Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: ellipses in dialog?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:50 pm
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There are several conversations in which we only get to "hear" one side -- the other side is replaced by ellipses.
1. Do the ellipses represent silence?
2. Or do they represent redacted text?
3. If the latter, why is the text redacted?


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 Post subject: Re: ellipses in dialog?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:12 pm 
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" . . ." is pure DFW. I've always taken it to mean silence, but a kind of encouraging silence, an unspoken "Go on."

Spoiler! "Redacted text" is something else DFW plays with. You can find an example in n. 145 on p. 1026. It's a question-and-answer session--an interrogation, really, and but so the questions are indicated only by "Q." I think the lack of a question mark adds a kind of grimness to the scene."

I'm kind of a techno-boob, but I just learned that the spoiler I wrote is hidden, but if you click on the blue Spoiler! it will be revealed. That's way cool.


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 Post subject: Re: ellipses in dialog?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:47 am
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
So much of the book so far seems to be about the impossibility of communication, the points at which communication breaks down and understanding becomes impossible no matter how hard you try. It's expressed on the level of the characters (Hal in the opening pages, Kate Gompert describing her depression, basically everything Mario experiences, the guy with the cold Don Gately accidentally kills, and by covering his mouth no less, Marathe and Steeply's conversation) and on the level of this imagined north american society (how brilliant is the essay on the videophone, for example) and in the text itself (!!)

The footnotes knock you out of the narrative and make you work to understand what's going on. I thought the ellipses sort of guaranteed that we wouldn't be getting a complete picture, because hey, we don't exactly get a complete picture in life. And I'd bet that in the end the strands don't quite come together (hello anticonfluential narrative). Hopefully though it won't matter if things add up neatly because the human experience will transcend the limits language (and all that other stuff) place on it.


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 Post subject: Re: ellipses in dialog?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:08 am 
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they represent silence - DFW uses them alot in Broom of the System dialogue


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 Post subject: Re: ellipses in dialog?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:48 am
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Quote:
they represent silence - DFW uses them alot in Broom of the System dialogue


I think he also uses them both to let the reader had their own interpretation as well as to place the focus on the answer and the fact that in many cases the answers given reflect the subject's agenda rather than the interviewers and probably would not be much different regardless of what the question had been much like a politician returning to a talking point rather than directly responding to a question.

I haven't gone back and checked but as I recall Wallace used the same technique in Brief Interviews With Hideous Men where the chapters dealing with the interviews aren't even prefaced with a "Q:"


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