The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 19

'He's remembering that he used to pretend to himself that the unviolent and sarcastic accountant Nom (sic) on 'Cheers!' (sic) was Gately's own organic father, straining to hold young Bimmy on his lap...'

Begin: Page 845 (“After Rémy Marathe and Ossowiecke, and Balbalis also, they all reported back negatively for all signs of this veiled performer…”)
End: Page 896 (…without jostling the catheter or I.V.s, or the thick taped tube that went down his mouth to God know where.”)

Start Date: 2/12/11
Finish Date: 2/18/11

Note Profile: 18 notes (344–361), all short

Let me quickly address Matt’s comment on the previous thread: I would be very careful about expecting too much in the way of closure in this book. Based on my experience of two long novels by Thomas Pynchon – DFW’s role model, I think – I already feel way ahead of the game in terms of narrative coherence and leery of anticipating anything in particular from the last 140 pages.

Also, his Hamlet reference is apropos, because I feel like we are witnessing a slow-motion tragedy where Hal is concerned. I think we are meant to believe that Hal could have been “saved” had he been sent to a real AA/NA meeting rather than the festival of patheticness he ended up at; instead he is headed directly for where we found him at the beginning of the book. One can only hope things go well for Gately and Joelle; but isn’t that what I just cautioned against? Damn and blast!

6 Responses to “The Infinite Jest Deathmarch, Stage 19”

  1. JES Says:

    I felt immense empathy for Gately and his frustration in dealing with the doctor. I truly wanted to jump in the story and come to his rescue.

    Interesting how Hal’s story has now switched to first person.

  2. Matt Says:

    Only a few pages into this week’s reading but I wanted to comment on what Bill said real quick. The realization of the Hamlet similarity in the last section forced me to remember how everyone dies in the end of that play so I’ve come to expect bad things to happen to just about everyone involved in this story. It makes sense based on the central theme of addiction.

  3. Debra Says:

    Being so near the end makes me want to skirl with an inhuman keening sound.

  4. Matt Says:

    I’m stoked to be near the 100 page remaining mark.

    Wanted to hit again on what Bill said, the fact that we are witnessing a slow-motion tragedy. That is exactly how I feel, although prior to his statement in my mind I was thinking slow-motion train wreck.

    I thought the meeting concerning the creation of the anti-Entertainment-entertainment was hilariously ironic, particularly the fact that the ass has two different personalities depending on his audience (children or teenagers).

  5. Computilo Says:

    I’m still here. Had an interesting experience with my copy of IJ this week. I’ll put that in Week 20s Comments.

  6. bobdee Says:

    I also noticed Hal was writing in the first person and I am glad you mentioned it because I wondered whether he did that and I had not noticed. Does it have to do with his drying up?

    Gately’s youth makes such a sad story. It is odd, but as bad as his adult life is, it is fresh air in comparison to his kid world. The story of Mrs. Waite is very sad. Obviously she had it in her to be social at some level (baking the cake for Gately is an example). But she needed serious help, but she had no one to provide any human interaction. Well, I guess it would have taken a saint to have taken on the job.

    I too wanted to jump in the story and try to get Stice unstuck! Maybe the janitors can do it.

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