David Foster Wallace in Infinite Jest

IMG_2089On Humor: This book is often laugh-out-loud funny.

Hal: “I do things like get in a taxi and say, ‘The library, and step on it.'” (12)

Hal: “I’m an O.E.D. man, Doctor.” (29)

The Narrator on Hal: “His way of answering the phone sounded like ‘Mmmyellow.'” (32)

Hal: “We’re all on each other’s food chain. All of us. It’s an individual sport. Welcome to the meaning of individual.” (112)

Hal: “This induced a spell of involuted marijuana-type thinking that led quickly, again, to Hal’s questioning whether or not he was really all that intelligent.” (136)

Hal: “I’m trying to cut down on patronizing places with ”N’ in their name.” (908)

On Humor and Sadness: In the sense of co-existing in a moment, of humor being an attempt to deal with sadness, a layer over the sadness, and finally melting into sadness.

Hal: “…I have administrative bones to pick with God, Boo. I’ll say God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about. I’m pretty much anti-death. God looks by all accounts to be pro-death. I’m not seeing how we can get together on this issue, he and I, Boo.” (40)

Still writing beautiful sentences: Again, this is what kept my eyes on the page–page after page after page.

Narrator: “the cold-penny tang of the autumn air” (539)

Narrator: “The sun has the attenuated autumn quality of seeming to be behind several panes of glass.” (623)

On Eschaton (the game): Or on reading IJ.

“Its elegant complexity, combined with a dismissive-reenactment frisson and a complete disassociation from the realities of the present, composes most of its puerile appeal. Plus it’s almost addictively compelling…” (322)

On suicide: Yes, it’s all over the place–the fact of it, the attempt to understand it, and the understanding of it.

Geoffrey Day: “As the two vibrations [exhaust fan and violin] combined, it was as if a large dark billowing shape came billowing out of some corner in my mind. I can be no more precise than to say large, dark, shape, and billowing, what came flapping out of some backwater of my psyche I had not had the slightest inkling was there.” (649) and “From that day, whether I could articulate it satisfactorily or not…I understood on an intuitive level why people killed themselves.” (651)

Kate Gompert: “Time in the shadow of the wing of the thing too big to see, rising.” (651)

Describing: I am astonished, over and over again, at DFW’s ability to nail a description.

Marathe: “Also the living room evening resembled an anthill which had been stirred with a stick; it was too full of persons, all of the restless and loud.” (730)

Marathe about someone else: “…she laughed in the manner of an automatic weapon.” (748)

Mario about his mother’s desk: “…what looks like a skyline of file folders and books…” (760)

Hal about Keith Freer: “He was still wearing the weird unitard he slept in, which made him look like someone who tore phone books in half at a sideshow.” (908)

On story-telling: Remember the “use less words” from the previous post? Add these:

Marathe: “‘Because it is necessary that I leave soon, a central point must be soon emerging,’ Marathe worked in as gracefully as possible.”

Kate to Marathe: “Is the madly-in-love part coming up?” (779)

IMG_2254I’m realizing as of the end of the 700’s that more and more lines I would like to include might be spoilers so I have left them out.

On living in the moment: A recurrent theme.

Gately: “An endless Now stretching its gull-wings out on either side of his heartbeat…Living in the Present between pulses…living completely In The Moment.” (860)

On addiction: Everywhere to every possible thing, and I include “to this book.”

Gately: “Feeling the edge of every second that went by. Taking it a second at a time. Drawing the time in around him real tight.” (859)

Gately: “…everything unendurable was in the head, was the head not Abiding in the Present but hopping the wall and doing a recon and then returning with unendurable news you somehow believed.” (861)

Gately: “the psychic emergency-brake was off…” (906)

Gately: “…he found himself starting to cry like a babe. It came out of emotional nowheres…” (916)

OMG, I’m at the end again…

[4th in a series of 5 posts on finishing IJ]

Bookmark and Share