Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 10:35 pm 
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Is this line a Hamlet allusion? Or is it something way more complicated, like someone reassuring themselves of their place or another idea of more complexity?


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:24 am 
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This simple phrase sticks with you doesn't it? My take on it is 2-leveled. He talks about the room he's in...the "I" is his body, being in the office. But he also talks about his perspective looking out from his head, the "I" is his mind, or soul (?) being in his body, a container which he's having trouble (to say the least) controlling. I've read Hamlet but I'm no scholar on it, so I couldn't say if there are connections there.


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:17 pm 
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I love this phrase so much and it is so loaded with meaning. In face a lot of the rest of the book ties into this simple statement.
But it seems to me that this is a phrase that we often say to ourselves when we are trying to communicate who we are and the person to whom we are communicating simply doesn't get who we are or what we are about.

I've often thought that this is something someone with dementia or a grave life changing illness would say...
Here I am. I am in here.


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:15 pm 
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
i think it has to do with what i mentioned on another thread: the thick wall that hal perceives between himself and the world. it directly relates to what he says later on in the section: "experiences and feelings. i'm complex" (11). it's like he is trying to remind himself- and perhaps others- that he exists, that he shouldn't be spoken about in the third person...


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:08 pm 
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Location: Mansfield, MA
"I am in here." = Hal's cry for help, for recognition from others.
He's been "coached" to sit passively, to let others "interface" for him, during the college interview process. When he is finally forced to speak for himself, he cannot make himself understood by others. He's viewed as subhuman, damaged, and horrifyingly so.
What has happened to him?
Note on p.17 at the end of the ER section, Hal is approached by a blue collar nonprofessional person who will...catch what he sees as my eye... Interesting word choice there, David.

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"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you." DFW


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:55 am 
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I also saw it as Hal's cry for help. He is trapped and has the fear that, well I want to say rescuers but I don't think that is correct, that others cannot perceive him correctly. I say rescuers because of the feeling that he can hear them and is afraid that they can't hear him and therefore cannot get to him in time. He is trapped in a well/avalanche/collapsed building/etc...

It will be interesting to reread these posts at the end of the infinite summer to see if the notions about what is going on that we bring to the first read are radically changed.


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:35 pm 
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Location: Washington, DC
EverybodyHurts wrote:
"I am in here." = Hal's cry for help, for recognition from others.
He's been "coached" to sit passively, to let others "interface" for him, during the college interview process. When he is finally forced to speak for himself, he cannot make himself understood by others. He's viewed as subhuman, damaged, and horrifyingly so.
What has happened to him?
Note on p.17 at the end of the ER section, Hal is approached by a blue collar nonprofessional person who will...catch what he sees as my eye... Interesting word choice there, David.


Hey EverybodyHurts... this has always fascinated me. So much so that I started a new topic about it (and floated a theory, natch). Hope you participate there!


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:28 am 
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isn't that DFW saying that he's in the book? I am in here. literally/or not, this book is me...?


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:05 am 
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jeffharding wrote:
isn't that DFW saying that he's in the book? I am in here. literally/or not, this book is me...?


!!! hoo-wah!


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:24 pm 
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Location: North Dakota
A couple of reviews of IJ that I've read note that Hamlet starts with "Who's there?" and that IJ starts with "I am." Whether we're getting ridiculous in our obsession with tracking the origin of every word in IJ or not is it's own debate, but there's certainly a tidy little connection here; two word question responded to with a two word answer.


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