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: The Labors of Don Gately
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:09 am 
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Location: Orlando, FL
Wow! I guess it's just been too many years since I was a Classics major in college! I think I'll chalk up my totally missing this to the fact that it's my first read and I'm trending toward intense enjoyment this time around and believe my second read will be a closer one.

I love this idea and it really works for me. One of the last times I spoke with an old professor of mine she told me about a class she was doing on the idea of the hero as archetype in classical literature. I'll have to get in touch and see if she wrote anything up. So far Gately is definitely my favorite character and this makes it even better.

Joan


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 Post subject: Re: The Labors of Don Gately
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:45 am 
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Thanks, mjdemo and others for this excellent thread. I'd felt there was deeper reason to Don Gately's cleaning shit than the obvious repetition of the rot/waste theme, but couldn't put my finger on it. Love the parallels with the Aegean stables and borrowed chariot!

I pulled Edith Hamilton's Mythology from my shelf and found the following on Hercules:

"The greatest hero of Greece was Hercules . . . Intelligence did not figure largely in anything he did and was often conspicuously absent. . . His intellect was not strong. His emotions were. . . . This power of deep feeling in a man of his tremendous strength was oddly endearing, but it worked immense harm, too. He had sudden outbursts of furious anger which were always fatal to the often innocent objects. When the rage had passed and he had come to himself he would show a most disarming penitence and agree humbly to any punishment it was proposed to inflict on him. Without his consent he could not have been punished by anyone -- yet nobody ever endured so many punishments. He spent a large part of his life expiating one unfortunate deed after another and never rebelling against the almost impossible demands made upon him. Sometimes he punished himself when others were inclined to exonerate him. . . . His thinking was limited to devising a way to kill a monster which was threatening to kill him. Nevertheless he had true greatness. Not because he had complete courage based upon overwhelming strength, which is merely a matter of course, but because, by his sorrow for wrongdoing and his willingness to do anything to expiate it, he showed greatness of soul."


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 Post subject: Re: The Labors of Don Gately
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:48 am 
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CarolynM wrote:
I pulled Edith Hamilton's Mythology from my shelf and found the following on Hercules:

"The greatest hero of Greece was Hercules . . . Intelligence did not figure largely in anything he did and was often conspicuously absent. . . His intellect was not strong. His emotions were. . . . Nevertheless he had true greatness. Not because he had complete courage based upon overwhelming strength, which is merely a matter of course, but because, by his sorrow for wrongdoing and his willingness to do anything to expiate it, he showed greatness of soul."


Very nice!

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Forget your troubles, c'mon, get happy...
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 Post subject: Re: The Labors of Don Gately
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:05 am 
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paris wrote:
Hmmm, virtuous struggling and suffering, yes. Obviously, the square head of Hercules has some role. But I don't find any of the "labors" of Hercules to be especially convincing in parallel to DG.

Let's keep watching for square heads. One of them is Lord in the headmaster's office, who still has his head enclosed by a monitor. Another is "The Infant" that Lenz rambles on about, whose head sans skull conforms to the box in which it lies.

In both these cases, the crucial reference is to the televisual (or the TP) as a replacement for one's head.


Agreed.

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...the world's pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower. - Cormac McCarthy


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