the Canadian-French accent for Swiss, although I suspect the hand model told him she was Swiss.

paris - Your posts look pretty packed with in-depth analysis. I intend to take a look once I'm done with the book so as to form some of my own interpretations first. Regarding Pemulis succeeding, I'd like to see that too, so I hope he doesn't end up like Hamlet's Polonius, assuming that parallel is accurate. With the striking similarity in names, I suspect it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Orin, Mrs. Incandeza, Joelle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:51 pm 
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Quote:
I assumed that he arrived at precisely the time this sex game was taking place because he knew there was something going on that he could use as unspoken blackmail.


This certainly seems to be borne out byt the scene ending wtih Pemulis smiling and saying "I predict this'll take about two minutes at the most."


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