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Infinite Summer • View topic - "I am in here."

Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:44 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:47 am
Posts: 63
Location: Brooklyn, NY
No spoilz or anything but:


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:46 pm 
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Location: Lynchburg, VA; Gambier, Ohio
I read somewhere on the site that it was another "Hamlet" allusion (are play titles in quotation marks or underlined?). The first two words of Hamlet are "Who's there?" and Hal responds with "I am." which I interpreted to be what the "I am in here" builds on.

I liked the spoiler dioramaorama provided, though.


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:29 am 
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I like that Hamlet (potential) tie-in, it has an elegance to it that works for me.

Whether or not that's correct, I understand the "I" to be Hal's consciousness (or soul), his "real" non-repressed/buried self, which has been silenced/unable to communicate with the outside world for whatever reason. We see in the YOG section that Hal is able to think, remember, reason normally, but he cannot "interface" with third parties; he is unable to make "I"-contact with others (forgive the pun). That's a good catch on the "what he sees as my eye" line -- I think that ties in, remembering that the "eyes are the window to the soul."

To put it another way, by this point, Hal's consciousness/soul is completely abstracted from/trapped within the "machine" of his highly-skilled body. The administrators rightly worry they would be viewed as "using" Hal (really, his tennis-playing machine), while Hal's "I"/consciousness internally protests "I am not just a machine." He is, literally, the dues ex machina -- the "ghost" trapped in the machine of his body.

As for how/why Hal's consciousness gets abstracted from / trapped within his body...


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 Post subject: Re: "I am in here."
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 3:38 am 
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Interesting note that on page 168, Jim's father (Hal's Grandfather) says "Can you understand...That I was in there, out in the heat, listening, webbed with nerves?"


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