Shambles: Summer of Infinite Jestation

‘sa goddamned lie.
September 10, 2010, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Infinite Jest | Tags: , , , ,

I have no idea what any of you other readers are thinking, but, like some of the roundtablers of Infinite Summer, I definitely did a double take. I definitely checked very carefully between p. 981 and the footnotes to make sure there weren’t like, extra pages in there that I’d missed. Like there are so many pages in this book, where is the missing, resolved ending? WHERE IS IT, DFW?!

That is what I get for expecting anything remotely structured/expected from DFW, which I suppose I should have been prepared for after going through all manner of hoops laced with fire w/r/t structure.

So but yeah. I guess I’ll always have questions about the interim (like how exactly Hal descends into the uncontrollable facial contortions that don’t match his what he thinks he’s doing, and also the Gately/JvD relationship), but I think, with that ending, I can sort of see at least one of DFW’s overarching concerns/themes is related to Entertainment (or generally things that are addictive). It’s certainly a orgiastic smasher of an ending, all kinds of bodily fluids being transferred and excreted… I especially like (or was struck by) the image of the Fax’s eyelids being sewn open while on Dilaudid and Sunshine, which just seems to point back in the direction of the other kind of Entertainment…

More on Hamlet in these last few pages (Prince Hal explicitly referencing it on p. 900), though, given the ending, I’m having even more trouble actually trying to frame the story in that context. I kept on expecting Hal to suddenly reassume center stage, since he starts the book, but it seems like Gately, ever since his incident with the Nucks has been edging Hal out in terms of page content.

And actually, (my) interest as well; what we get is D. Gately having a sort of revelatory/epiphanic moment in his mental beach, in the end. And prior to that, multiple visitations from the Ghost, which is interesting, because that seems to transfer favored son status to Gately from Hal, though now the Ghost seems like a much more benevolent figure than I’d imagined rather than whatever it is in Hamlet.

I guess I also like that Gately is at the edge of the water at the end, which reminds me oddly of Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses, liminal and ready to become. Aside from the initial stunnedness, the more I think about the ending, the more it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Nice DFW, nice.

I could ramble on more about this for awhile, but am curious as to what others think. So, thoughts?


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Ok, finally finished IJ. WOOOOOT! I enjoyed it immensely and saw the book as more thematically coherent than coherent in plot but then I read this: and I need to know what you all think about this theory. How did I miss so much??!

Comment by Arpi

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