Filed under IJ
from T. Theodore: Well Well, well….more infinity with this list of facts that residents at Ennet house or other substance abuse clinics know. Some classics in that mix.
The total fascination with drugs continues as pemulis brings on some that nobody really knows about. This can’t end well. I’m finding that the Peemster is the only character in this zoo that I don’t like.
The sad and elongated, and excruciating tale of Joelle’s descent into suicide feels like the center of this section. A few notable things appear in this section. It turns out that Madame Psychosis herself is a former girlfriend of Orin, and also of Jim. That’s a surprise. But even more surprising is her membership in the U.H.I.D. (A perfect name for those hiding behind those veils.) The most interesting fact in here, is that Jim himself is identified as the Infinite Jester….this, unless I missed something, is the first time this title phrase is actually used and it points toward Jim. I’m not sure what to make of this at this point…but it must be significant as we move along. The infinite jest theme is clearly present in almost every section of this book…only in a few is it more clouded. So why is J. I. (whose initial obviously reverse the title, in another of DFW,s seemingly endless play at words, initals and acronyms) why is J.I. identified as THE Ifinite jester? We must see. At his point he remains a mysterious figure with great gifts and greater problems.
Another odd thing happens in the Joelle section…she passes by a sort of cardboard figure which is holding out a cartridge without a label. We haven’t encountered any such cartridge since that middle east guy watched himself into eternal oblivion. But nothing happens here. She reaches out but doesn’t take it.
It appears the JI’s suicide follows the making of a fatally entertaining and scopophiliac thing he did with Joelle. The mystery of this plot in starting to grow under our very eyes. The pieces are getting more complex with no end in sight.
The pages and pages of Joelle descent, and the dismally ethereal tone they set and draw us into brings about another of DFW’s moves of genius. The very stark and detailed description of E.T.A.’s physical place in the city of Boston. As though after this long suicidal journey into Madame Psychosis’s mind we desperately need to get our feet on the ground again. Soemthing solid beneath us. Streets and neighborhoods, and grass and buildings. It feels so good to be walking around, seeing the air, the sun the river after being cooped up in that bathroom with that desperately depressed woman. This writing is superb. You feel the closeness of that bathroom, the door locked, the cage, the guy outside knocking but not being allowed in….the walls close around you as they are for the Madame. Then we break out in to the open air. You start breathing again. You realize what it was like in that bathroom for her. You felt it. It hurts.
…to be continued
I’m so sad you don’t like the Peemster! He’s one of my favorites! PS: WOLF SPIDERS RULETH THE LAND!
Yes, Pemulis brings in some DMZ (which he scores from the Antitoi brothers, who’ll be around later.)
You’re correct, I think, that it’s the first time the title is in the text of the novel, but the first time it OFFICIALLY appears is in footnote 24 at the bottom of 986; the filmography of J.O. But Jim is, we will find, THE Infinite Jester. But so is DFW.
It is interesting to note that Joelle is NOT seduced by the free cartridge in the promo stand-up thing at the same time that she has decided to stop ‘Having Too Much Fun.’ She’s done Jesting infiinitely.
The bathroom scene with Joelle is harrowing and painful, to be sure. It is especially poigniant that her best friend in the world, Molly Notkin, is the one throwing the party and having the time of her life. Molly, in this scene, inhabits the life Joelle once had & wanted. The apartment USED to be Joelle’s, Notkin has just passed her Oral Exams in Film Study, she’s surrounded by people who are talking about films (many of them about J.O.’s “maybe it’s lost maybe’s it’s found” movie, IJ.)
from T. Theodore: A few final thoughts on the phone conversation between Orin and Hal, exemplifying again the point made earlier about phone conversation. The boys discuss the ghastly facts of their father’s suicide while Hal clips his frigging toenails into a wastebasket several feet away. but this also creates a dodge for us all as this teenager cannot talk about this straight along and needs these breaks almost as much as we the readers do. Several facts appear. Orin wasn’t at the funeral which Hal resents. Infact, Orin hasn’t been a real part of the family for a while for unexplained reasons. Though if he thought Himself was screwing his girlfriend….that could do it. Now he’s also afflicted with the wheelchair dudes, as rather strange things keep happening to poor Orin. He doesn’t know it now, but the appearance of Helen is even more bizarre, but it does appear that he/she has got her tits straightened out as she is attracting the attention of both Orin and the football team. Further we find that Charles T. moved in 2 or 3 days before the suicide, which seems rather suspicious, and the question of the bottle on the counter…was JI drinking during that time? Orin insists not which leaves us wondering…..was this really a suicide?
Last but not least, JI died on April Fool’s Day….when else? I have to check this out to be sure, but I think Avril is Hebrew for that month…..I’ll do a little research on that one.
tel then, take care