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: Tie It Together
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:41 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:08 am
Posts: 48
I haven't finished the book yet, but I am starting to connect various things, so rather than wait to post these things on the second-readers General Discussion of the novel, I thought I'd start a place here for drawing connections that are still before the spoiler line.

I was struck by Wallace's description of Gompert's description of anhedonia on page 693: "Terms the undepressed toss around and take for granted as full and flesh--happiness, joie de vivre, preference, love--are stripped to their skeletons and reduced to abstract ideas. They have, as it were, denotation but not connotation. The anhedonic can still speak about happiness and meaning et al., but she has become incapable of feeling anything in them, of understanding anything about them, of hoping anything about them, or of believing them to exist as anything more than concepts."

I'm struck by it because it seems to imply that Gompert isn't *actually* anhedonic herself, though she's fairly bad off. No, the person this best fits is Joelle van Dyne, attempting to commit suicide back on page 239: "This room in this apartment is the sum of very many specific facts and ideas. There is nothing more to it than that. Deliberately setting about to make her heart explode has assumed the status of just one of these facts. It was an idea but now is about to become a fact. The closer it comes to becoming concrete the more abstract it seems. Things get very abstract. The concrete room was the sum of abstract facts. Are facts abstract, or are they just abstract representations of concrete things?"

"Do not underestimate the importance of objects," warns Lyle. Which is to say, do not dismiss them as facts, for when you strip a thing down to fact, and you lose the connective idea, are you not, now, yourself just an object?

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