INFINITE JEST readalong pages 489-538

OK, here we go, Infinite Jest pages 489-538, chapter 25, the last whole chapter we’ll read, as the rest of the book is the last three chapters. Images from BrickJest.

Page 489 — PRE-DAWN, 1 MAY — Y.D.A.U. / OUTCROPPING NORTHWEST OF TUCSON, AZ U.S.A., STILL: Steeply and Marathe discuss the possibility of an Entertainment “master”; Steeply asks if Marathe has ever been tempted to watch it.


Page 491 — WINTER, B.S. 1963, SEPULVEDA CA: James Incandenza helps his father isolate and try to fix a squeak in the bed, in the aftermath of which he gets the idea for annulation.


Page 503: At a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, Ken Erdedy does not want to hug Roy Tony.

Page 507: Marathe admits to Steeply that some people, including a “damn good man” were “lost” while there were experimenting with the Entertainment.


Page 508 — 10 NOVEMBER / YEAR OF THE DEPEND ADULT UNDERGARMENT: Hal and others await punishment for the Eschaton disaster; an introduction to “Lateral” Alice Moore’s office. I found this section hard to follow–it jumps back in time to the last time Hal was summoned to the office, while he watched Tavis offer little Tina Echt a “totally unthreatening lap” and got an apple from Avril.

Page 528 — PRE-DAWN AND DAWN, 1 MAY Y.D.A.U. / OUTCROPPING NORTHWEST OF TUCSON AZ U.S.A., STILL: The Marathe and Steeply show continues. Steeply argues that America is not the only culture in which people are drawn to things that could “entertain them to death”.

Page 531 — 0450H., 11 NOVEMBER / YEAR OF THE DEPEND ADULT UNDERGARMENT / FRONT OFFICE, ENNET HOUSE D.A.R.H., ENFIELD MA: Don Gately tells Joelle Van Dyne of a bar fight in which one of his crew got shot and died; he also asks about the purpose of the veil and her membership in the Union of the Hideously and Improbably Deformed (U.H.I.D.)

In his analysis of this section, Greg Carlisle in Elegant Complexity, notes that this section is about Orbits, Circles, Attraction and Repulsion. Marathe and Steeply go round and round, like Joelle and Don do at the end, and like Don and his crew did physically with the guy who’d been shot. Annulation is about circles, a hug is a circle, as is the circle at the NA meeting. Joelle describes herself as fatally attractive, like the Odalisque in JOI’s film and the tape discussed by Marathe and Steeply. Tavis is either smaller or bigger than life.

What did everyone else think, and how is the adjusted pace?

For next week on 9/8 we’re reading the first part of chapter 26, which is 538-575.

9/15 pp 575-619
9/22 pp 619-665
9/29 pp 665-711
10/6 pp 711-755
10/13 pp 755-808
10/20 pp 809-854
10/27 pp 854-902
11/3 pp 902-941
11/10 941-981 THE END

3 Responses to “INFINITE JEST readalong pages 489-538”

  1. Heidi Says:

    That hug description made me smile.

    “And the male-to-male hugs were straight embraces, hugs minus the vigorous little thumps on the back that Erdedy’d always seen as somehow requisite for male-to-male hugs.”

    Also, Politeness Roulette would make a wicked good band name.

    Agree that hardest bit to slog through was the ETA waiting on punishment bit, though the bit from JOI’s joyless childhood was far more cringe inducingly painful.

  2. V Says:

    Ditto on the disagreeable waiting room, which really made me question all the years I’ve built up IJ. But then you get that section between Don and Joelle!

  3. Beth Says:

    I’ve enjoyed this section, but I didn’t make note of much besides my favorite footnote ever (216: No clue.) I think that’s more of a testament to my mood as a reader currently.

    Overall, I’ve been finding the vignettes to be very absorbing! I hope to see more Joelle soon. Especially loving the Ennet House sections.

    Thanks again for the research and blogging Kristin!